Friday, January 27, 2012

Last Spicer Kitten Caught. But Mom....

Last kitten caught at Spicer colony. Mom still needs caught.

This morning, as now is my ritual, I get up at 5:00 a.m., dress while hot water is heating on the stove, grind my coffee beans, and sit the plastic filter atop my cup. I then add a brown cone shaped paper filter and a couple teaspoons of freshly ground coffee, pour the hot water through and enjoy my first cup of coffee.

That's as my car warms up. I sit inside, air so cold my breath clouds out, as the car idles in the driveway. When it's warmed up, I flip on the headlights and head out. Already many early risers, heading off for their early shifts, are on the roads.

I park across the street from the Spicer Origins colony. Sometimes the couple, each with early morning jobs, are both gone and sometimes just one by the time I arrive.

I check the trap I've left set on their porch. Not touched. I add some fresh bait, curse under my breath, get back in my car, and pull around the corner, to the next colony, merely a block away. I get out my mag lite for this one, and creep in past their trailer.

This morning, eyes flashed back at me, from my trap, nestled in under the back of the trailer for weather protection, and wrapped in a clear plastic mat. I got a roll of that, at the mercantile in Empire, last time down.

This time, it was a tame medium hair black tux, from the block behind the owners of the house that feed the four stray teens and their mother.

I let him go and reset the trap, again cursing quietly.

An early morning slow jogger, whom I've encountered before in my early trap checks, jogs so slowly by my car, I try to engage the bundled up miserable looking frowning form, in conversation. I say "Good for you out exercising like this in such cold weather." The form does not respond. Not a facial muscle twitches. Not a muscle turns my way. She slogs on at a snails pace, determined. I watch her go, unfazed by the snub, guilt rising in me, as usual. Joggers do that to me. This one is hyper skinny already. I feel the fat bulging at my own waist then try not to think about all I should and should not be doing.

An hour later I return. Eyes again peer at me through the end of the trap. I am used to this and dare not think I might have the one kitten of four, not yet fixed.

But I do! I have the fourth kitten, caught, snug and safe, in my trap, until she can be fixed. Now, to catch the darn mother. She's been hanging around again, the old man told me later today, when I returned, triumphant, with another trap, to set again, to start the routine all over again, to catch that black mother cat.

The other colony isn't so easy. The cats show up only very early morning. I am tentative at that hour, with the couple rising so early, working so hard, like they do, and the two teens there also, and the dogs. I tip toe onto their porch to check the trap. Yesterday morning, it was the little Siamese mix already fixed male inside it, which sets me back. I let me out. He tore off.

I don't want to wake the humans or disturb them or hassle the humans in any way. I just want to catch the rest of the cats. I've seen at least one more younger short hair, maybe two. I thought only one long hair black tux needed caught but this morning, I saw another. Then there's the troublesome male, the big guy, who shows up only sometimes, and beats up everybody he encounters.

I've caught ten now, between the two colonies. The little girl from Spicer Origins I caught is in my bathroom. She was sick, with conjunctivitis and a cold. I hold her and pet her and her little butt with the three quarters length tail goes straight up. Her face is flatter than it should be. She's soft and skinny and pathetic and how much I hate taking her back there, once fixed.

My mind skims for possibilities for her and at least a couple of the others, but the skimming produces a big flashing "No Results for your search 'options for semi feral precious teen female'".

So I hold her, give her antibiotics, fluids, eye ointment, anything I can, to prop her up, get her strong, for her hard life once back.

This morning after I caught the gray tux kitten, I went on over to the nearby brand spanking new huge Walmart super store, which opened a couple days ago. I immediately saw a former Circle K clerk. I said "So you got a job here." "Yes," she said, "I get more hours and higher pay here."

I was happy for her, and many others who got jobs. When the only jobs open are part time low wage jobs at Walmart and people are happy to get those, tells you how bad the job situation is around here.

Walmart sells the same stuff Kmart sells who sells the same stuff Target sells. And so on. I pushed a cart around the store like I might buy something but same old--Walmart is far more expensive on food than Winco, and the real food section is very very small (as opposed to the fake prepackaged formed food section).

I checked the traps again moments ago. I'd come home tired. I bought vaccines at Heartland. I'd given all the ones I had to a Brownsville woman who had an outbreak of distemper, so she could quickly vaccinate or boost others in her household and prevent more deaths. I hadn't one single vaccine left, which made me nervous. So I made the trip to Corvallis.

Then I fell asleep in my cold house in my clothes, coat still on, on my bed and just woke up, an hour ago. Off I went, to fulfill the routine, although I know by now, this hour has never produced a cat in a trap at those locations.

Persistence, I tell myself, the pep talk. Don't give up. You've trapped ten already in two difficult colonies that otherwise would be exploding soon. Good for you, I tell myself. Good for you. Persistence, that's all it will take. Keep at it. Keep it up. Don't give up, just don't give up. You'll get them and you'll be happy you did, once they're caught. Be worth it, right?

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