Monday, June 11, 2007

The Death Toll Rises

Seriously, we’ve moved beyond rodent control. I’ve lost count of how many mice the cats have killed. They even graduated to bunnies last week. The bunny count is 3 dead, 2 rescued and alive the last time I saw them. That’s right, rescued. They’ve taken to bringing live animals into the house via the pet door, and then killing them. Over the weekend, I was cleaning the toilet in the basement, and happened to see a bit of fur on the floor on the opposite side of the toilet. I stopped and said a little prayer: “Lord, please let this one be whole.” (The 3 dead ones were less than whole when we found them.) It was whole, but I wasn’t sure if it was alive, so I poked it. And it moved. I had to rescue it and give it a fighting chance to live, so I blocked off the bathroom, caught it, and took it outside. I decided that my new policy is to rescue the live animals and let them go outside to give them another chance at survival. If they stay in the house, they are goners (although I did notice that Georgia left enough dog food bits around her kennel that a bunny might be able to live in the basement for a while).

An update on Squirt, we had to retrieve him from the old house again yesterday. I really think he had gotten confused and thought we had just abandoned him there, instead of coming back home to the new house. When I went over to get him, he cried and cried at me. I took him home and put him at the food bowl, and he chowed down - several times. Every two hours, all through the night last night, he came crying through the house and all he needed was some to know we were there. I finally just started calling him to me and petting him until he went away again. I think he just had to make sure his family was still in the house. He stayed really close this morning while I was getting ready for work. I could see him lying in the floor outside the bathroom. Which meant I could also see Jewel bring him something from outside: a bunny. She brought a live bunny right inside and dropped it in front of him as if to say, “See what we do here at the new house?” The chase was on. The bunny ran back to the kitchen with the cats close behind, and I was right behind the cats. The bunny tried to jump out of a window, but it was closed so it went under the kitchen table instead. The cats chased it out from under the table, and I was waiting. I scooped it right up and took it outside and across the street the neighbor’s yard. Jewel gave me the stink eye when I got back inside, but Squirt was up for the game, so I’m hoping he’ll investigate further bunny hunting possibilities outside the house and stay for a while.

Georgia was a ball obsessed fool all weekend long. We got her a new pool, because she dug holes in the old one, so we spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons chasing balls and swimming. What a life.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Black Cat Protest, Pet Door Lessons, and Rodent Control

We moved into our new house over Memorial Day weekend, and spent the first night there Sunday. Georgia has been with us through all of the painting, cleaning, etc. so she was already fairly well adjusted to the new house. I brought the kitties over for the first time after we had moved and unpacked most of our stuff on Sunday. The plan was to keep them inside until they adjusted to the new house and started acting normal, because most cats don’t handle change very well. At approximately 4:30 Monday morning, Squirt was losing his mind. He was crying at the top of his lungs, standing on the dresser in the bedroom, and scratching at the mirror. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I let him outside so I could sleep in peace.

When I woke up at a decent hour on Monday morning, he was nowhere to be found. I didn’t see him when I fed them breakfast, I didn’t seem him when we got back from our shopping trip several hours later, and I knew. He had moved back to the old house. I stopped by my dad’s to use the computer (being without Internet service temporarily myself), and he told me that Squirt had been hanging around at the old house. I went to clean the old house and I brought Squirt inside so I could keep up with him. While I vacuumed, he hid under the kitchen sink. I loaded him up in the cat kennel again, took him to the new house, showed him the all important food bowl, and let him go. He investigated the yard, the house, the neighbors’ yards, and he was still there after several hours. When he finally went inside and ate, I knew that he had officially moved to the new house – our protest was over.

Georgia LOVES that the guest room has a WHOLE bed just for her. I think that is her room now, and if we ever have a guest, I’m not sure where she will sleep. She sleeps on that bed with her head on the pillow like a person. Apparently, Dave is having more difficulty adjusting to Georgia in the new house than Georgia. He says he can hear her walking on the hardwoods during the night, but I don’t know what he’s talking about because I’m dead tired when I finally get to bed and I don’t hear anything.

Georgia seems a little confused about the location of her kennel right now, but we’ll work that out. We started with it in the laundry room, but moved it to the basement because the laundry room was too crowded, and really too hot to leave her in there all day. When it’s time to kennel up in the mornings, she looks at me like, “Where?” Oh well, it won’t take long to get her on program. One thing that she’s totally on program with is the new pet door we put in the door that leads from the laundry room to the kitchen. I think she would rather use it than wait for me to open the door when we are both going through together. She waits at the door to make sure I’m coming, and then goes through the hole before I open the door.

We put the pet door in because the laundry room isn’t climate controlled and the kitchen stays much cooler if that door is closed. However, I have all the animals’ food and water in the laundry room, plus there’s a window in there for the cats to come and go, so they need access to that area all the time. Since Georgia needs to fit through it, it’s a very large pet door. Dave dared me to go through it the night he put it in. I told him there was no way my shoulders would fit through. I was wrong. Yes, that means I actually tried to squeeze through the pet door. I got my shoulders in, but the hips weren’t going – no surprise there. Then, when I tried to get out, I thought I was stuck, but I survived. He was laughing at me and I asked what he would have done if I was really stuck. He said, in his best country boy accent, “Rescue 20, my wife is stuck in the dog door.” It was quite comical.

The kittens are not adjusting as well as the George to the pet door. Jewel E. Cat really has no problem with it, but she’s been covering so much hunting ground that we’ve barely seen her in days. She checks in for breakfast, and that’s it. I’ve spent time stuffing Gypsy and Squirt through the flap, and I think they’ve both used it in a pinch, but they would rather I open the door for them when they yell at the pet door. They are still a little anxious about going through the flap. If I lift it for them, they will go through without a problem. I think they’ll get used to it when they get ready to sleep on the couch and I refuse to let them in. Also, if Georgia’s big head wasn’t always waiting on the other side for them, they probably wouldn’t be so hesitant. Beast.

So, rodent control… well, we seem to have quite the mouse population at the new house – outside only, so far. No worries, my kittens love a mouse chase. I’ve been a little worried that the new neighbors might have a problem with the kittens (Social Jewel has already been across the street on the neighbor’s porch). In preparation of my defense for letting them run around outside, I decided I would spin the rodent control angle. I’ve already seen several dead mice around. The other night, I let Georgia out and the kittens were all congregated in the driveway. She busted up the party, like always, and to her pleasant surprise, found that they were playing with a mouse. She wanted to play with the mouse, too. She kept trying to sniff and snuffle it (like she does everything new she happens upon in the yard if it’s smaller than her), and that little mouse was running all around her feet – feet that are bigger than the mouse. She was hilarious because she kept hopping around, trying to keep up with the mouse and sniff it at the same time. Occasionally, it would get away from her and she’d pounce on it again – never stepping on it, though. The kittens were surrounding the area, lest the big beast let it get away. I finally got her inside, and they finished up with Mr. Mouse.
What have the people been up to? Besides squeezing in pet doors? Hanging curtains and pictures, unpacking, organizing, meeting the air conditioner man, etc etc etc. When we turned on the AC Sunday, it was not working well. We had someone out on Tuesday to fix it, and he gave us the wonderful news that we will need to replace the unit soon. Hopefully, what he did to it will last the summer. We LOVE our new house. It’s a neat place with a lot more space. Dave has his own room downstairs with his office and his recliner and TV. I may never see him. My new kitchen is WONDERFUL! I cooked in it Monday night, and I loved it. It’s so comfortable, a great working kitchen. Lots of work will happen in there tonight, because the bridal shower is tomorrow!! I can’t believe how fast time has gone. The wedding is only a month away. Good grief.