Saturday, November 22, 2008

Commando Update

Left to right: Sak Boox, Moka, Lorenza, Busmo y Mokito.

The time has come for an update on the Commando of Cats. It has been a wild couple of weeks around here, starting with November’s mid-month full moon.

First, there were numerous rescues. The mamey tree in the patio is the portal the big cats use to get to the other side. The fruit tree is tall, full and perfect for climbing. They climb to the first branch, easily step to the 15 ft. high cement wall covered in broken glass, and delicately walk to the rooftops and open lots of the abandoned meat packing buildings next door. One morning the kitties decided it was time to join the big boys. Little Lorenza and Sak Boox ran up and came back down. Busmo went part way up. But Mokito had to go up so high the branches got too small for him to cling on to. He got scared. We tried to talk him down. He lost his balance and his hind legs were hanging and swinging in mid-air. It was 8am, so Pablo, Theresa and I were all present. We grabbed a beach towel and caught him as he fell. He was humiliated and sat in the corner staring at the wall for a few hours, but he survived. He has not gone higher than the first branch since that day. His favorite pastime is playing soccer with Pablo. Mokito drops his Coke bottle cap at Pablo’s feet and then runs and slides around the pasta tiled floor in chase. He is a smart cat, just not a strong climber.

His sister Lorenza was the next one to climb so high she was afraid to come down. She got stuck during exercise class also. (8-9am seems to be exercise hour for humans and animals.) I thought for sure she could get down, but she started losing her balance. Pablo brought the ladder and set it on top of the pool filter “casita”, which stands about 5 ft. off the ground. He then climbed to the top step of the ladder, grabbed Lorenza, and dropped her gently into our beach towel trampoline.

A few days later Sak Boox was missing. I heard her crying but I could not find her. She had gotten up on the wall, walked around to the neighbor’s house, and jumped on to our roof. This is a trick she learned from the big cats. She was locked out on the roof which is completely fenced in. I followed the mews and there she was, waiting for me to open the locked gate. She enjoyed that activity so much she repeated it two days later.

When feeding time comes and goes and Busmo doesn’t appear, he’s missing. He is a cat who likes to eat. One day last week he was nowhere to be found. We searched all the hiding places we know about, inside and out, but to no avail. Finally I heard a faint meow and followed it upstairs. We was hiding in the guest room. I looked up there but did not find him. He must have had a great hiding place. He had apparently just awoken from his nap and was just asking to be let out. He is more independent than his siblings, and I imagine he would like to live upstairs alone. When we go upstairs to hang laundry, we often open the door to the bedroom there to give it some air. Now I know Busmo can often be found stretched out asleep on the bed.

Just when everyone had gotten over their traumatic adventures, we called the vet to have the kittens all fixed. Dr. Ruben came and swooped them all up quickly. Moka was asleep. When she got up her babies were gone! She was very upset. We tried to convince her they would be back and everyone would live happily ever after, but she wasn’t buying it. Two days passed and the kitties came home. They were upset and nervous on the ride with Dr. Ruben and they pissed all over themselves. Mokito took it the worst. Since he had some toilet training trouble in his early days, he has been in the sink several times, and it was not too difficult to give him a quick bath. He still stinks, three days later as I write this, but not as bad as when they came home from surgery. I didn’t bathe the others on the doctor’s orders. The air was very cold and he did not want them to get sick. I had already given Mokito a rinse off when I stopped long enough to listen to the good doctor. We are letting the stink wear off, and I am washing everything in the house today.

The kitties are all doing very well recuperating. Lorenza is already removing her stitches, but she seems to be healing. One problem was that Moka did not like the way they smelled when they came back and she hissed at them for two days. That hurt their feelings, and they were already experiencing their first real pain. They are now reunited and a happy family again. Moka and Buster have been assisting with the major odor clean up needed.

Two days ago I woke up and saw MomCat outside next to the pool….with one of her kittens. She is Siamese and we think might be Moka’s Mom. I don’t know exactly when she started hanging around, but long enough to notice she has a tendency to either be pregnant or nursing kittens all the time. We spotted two little gray kitties on the roof next door, and then we never saw them again. She seems to be capable of having abandoned Moka at my gate, but they may have worked things out between them since then, because Moka will share her space and food with MomCat. But bringing kittens, that was the last straw. By the end of the day there were three of them hiding in my clothes closet, and I found MomCat comfortably lounging on Buster’s blanket on top of the bed. We caught one of the kittens and put it in the cat carrier. He settled down, and ate and drank. Pablo went out for a while that night and when he returned, I was asleep. He saw the other two kittens in the room and asked me, “So, are you ready to hunt kittens?” And I continued to sleep as things flew around during his cat and human game. When I got up there were three adorable, but dirty, kittens in the carrier. We brushed them and clipped their nails. They were adorable long haired kittens, probably the work of Gemelo. One looked just like him.

Gemelo's gemelo, Gemelito.

By this time I was very upset. There was simply NO WAY we could take on three more kittens. Until this happened I thought my cat karma level was pretty good. I was trying to be a responsible cat owner, if an excessive one, with six house cats. Add to that Buster’s friends Cuate, Gemelo, Gris and Lorenzo who come in from the other side to eat and play.
To some, these may be a lot of words to update the cat life here, but what can I say? I love the cats. It broke my heart to see the 3 baby kittens staring up at me from a cage with those captivating innocent eyes. Watching MomCat pace around her kittens in a cage was equally upsetting. Last night we formulated a plan. We would capture MomCat , reunite her with the kittens overnight in the carrier, and they could all move out to “el terreno” (Pablo’s lot where we are building bodegas) in San Pedro Nohpat.
Kittens in a cage.

The capture was more difficult than any of the previous experiences of the week. We closed MomCat in the bedroom, where the plan was to envelop her in two bed sheets. Unfortunately, Buster, Busmo and Negro were also in the room. Buster freaked out. I managed to open the window so he could get out, and I shooed out the others. MomCat let out some blood curdling yowls, and although Pablo wasn’t hurting her, you’d have thought someone was being murdered. All the cats (and I think the neighbors!) were awestruck. Pablo finally won the battle. He got her safely caged with the three kitties. The four of them spent the night in the tiny cat carrier. This morning we took the stinky but quiet mess out to the property with some food. We left them to be the caretakers of EL TERRENO. I know it doesn’t sound like the perfect solution, but it is the best we could do. I cannot kill animals. Pablo’s terreno is outside of town. We are certain that there are field mice, lizards, humans needing pets, etc. The Yucatecans like animals and will feed them, but they are equally likely to tire of them and just leave them to go wild….which is how we ended up with an entire commando. All I wanted was to have Buster. And today I hope he is not afraid of us because of what he heard and saw last night. I hope the cats’ keen senses of smell tell them we did not hurt the intruders. I don’t need bad cat karma. But I cannot adopt all the orphaned cats in Mexico.
El terreno, new home of MomCat and her kittens.

1 comment:

Katja Tamburini, Switzerland said...

Hi Lin! Love your cat stories! :-) I could write a book about them too! 6 cats is definitely enough, we had that "experience" too this summer :-)
Btw., Brazil was cool! (we had a lot of rain tough, apart from that it was beautiful!) ah well, next time we just go to Merida?! :-)