One year ago a feral stray Siamese (yes, both feral and purebred Siamese) arrived in my yard, looking for food. I never turn anyone away. Besides, she clearly was friends with Jesse, son of Peaches, born under my neighbor's deck the previous spring.
In fact...their friendship had progressed to the point of Yum Yum, as I called her, having kittens! Oh no!
OH HELL NO!
I've been down that kitten road in previous years and it never bodes well for me. The fact that I've pushed my husband's good humor into the red zone assured me that throwing Yum Yum a baby shower would result in me looking for a new place to live.
I had no choice. I had to trap Yum Yum and get her an abortion. The thing was, as tame and friendly as Jesse was, Yum Yum the Terrible lived up to her name and reputation. I even sported a couple nice gouges in my hand from my ill advised attempts to make friends with her. She wanted my food, not my friendship.
I've been live trapping stray cats, raccoons and possums for over two decades. I've got a 100% success record. I have phenomenal patience, always required when trapping feral cats. I'm also ADD, which means I easily forget the trials and tribulations I've gone through to achieve each rescue. And yet Yum Yum made me nervous as a hot cat on a... well, you know.
Siamese are SMART! She took one look at my live trap, all dressed up with a nice thick towel covering the trip panel, another blanketing the scary wire box, a bowl of stinky goodness at the back beyond the trip panel...and she laughed. Just laughed.
It took me a few days to come up with a brilliant idea. Hunger is a powerful incentive. I'm a bleeding heart when it comes to hungry animals (my grocery bill would horrify you) but I knew I had no choice. If I was to trap Yum Yum, she would need to get inside the trap, regardless of her suspicions.
|Jesse, Yum Yum's baby-daddy|
Since Jesse was all too willing to sacrifice himself by stepping inside the trap for her, I had to feed him only when Yum Yum was not around, then (heartbreak alert!) ignore her when she begged for food. I couldn't help if she hunted whatever...but I could control her eating kibble and canned food.
After two days I noticed Jesse was off doing his guy thing, and Yum Yum was staring at me through the window giving me the Siamese Evil Eye.
Since she knew the trap and I knew she would never be fooled by it, I used a pet carrier containing awesomely smelly fish. With a nonchalance I hardly felt, I stepped right past her, put the carrier down, and then pretended to sweep, which I'd done in the past so I wasn't behaving oddly.
Well, Yum Yum's hunger outweighed her suspicions of the pet carrier and she walked in to chow down. My heart pounding, I casually closed the door behind her. And locked it. She kept eating the wet food. Then she got to the kibble and realized what happened. She was furious! She even yelled at an old possum who had arrived for dinner to get her out. He ran. (Who said possums were dumb?)
You ever see a furious, feral Siamese?
By now it was after dark and I realized I'd have to board her inside my house for the night. First I put Peaches in the laundry room. Peaches is Jesse's mom who had decided she wanted to push my generosity by becoming both an outside and inside cat. Then I threatened my obnoxiously curious boys (Nick, Cookie, Herman, Barney & Opie) from entering the sun-room while I dealt with the situation.
Then I picked up the carrier and quickly brought it inside. Yum Yum snarled and spitted. She even lunged at my fingers!
I put the carrier down and regrouped.
Then I had a brilliant idea. I got the carpet runner from the front hall, put Yum Yum's cage on the carpet (I must say her Siamese beauty looked dazzling against the red Oriental backdrop) and slid her past my boys (all gawking with jaws dropped) through the kitchen to the laundry room.
I released Peaches just as Yum Yum erupted again inside the carrier. Unprepared to find her son's scary girlfriend inside the house, Peaches shit herself and ran upstairs. Yeah, she really did.
I slid Yum Yum inside the laundry room, and when she had settled down into reasonable fury, I explained 'Life' to her. How her baby-daddy would not hang around to raise the kittens... See what happened to Bristol Palin? I said. And I explained how single motherhood would hold her back from having a career. Yes, you're mad at me now, but eventually you will thank me.
She spent the night howling at the moon, her crisp, knife-sharp voice resounding off the laundry room walls. So loud I expected Child Services to pound on my door for torturing a small child.
In case you're wondering, my husband, Red Zone Ray, was away on a biz trip. Yay!
The next morning I took her to my then-vet with a big sign on the cage reading:
HANDLE WITH EXTREME CAUTION
Yum Yum's beauty might have made them think twice, but I assure you a tentative gesture by a vet tech to approach her with less than extreme caution would have had them reaching for inch think leather gloves and possibly a hazmat suit.
I wish vets supplied customers like me--the ones who are out to save the world one kitty at a time--with punch cards. You know...nine spays, get the tenth one free. Two kitty abortions, get the third free?
I think the vet tacked on an extra $50 because I made them keep her for the full week they advised she be monitored after her abortion. In fact, the staff's eyes got really huge with fear when I told them who I'd come to pick up.
Anyway! Upon release, I watched her rocket at warp speed toward the woods behind my house. I figured hunger would have her return in no time, but no. She was gone for 8 months.
Then, this past winter, she showed up. As she was hungry I fed her. Of course! And this time she stayed. She'd either forgotten me or forgiven me. We got to be friends. She even allowed me to pet her. Yes! We worked it out where in exchange for good food, I was allowed to pet her. Pick up, no. Pet yes.
In fact, she needed another vet visit a few weeks ago for a respiratory infection. I took her to my new vet, Dr. Ellis, who agreed to keep Yum Yum for a couple days while she recuperated. And Dr. E didn't even charge me an extra $50 although I could hear YY swearing through two closed doors.
I fully expected her to head for the hills for another 8 months when I released her, but no. This time she walked out of the carrier. Saw Jesse, who was very happy to welcome her home. And they sat down together over a bowl of stinky goodness, tails entwined with feline bliss.
She did thank me, after all.
Today, a year later, she's no longer Yum Yum the Terrible.
To me she's...