Tricounty News

Squatters (Pets that move in with you)

Animals have a way of moving in with us. Even if we are adamant that we don't want any pets, or any more pets, if the stars align in such a manner as to bring a stray to our door, we tend to get awfully soft awfully fast. I personally provide room and board for two dogs that I fell in love with after hearing of their unplanned births (translation: mutts), and two cats that were born on a farm that seems to have more than their share of not-so-fertility-challenged felines.

My grandmother-in-law recently had a stray cat claim squatters' rights at her house, charming her way into a perfectly happy pet-free household to the point where Grandma succumbed, granting her residence and medical assistance so long as she (and only she) wanted to stay. This is where I come into the picture. Grandma brought her Princess into the clinic to be spayed, proud of the weight the previously undernourished stray had gained under her generous care. But the animal's bulging abdomen was just begging for me to ultrasound the curiously glowing female, revealing the sources of her glow ... kittens were on the way! The Princess was actually a Queen! Needless to say, the spay was postponed, and Grandma's house has reluctantly become a maternity ward for "Princess" and her newborn kittens, born with all the privilege granted by their mother's royalty. In a couple months when they are no longer dependent on Her Highness's milk, Queen Princess will no longer have the desire nor the sexual organs to add to our world's (or Grandma's house's) feline population.

Back on my own home front, my wife had made clear to me on multiple animal-related destructive occasions that our own two dogs and cats of indiscriminate breeding were treading on thin ice in terms of maintaining their indoor status. Moreover, I had been warned by my veterinary superiors that I should always close my vet box and truck windows while on farms lest a cat deemed the vehicle a warm, safe place to hide, resulting in me inadvertently taking them home with me after the farm call. Despite my due diligence in regard to my wife's and colleagues' warnings, even I seem to have a couple more cats than I had anticipated. On one occasion, I left my window open in my truck while parked in my closed garage in order to let the farm smells and flies out overnight before I got back in the next morning. Upon sleepily climbing into the drivers' seat the next day, something caused me to glance over my right shoulder, revealing a strange black cat looking me straight in the eye, which then leaped from my back seat, flying across my face, out the window, and out of my life in one extremely confusing motion for both of us.

More recently, certain I had never left any doors or compartments of my truck open on farms, I opened the door from our house into the garage after hearing "meowing," thinking one of our cats was in there wanting to get back inside. Again, there was a strange set of frightened eyes looking up at me, but this time they were those of a very young orange tabby kitten, no more than 8 weeks of age. This orphan must have ridden in my undercarriage for a pretty impressive amount of time at pretty impressive speeds, and has now deemed my garage its place of residence. Sometimes I think it is gone because I don't see or hear it, but the next day it is back ... I put out milk and cat food, but it is still too wild to really interact with. The animal decided it was us who it would live with, but even though I have no desire to acquire any more animals, I almost feel slighted by the wild kitten's reclusiveness.

Take a moment to think if there are any animals under your care that should really be spayed or neutered ... there are lots of animals out looking for homes already!

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