Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free Isn't Always

We live in the foothills and we have mice. It's just a fact.

A few months ago (after using traps to catch at least one mouse in the house every night for ten days straight) we decided that we needed a cat. I had long maintained that with five kids (three who were still in diapers) the last thing we needed was a pet. We were cleaning up poop for three kids, why would we add to that? But the mice were taking over, so it was time.

Knowing that we live in the foothills, (also knowing that coyotes live in the foothills) we decided it wouldn't be prudent to purchase a cat as a pet. Let's face it, there is a real possibility that our pet could become an appetizer. I know it isn't a happy thought, but it's the truth.

A few months ago we searched the classified ads and found a free kitten. Let me be clear when I tell you that we have done everything we can to keep her away from danger. And I am happy to report that she is not only alive, but happy and thriving as well. Anyway, Shade has become a terrific mouser and frequently leaves her prey for us to inspect. Let me also report that we have not caught a single mouse since she arrived on the scene--hallelujah! Worth every penny, right?

Yeah, only now the story gets better. We decided that since we were lucky enough to get a great mouser, we should keep her healthy and pulling her weight for as long as possible. Do you know how expensive that is???

I called the vet, it's going to cost nearly $200 to get her dewormed, spayed, and whatever else they feel is necessary to keep a pet healthy. This is the information that I've been contemplating. Hmmm. Do I spend the money? Do I hope for the best? What to do....

Here's the kicker: It would appear that while we were on vacation, someone dumped some kittens in the trees and rocks next to our house. When we got home and found them, they were in pretty bad shape. We're really not sure how long they had been there. Anyway, they were too young to be without their mother, so I called the vet and asked for advice. I described their condition and explained that they weren't ours so I didn't want to invest much. I did say that I would do my best to get them healthy so I could find them good homes.

OK--so now I'm buying special canned kitten milk and wet kitten food, fixing them special meals, and protecting them from Shade, who is definitely not a fan. I don't need this! I wanted one cat to kill the mice--Shade doesn't need help, she's a mousing genius!!!

So, today I came home at noon and Eve (the little girl kitten) had a paw that was swollen to four times it's usual size. Obviously it was broken or something. I have no idea what could have happened. But here we go... We took Eve to the vet and we paid for an x-ray, pain meds, and eye ointment. If she isn't doing better by Friday, I suppose I will take her back like I was told.

So here's the deal, my "free" kittens (all three of them) are now becoming rather expensive. Shade is the proud owner of a cushy bed, a cute food dish, and a very nice litter box with special litter in it. She doesn't like the cheapest dry food, so I've upgraded her. We leave a night light on in the garage. We buy her treats and toys.

Eve has now had an x-ray, she has a supply of mini-syringes filled with some sort of pain medication (that I will administer every eight hours). Eve and Dusk share a supply of wet kitten food and special kitten milk that I have to mix up at least once every day, and ointment for their eyes. On cold evenings we heat a bean bag in the microwave and put it in their box so they won't get cold. Holy Hannah! What are we doing??? Let's not forget that everyone still needs to be spayed or neutered and dewormed!!!

So if anyone is looking for a "free" kitten, call me. I think I can hook you up!


mack said...

weren't you two the ones who only wanted one more child?? It goes without saying that you'd get 3 kittens when all you wanted was one cat to do the job! =) I love you!


mack said...

Call me, we still need to go to Red Mango!


ErinB said...

Good luck! Look on the bright side, you will probably never see another mouse in your lifetime. Those cats are lucky you have a big heart:)

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