Three wild kittens...
Wild Grey Kitten
Three wild kittens have turned up in my Wattle Woods, and I'm worrying (in a responsible, semi-nice way) what to do about them. Rusty the dog has an amazing nose for finding them in the undergrowth - poor little things!
Sunday 25th January
Today I am going to work so hard. I will not slouch around for hours reading books by the pond (hello, yesterday afternoon's Moosey!). I will be far too busy finishing things. Firstly, absolutely all my dollar perennials are to be safely planted (I have about twenty six to go). I will even check where perennial Lobelia likes to grow. Then I will lay stones around the Driveway Garden - why leave this half done? It's such a sloppy look. I'll put the final touches to the little stone wall and new garden by the water. All large stones will be placed in the water to continue my erosion control.
I'm concerned, and half-cross, about the appearance of wild kittens (at least three) in the Moosey Garden. This morning I've already fed the little grey (who I'm calling 'Minimus Puss') in the woodshed. He/she comes up to my hand to take food - growl, growl. No sign of the other two - a black and a tabby - which Rusty the dog 'found' in the Wattle Woods.
- 'Feral cat problems cannot just be ignored.'
- -Moosey Advice.
Feral cat problems cannot just be ignored. The 'Trap, Neuter, Return' programme is a humane process for the sentimental realist - all it takes is a bit of time and a bit of money. I'm pretty certain these kittens have come here from a nearby property - enough said. My plan is to continue to feed the grey, hereby accepting responsibility for him as an outdoors cat. Golly I sound solemn! I, Mad Moosey, Head Gardener and Animal Lover, do solemnly swear...
And Jerome the old grey cat is finally re-using her limpy leg - nothing too strenuous. I've put a special low stool down so she can hop more easily up on the bed...
I'm half way through finishing half of today's garden plans - could be worse! Anyway, it's fiercely hot, the sun is at its highest, so I'm inside for a break. I've planted all the Dianthus plants (they are called Pink Jewel, if that means anything) and the Thyme, pulling out stones from the big stone wall and squashing the plants gently in. And I've just spent ten minutes 'playing' with the little grey wild kitten. He/she's had a good drink of water, has happily chased the grass stalk, and has been quite relaxed near my moving hands.
So we are getting somewhere - but where? There's no sign of the other two. And maybe there are more...
Oh dear. Rusty chased the little wild tabby kitten through the water race (cats can swim) and underneath the hen house. He has an amazing nose for finding these little creatures. I'm thinking about a feeding station in the top of the Wattle Woods, for however many kittens have been dumped here. I'll use dried food, with no attempt to catch or trap for now.
But there has been huge progress in the woodshed! Little grey Minimus puss has taken some giant cat-steps, on top of the firewood. We've broken the touching ice, so to speak - we smooch, purr, roll over to show our tummy, allow tummy-tickling, and rub in the Moosey hands. These clandestine meetings in the woodshed will have to stop!
Pots by the Pond
As far as my garden goes - it's really been too hot to finish all the things that need finishing. But I've laid stones, planted some Arabis, and cleared gum tree bark off the house lawn. I've had my dog-paddling swim in the pond, my hair is freshly washed, and it's time for a cool beer on a shady seat. This summer garden is to be enjoyed - slowly!
Monday 26th January
Please bear with me - it's these wild kittens, again! Let these rational thoughts be recorded.
- Ex-Wild Cats :
- A couple of years ago I successfully socialised three wild kittens - Histeria, Percy, and Lilli-Puss. So I know it can be done.
I cannot save every wild kitten in the world, or in the country, or in my district, or even on my own property. But 'saving' one is better than doing nothing, and that one (little Minimus in the woodshed) is thriving. I can handle him and pick him up - he purrs and smooches affectionately, and it's only our third day. So, looking longer term, I can easily get Minimus to the vet to be de-sexed, and meanwhile he can live happily in (and out of) the woodshed.
I cannot save the other two wild kittens unless I can find them easily and feed them in person. And I cannot spend all day hunting in the Moosey undergrowth. There are likely to be more than two out there, anyway. My feeding stations may or may not work - who knows. I am to STOP WORRYING! Immediately! I promise this is my last public worry-session. Normal gardening must resume. Otherwise it's not fair on my dog, who loves poking around checking out the paths and gardens.
One Crepuscule on the Pergola
So what gardening should I do today? The hoses are already on, it's super hot, and the only sensible place to be gardening is on the banks of the water race. I can have a pond-swim at the end of the day. Crocs (plastic shoes) are pretty interesting buoyancy aids, by the way.
Tuesday 27th January
Housework is like gardening. If I'm going to sit around inside (it's raining) then the ambience of a tidy, vacuumed living area works wonders. I know it's superficial and cosmetic - just like speed weeding, quick-raking and edging a garden border. The rain is blessed, much needed, as the garden stresses in the long, hot summer days.
Summer Flaxes and Flowers
More progress with the wild grey kitten - Minimus now runs madly down from his hideaway in the top corner of the woodshed when I arrive. This morning I brought out my cup of tea to sit down with him. He purred and smooched and zoomed all around - scampering up and down the Olearia hedge, chasing imaginary things in the leaf litter below - playing just like a house pet.
+10Such a brave, cheerful little kitten - he makes me feel very humble. And optimistic, too. And I do wonder about the timing - Stumpy my much-loved old grey cat passes away just before Christmas, and four weeks later a Stumpy-replacement 'finds' me. And after a couple of days decides he likes me lots. Hmm...
Wednesday 28th January
Right. Today is a gardening day. First, the vegetable garden. Little Minimus in the woodshed needs to be introduced to gardening - it's never too early to learn about being cat-company!
Minimus has had a big day out. He met several nosy big cats (hiss, hiss), the gentlest of dogs (growl), and lovely son-in-law (two peeps, then hide). He got semi-stuck in the rambling woodshed rose on the roof. He played a lot in the vegetable garden while I weeded madly, running in and out of the woodshed. That sentence makes me sound even more lunatic than usual - I mean that the kitten did the running! Tomorrow I will take some photographs.
Climbing Lemon Rose
If I hadn't lost my secateurs I would have done a lot more garden work, honestly! I reckon I've thrown them in the compost. Tomorrow I will do bigger and better things. And a quick comment - I am so glad that the ailing Crepuscule on the pergola is gone. Now the lemon climber has more room, and the one Crepuscule looks lovely. Actually, it's a better look - you don't need two of one thing on either side of as pergola, necessarily, if you know what I mean.