You’ve got to be kitten me


It’s Friday, so I thought I’d post something light and fun. Kittens happen to be both light and fun.

I do a fair bit of petsitting for people around Austin. In the past, I’ve mentioned the cats and fish that I sit for during the summer (and I found out last week there’s a new kitten amongst them!). I also petsit for the sweet dog below, Morgan, which is what I was up to a few weeks ago. The week before that I was housesitting for a dog, 2 cats, 6 chickens, and a pond full of fish. It was my first experience with chickens, so that was a new challenge. (The second day I learned from a friend that it’s easier to ‘pull’ them into the coop at night — lure them with food — than to chase them in. The fourth day I learned that if you wait until just before dark they go into the coop on their own.)

DSC05854 The awesome thing about pet sitting is that you get to pretend like you have pets and then give the pets back. For a few days at a time I get to pretend Morgan is my dog and soak in all the compliments people dish out when we go on walks. But then I get to go back to my own life in which I don’t have to be home to feed the dog at set times. This is good because I can’t even feed myself at set times.

But even better, for the past year I’ve had a similar arrangement happening at my house. Last fall, some kittens were born to a stray in our greenhouse. I’d been using the greenhouse to store my various gardening whatchamacallits when I heard some rustling in a back corner and discovered 3 tiny bundles of cute.

Unfortunately, it was only a few weeks before the kittens disappeared from their hiding spot. I worried that something terrible had become of them, but there was no evidence of a struggle so I figured they’d moved on.

Turns out they found a better place to stay.

One of my neighbors is the sweetest lady in the whole world. At 94, Betty makes the trip over to my house fairly frequently to size up my garden and see how things are going. After the kittens moved out of the greenhouse, they took up residence on the bank of the creek behind our house, between our yard and Betty’s.

Betty must have seen them playing in her yard one day and decided she had to do something to care for them, so she got some food and put out a bowl. The story goes that she wanted to give them to the city animal shelter so she tried to trap them, but they were too clever to get in her cage. So she relented to continuing to feed them because she couldn’t stand to let them go hungry.

kittens-in-the-backyard

Was that the best idea? Probably not. Was that a great idea? Uh, yes.

The kittens were born at our place and I like to think they still call it home. They seem to think that, too, because they can be seen frolicking in our yard regularly. Cuteness. Overload.

kitten-on-back-deck

You know how many hours people spend watching videos of cute animals on the internet every day? Well that’s been the scene outside our back door for a year. And the best part? We’ve never had to feed them, brush them, or clean their kitty litter. There isn’t a single cat hair inside our house.

Brilliant.

Of course these things are eventually too good to be true. This spring we kept hearing an unusual noise in the attic. The pest guy finally came to investigate and — you guessed it — kittens! He couldn’t reach them or trap them, so we had kittens in our attic who mysteriously got in and then out again some time later.

kittens-play-in-the-hammock

I know that our backyard has now become a certifiable cat factory. But kittens. frolicking. napping. We can’t let the city take them away!

DSC05852

Eventually one of us will make the call. Austin shelters are No Kill, so there’s no concern about taking them in. In fact, if we could catch them, the city would spay/neuter them and then we could release them back into our yard.

calico-kitten-on-back-deck

But then there would be a serious lack of kittens. I’m just not sure I’m mentally prepared for that yet.

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