Our problems with mice this year are well-documented. The situation led us to do something I thought we would never do — get cats. I’m not a cat lover, and my wife isn’t either, but we hate mice. When a visitor came to see our sheep and a mouse ran over her open-toed shoe, that was the last straw. We needed cats.
Two days later, the local ag teacher told me a box with six kittens had showed up in the animal room. How many did I want?
As it turns out, a student who works at the local sale barn brought them in, hoping to find homes for them. Someone left them at the sale barn, and big, tough guy that he is, he couldn’t bear leaving them there.
About 6 p.m. that evening the student came tooling up our driveway in his pickup. There was a pet carrier with three kittens in back. They were likely 4 or 5 weeks old, gray and black. The young man warned me they were wild!
My plan was to put them in the open dog kennel in the garage overnight so they would get used to feed and water. Then I would move them to the barn in the portable kennel the next evening. So I found a bowl and asked Carla to bring milk.
Their benefactor hadn’t been gone five minutes before the real fun began. I opened the side door to put in the milk.
“Watch out!” Carla warned. One kitten was headed for the open kennel door.
I was still pouring milk, so I didn’t pay any attention. She slipped out into the garage. How hard could it be to catch a tiny kitten anyway?
I was about to find out.
The little gray kitten shot straight for the water heater. In a flash, she was behind it and out of sight. Great — now what?
I got a stick and poked, but I couldn’t see her.
“Well, you shouldn’t have let her get out,” Carla said.
I had that one figured out by now.
“We will just sit here and wait until she comes out and grab her,” I said.
She came out alright. Slowly at first … then she ventured out a little farther. But every time I made the slightest movement, she darted back behind the water heater.
Enough is enough
This game went on for several minutes. Finally, the kitten was out far enough that when I made a move for her, she darted the other way — straight behind an old cabinet on the opposite side of the water heater! Change of venue, same game: try to poke out the cat.
After 30 minutes, the kitten ventured out far enough that I made a leap for her. I went for the tail. She turned and snarled.
“Grab it, grab it!” Carla exclaimed.
But I pulled back. I'd had enough of that kitten. “You grab it,” I said. “I’m not getting bitten.”
With that, I put on a pair of work gloves. So now, there were two adults — one wearing gloves — a pint-size cat back under the water heater, and her two innocent siblings watching, still in the kennel. Eventually, the cat made a wrong turn and boxed herself in by the furnace. I grabbed her and threw her in the cage.
Good grief, I thought. We’ve had these kittens for 45 minutes and they’re already nothing but trouble. If I were you, I would stay tuned!