Friday, September 23, 2011

A Rochester Update: Harry/Harriet Edition

 Posts have been few and far between for the past few days, and here is the reason! Moody and I have been busy saving the world. Actually, just one abandoned kitten. But stuff like this means the world to me, so there ya go.

Days ago we started hearing these pitiful meows coming from the parking lot and garage area out behind our building. Since I never ever miss an opportunity to run outside and cuddle other people's cats, I, of course, ran outside to go discover the cat and cuddle it. But there was no cat, so back inside I went.

This went on for days, and the weather was getting chillier. But no sign of a cat, until finally I spotted her, a teeeeeeny black kitten with green eyes, all holed up in our garage and clearly lacking a mama. The trouble was that since the munchkin had been born in the wild and, I assume, was abandoned, she was not at all used to people and was absolutely terrified of us. I started leaving food and water out for her, but we just couldn't get near enough to catch her, so off to Lowe's we went.

Sixty dollars poorer and the proud new owners of a "Havahart" trap, we headed home determined to capture the munchkin before dark. If you don't already know, Havahart traps are the best. Yes, they're expensive, but they help you catch strays without hurting them so you can find them good homes and eliminate world-suck. You can't put a price on that.

Moody and I aren't particularly adept at following instructions or putting contraption-y things together, but we managed to get the thing up and operational without taking any fingers off, and baited it with a stinky can of tuna. Less than an hour later, we heard it snap shut, and went outside to retrieve our bounty. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't easy. We had one very rough night where she wouldn't come out of the trap, and basically made us feel terrible by looking up at us with the saddest pleading eyes I've ever seen. There also may have been some poorly-aimed kitten accidents. But she was safe from the cold and from Jeb (if you don't recall, the feisty raccoon who sometimes visits the yard and who could have easily finished this little dolly off), and we were very, very relieved about that.

Within a day, the kitten, who we were calling Harriet, was cuddling in my lap and eating like a champ. We were getting very, very attached, but knew we wouldn't be allowed to keep her, so we started looking for a nice family to give Harriet a home. Luckily, I have an amazing network of extremely kind graduate students at my disposal, and we managed to find her a wonderful elementary school principal, and his wife, who have since taken Harriet. And, surprise! She's a he. After a trip to the vet, Harriet must now be Harry in our memories. More seriously though, the vet told Harry's new owners that Harry had some nasty (but treatable!) parasites in his tummy, and that if we hadn't taken him in, he wouldn't have made it more than a few weeks. His new owners are naming him Butter Roll, which I really don't understand, but as long as they're loving him, that's good enough for me. I'm going to keep thinking of him as Harry.

So here's a lesson for you, thoroughly ingrained in me by my very good mum, and one you should have too. Never, ever look away from a stray animal. A lot of people suck, and if you don't do something to help, it's likely that nobody will. Even if you don't like cats, or dogs, or whatever beastie it happens to be, do the right thing. Moody, for example, isn't the biggest cat fan, but he does happen to be a really good person, and was completely on board with helping this little dude out. If nothing else, do it for the good karma.

In summary:  Havahart traps are wonderful, and worth the money. People name their animals very strange things, but it's alright. I love cats, but am really terrible at reading their gender.

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