Fall and Felines

A tide of color is sweeping over tree by tree: crimson, copper, bronze, salmon, yellow, brown. We see young grass snakes and baby mice on the road where they go for the heat of sun-warmed asphalt. Last week we saw a rattler on the road, the squashed-by-a-car kind I’m glad to say. Dragonflies swarm, zooming around our heads but always just missing us. The raccoons are getting bolder when they come after the cat food. I’ve tried scaring them with a starting pistol, a pellet gun, yelling, chasing, but they come right back. They look at me with soulful eyes and I feel mean, the little blighters. A few hummingbirds are hanging on, the younger birds who need to fill up more for the strength required to fly to warmer climes. In another month, only the chickadees, juncos, robins and woodpeckers will still be here. And not to forget the magpie and jay. September, and the year is already winding down.

Our neighbor told us he planned to take some cats to No More Homeless Pets in Orem. He’s lucky – he managed to make friends with the feral cats on his property, no mean feat, done with more patience than I possess. He can scoop them up and off they go. NMHP will spay/neuter and immunize the kitties for only $5 a piece, then they can be released with no risk they will breed and add to the colony. I have my own small colony, so I decided to trap the mommy cat and her six kittens so Terry could take them to Orem. Easier said than done. My kitties are completely wild. They won’t even come up on the deck when I’m out there. I wonder, hey, don’t you realize who’s giving you all that yummy kitty kibble? Show a little gratitude, will ya!

Anyway, on Wednesday I put my biggest dog crate on the deck, put the food inside, and tied a cord to the door, the other end through the window. I tried it; it worked a treat. One yank and the door closed. Wednesday evening: no kitties. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday: no kitties. Then, on Monday, momma and five kittens turned up, and they were hungry. I figure the sixth kitten had a mishap, which is sad but happens. They went back and forth all day, in and out of the dog crate, chowing down on kibble and drinking water. Problem: the kits would only go in the crate with momma, and they were never all in there at the same time. I couldn’t shut the door to trap momma and some of her kits and leave others alone, mommy-less. I went to bed a failure.

Tuesday morning I looked out the window before taking out the cat food. Six kittens. Inside the crate. Mom wasn’t around, but I was sure she would be out there somewhere when the kittens came back Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, I had to take the cord out the window Monday evening, so I could close it. The end was just outside. I carefully eased up the window. The kittens looked at me. I reached my hand through the gap for the cord, and they scattered. I waited half an hour but they didn’t come back. I had to go to work. I’ll get them eventually.

Before long, I’ll be feeling isolated as I look out my windows at a white landscape, but winter is the perfect time to sit in our cozy den, in front of the fire, and write.

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