Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An Apology Is In Order

Don't get all wild and crazy on me. I am not apologizing for calling Romney a lying douche bag. He still is - both.

For the one or two folks who read the Oracle, you might remember a picture I posted last week.

This is Fuzzy, one of the two feral kittens that are now our masters. In the original post I referred to Fuzzy as "princess".

We, honest to gosh, thought she was a princess. As fate would have it, she is not a princess. He may be a queen, but a princess he isn't.

Now I understand why HE would hiss at me in the morning when I stepped outside to fill their breakfast bowls. He knew what he was and didn't appreciate being called a girl. He is, though, the girliest boy cat we have ever come across.

So, to Fuzzy, we are truly sorry for our error. We beg forgiveness, and regardless of your orientation, we love you.

There might be a few other little things we might want to beg forgiveness for - the boys - all four of them. They have turned up missing!

Yes, friends and neighbors, we did what so many of the less than conscientious cat people in SOG City have not bothered to do. We availed ourselves of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay TNVR program.

"TNVR (Trap/Neuter/Vaccinate/Return) is the method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and then returning them to their colony to live out their lives.

TNVR also involves a colony caretaker
[that seems to be us] who provides food, adequate shelter and monitors the cats’ health.

TNVR has been shown to be the least costly as well as the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing feral cat populations.

In December 2011, Hillsborough County Commissioners passed a resolution recognizing Trap-Neuter-Return to better control community cat populations."

The whole process was traumatic as all get out - for us, and maybe Skinny and Fuzzy, too. It might have been worse for us. The kittens appeared to have had some serious drugs. I mean the good shit! I wanted some too, but the Humane people drew the line on that request.

Better living through chemistry, I always say.

All right then, let's move on.

Following the Humane Society instructions, I drove to their Armenia Avenue location this past Friday. In an alley way behind Church's Chicken is the feral cat reception station. It is here that I picked up two traps, leaving a $65 per trap refundable security deposit (on credit card). You may pick up traps between 4 and 6 Friday and Saturday afternoon.

We fed our fuzzy darlings normally on Friday and Saturday, but set out smaller breakfast portions on Sunday morning. If your ferals are really wild, you may want to withhold food for a longer period of time. Ours sit at the patio doors and bitch if they don't get served at the normal time.

Sunday, during Bucs half time, we set the traps at opposite sides of the patio. Each had a small can of really stinky, but hard to resist Publix Gourmet Cat Food. At game's end we checked the traps and to our great surprise and joy, we had a cat in each trap. We were afraid that they would both go in the same trap and that is a no-no. The Society will ONLY accept one cat per trap. It is up to you to separate them. Why? Because, it's policy!

As soon as we discovered our caged fuzzies, we called the feral cat number to let them know we would be coming in on Monday - morning - early. Even with a 7 o'clock arrival there was a line of vehicles waiting to drop of their little furry treasures. When it came my turn, an assistant took the cages from the back of my truck, I handed over my pre-filled out paperwork, and was told to come back at five that afternoon.

When you return - do not go to the drop off door! You go around to the front entrance and stand in line with your money - $15 per animal - credit cards are accepted. Once the fees have been paid, your critter, or in our case critters, will be brought to you.

Skinny must have been snipped first because he was wide awake and really in a pissy mood. Fuzzy was in the zone and could care less - about anything. As I mentioned, they give these guys the good stuff. This is also when we were informed that we would be taking home two boys, not a boy and a girl.

We put the cages next to each other on the patio. The Society says not to release them until they are completely down from their high. Skinny was definitely down and was more than slightly perturbed - he was pissed and wanted out - NOW. We opened his cage and he was gone. Fuzzy was still just groovin' on the day - mellow as jello.

Since there had been no food served for over twenty four hours I decided to give Fuzzy a plate of that Publix Gourmet Cat Food thinking that he might have a mighty case of the munchies. He did!

After licking that plate pretty clean, Fuzzy looked as though he might be ready to leave the cage. That was a mistake on our part. He stepped out without a problem, but after a few steps we realized his front legs were having difficulty coordinating with his hind legs. I couldn't help but think the little cat dude looked as though he had dropped a couple of Quaaludes - not that I would have any knowledge about 'ludes and such.

It was too late to get Fuzzy back in the cage, so off he wobbled to join up with his brother. I'm thinking we should have kept Fuzzy boxed up for another two or three hours.

My bride and I sat out on the patio that evening with a couple of adult beverages speculating if we would ever see the two kittens again. Had we been fired? We got our answer the next morning. There was a kitty knock on the sliding glass doors with two pissed off little people wondering where the hell is breakfast.

I took the cages back to the Society that morning and got my deposit back. That evening, all seemed to be back to normal. Skinny was a bit hesitant at first, but after a couple of treats, he quit mumbling to himself about the hired help.

When my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, got home from work she asked about the boys. I cautioned her not to mention "the boys" around the boys. That may still be a touchy subject.

They must be around here somewheres.
This whole adventure was a bit traumatic, but we did the right thing. Someone in our neighborhood dumped their feral cat problem on us - thanks a heap. Our feral cats will not exacerbate the problem for our neighbors.

And, they are welcome!


  1. I'm telling you true, Jon, this beats reading Homer's "Odyssey" any day of the week!

    Best wishes to you and Belle, and good luck with the ferals.

    1. As always Bill, it's a treat to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. I'll pass them along to the Belle. I'm sure that Skinny and Fuzzy will also be pleased. I'll share with them later. Right now they are extremely busy - Skinny in the rocking chair on the patio and Fuzzy on the chaise lounge next to the pool.

      As Cabana Boy, I have been instructed not to disturb them until summoned.