Saturday, June 28, 2014

Three Cats and a Rat

We recently adopted three new members to our family, The first was Miss Leta, a young, female, feral cat from the local no kill shelter. Miss Leta was considered to be a "barn cat" as she was sweet but very anti-social. We needed a hunter as the mice were moving in, so Miss Leta promised to help us with that problem! I set up a place for her high in my kitchen so that she would feel safe, with a pillow and her food, a litter box close by. As we packed her into the cat carrier to bring her home, the sweet volunteer from the shelter said to me that she bet it would be a month until we saw Miss Leta again as she would be in hiding! She warned me not to let her out of the house or we'd never see her again. Once at home I put her on her safe high pillow and she disappeared! I had to find her as I needed to be able to feed her. We have two dogs that would eat her food, if I just put it out. Each time I found her she disappeared, finding a new hiding place! Finally, she ended up in my glass room, behind my glass table. The bins under the table hold my glass, so they are way too heavy to move. Miss Leta won, she found her extremely safe hiding spot and she's been in there for nearly two months now! The routine has been that I check her with a small flash light, call her name and talk to her quietly, show her the food bowl, turn out the light and close the door and she comes out to eat .
After a month of Miss Leta hiding I called the shelter for advice. They told me to be patient. It so happened that I came across a local website, advertising six kittens for adoption. Apparently, the mother cat had been hit by a car soon after their births, and a local family saved them and had been bottle feeding them, they were 8 weeks and ready to go. They were socialized with children, dogs and people in a home environment, and they were toooooo cute! The family wanted them to be adopted in pairs and so we adopted them in the hopes that they would lure Miss Leta out of her hiding place, show her the world is okay to live in and that she would teach them some street smarts! So it came to pass that we now had three cats and 1 rat!
The little tuxedo is Bugsy Malone and the tortoise is Dollface Annie. They have grown immensely in the past month, and they play a good part of the day and night, taking turns chasing one another and exploring their new home. Now they can jump up on the kitchen counter. It took a month but they have lured Miss Leta from her hiding place, she just couldn't resist the fun they were having. At first she was a little afraid of them and swiped at them but they looked at her like she had two heads and ignored it or swiped back in play. Just last night they raced, Miss Leta also through the living room and into the kitchen. Leta ran into my Basset Hound, whom she quickly slapped hard, so he leaves her alone and my sweet, very neurotic, rescue dog lived in the park for so long, she knew to keep walking. Miss Leta has now parked her butt on the couch in the living room!
Miss Leta still hasn't allowed anyone to touch her, but we're allowed to look at her now. She walks past us, to hide! She still hasn't explored the entire house but she's been making progress quickly the last couple of days. It's a real joy to watch these poor lost and frightened animals recover and become loved members of the family. Hopefully before winter sets in Miss Leta will be comfortable enough to keep the mice away but for now I have tree cats and a rat!