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July 19, 2012

Cat Tales: Kittens need good homes

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — This past weekend was the first one in almost two months that I didn’t have to water my vegetable garden and flowers because it rained almost the whole time.

I only had to water my three hanging baskets of double petunias. It has been so hot and dry, I had to moved them from the deck to under the carport so that they wouldn’t die. They still look a little rough but they are starting to flower again. My vegetable garden almost came to a standstill, but it also is beginning to liven back up.

I was so tired of watering every day and every weekend, but I’m not complaining about the rain because it gave me time to play with kittens a stray, gray-striped cat had at my house. The cat started hanging around the first part of May and I noticed she was too far pregnant to have her spayed. I first noticed her kittens on Memorial Day weekend when a downpour came. She was bringing them one by one from under a grown-up fence row to a little cat house I have next to the steps on the car port.

The cat house, which I call a bungalow, is made from a litter box with a cover. I took out the litter box, put in a cushion, and put on a see-through hard plastic door that swings in and out. That way the outside cat can get into the house for protection, but she can still see out of it. And, in the winter, I put  a heating pad under the cushion for warmth. Don’t I think of everything?

Well, the kittens — all five of them — stayed in the bungalow for about a week until the mother cat decided to move them to the irises that are on the side of my house. A few days later there was another downpour and my sister moved the kittens back into the bungalow before I came home from work. A few days later, mother cat moved them again and we couldn’t find them. My sister and I looked in the fence row and in the irises, but we couldn’t find them.

A few days later I was in the kitchen washing out the cat bowls when I heard several shrilling screams in the front yard. I ran outside and ran off two big dogs who roam the neighborhood. The dogs, while tossing the kitten around, killed two of them and a black one was in the middle of the yard where it apparently had been thrown. I picked up the black kitten, made sure it was all right, and placed it back in the bungalow. The other two kittens and mother were no where it sight.

Then one Saturday I was in the garden and I noticed the mother and some kittens under a red barn I use for a tool shed. There was the black kitten (whom she had moved again), a gray and white one, and a gray striped one like the mother. Thank goodness they were all safe.

Mother cat sometimes brings the kittens to the carport, sometimes they’re under the barn, and sometimes I can’t find them for a day, but they all come back to the carport to eat.

Last weekend I was teaching two of them how to eat solid cat food. The gray and white kitten had already learned how. I put the food in front of the little black kitten and dipped my finger into it and rubbed it on the kitten’s mouth so it could get a taste. The kitten started eating the food and I thought it wasn’t ever going to stop. I was afraid it was going to pop open. I couldn’t get the gray striped kitten to eat the food, but it’ll come around. The kittens are a little afraid of people, but I’m working on that, too. They are still young enough (about 8 weeks now) to be tamed. They are scared because their mother is that way. She will get close to me when she wants food, but she won’t let me pet her. But, at least, she doesn’t hiss at me.

In about a week or so I plan on giving the kittens away to good homes. My cell phone number is 309-0202. I plan on giving these kittens to responsible owners who will get them spayed or neutered and who will really care for them. Expect to be interrogated.

I plan on getting the mother spayed in the near future so that she won’t have any more litters at my house.

cmills@sentinel-echo.com

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

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