Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bad Cats! Bad, Bad Kitty Cats!

We adopted Steve (named after Steve Carell, who is the voice of Hammy the Squirrel in Over the Hedge), the squirrel that Bailey dragged in. Believe it or not, Steve has been thriving for the past two weeks, mostly under Kat's loving and dedicated care (feedings every three hours!), but also with Kat's friend Joe who squirrel-sat while we were in Oregon.

Steve, who was finally growing some fur but had not yet opened his eyes, had learned to recognize the (foul!) smell of the puppy formula-filled eye-dropper and would enthusiastically pull it into his mouth, draining it and squeaking for more.

We might have kept Steve, if he'd been our only wildlife rescue. But things have been busy around here.

Yesterday, Boo brought us an adorable baby bunny. Unfortunately, Boo had injured the rabbit's leg, but otherwise he seemed fine. Kat lovingly warmed and cared for the bunny who, by evening, had the run (hop?) of her room. Becoming emotionally attached to a baby squirrel that looks like a naked rodent is a stretch, but becoming emotionally attached to an adorable baby bunny was easy. Too easy!

When Kat brought the bunny upstairs this morning, it was on its side and breathing with difficulty. It had obviously taken a turn for the worse overnight and it was heart-wrenching to watch it struggle.

I immediately called PAWS Wildlife Rescue Center and told them our story. After scolding me for allowing our cats outdoors, they suggested that we immediately bring both animals to them -- which we did. We relinquished both Steve and the bunny (we didn't dare name him, since it was already an effort not to become attached) to the PAWS workers, who immediately jumped in to try to save the struggling bunny. (Steve, while skinny, is just fine!) We asked to be notified of the animals' conditions, so as soon as I know how things turn out, I'll post.

As for our naughty cats, we bought each of them a bell collar and a catnip-filled toy mouse, hoping to deter (or at least re-direct) some of their hunting instincts. They think we're crazy and are obviously annoyed by the collar and bored stiff by the mouse that moves and smells all wrong.

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Anonymous said...

I don't know if you realize this, but after the cats get used to the collars, they somehow manage to move without the bell making a noise. We use a collar, with a bell and their various tags (license, rabbies, and ID). That combination can't be kept quiet has worked for us so far. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Well I won't add any more to PAWS' scolding than I already did outside Safeway :) but good job Kat, keeping the squirrel alive!

This has got to be getting expensive for you! We felt obligated to donate $35 to PAWS when we brought them an injured squirrel we found in the driveway last spring (and we have no idea how it got injured.)

Good idea about the belled collar (with juanita's addition.) If the cats are going to keep hunting outside, at least the baby critters will have a tiny bit of a chance (OK, I guess that could be considered another scold. LOL)


Anonymous said...

They're right about the bell...it's like an extra challenge.

Somebody reported our cats to animal control (and this was *after* our mighty hunter disappered) so now we have um...5 indoor cats.

We asked our neighbors if they had called. They said they hadn't but they were really glad that the cats wouldn't be using their yards as a litter box. Oops..hadn't even thought about that!

Betsy said...

They scolded you for letting your cats outdoors???!!! Isn't that what a cat's life is all about?!

Cats are hunters and part of the ecosystem. Although I do feel sorry for the individual bunnies, mice and moles that my cat kills and brings home I thought that this is part of nature and it's way of ensuring that a species stays strong and survives.

We kept our two cats indoors for several years because we were afraid they might get run over on a busy road near our house. But they were miserable and, in turn made us miserable by destroying furniture, carpets, wallpaper, etc.

Once we finally relinquished and let them outdoors they blossomed. They calmed down and really seemed to enjoy their life and the freedom to bask in the sunshine and cat around in the garden.

Of course I hope your bunny and squirrel recover and end up leading long and happy lives. But I also hope that you find a way to let your cats out (while minimizing the damage to the local wildlife) and let them enjoy theirs... :-)

Anonymous said...

Susan, that's one thing I can really understand about people not liking cats. If I had little kids, I wouldn't want them to come across cat crap in my yard either. Luckily, while our cats are inside/outside cats, they use the litter box exclusively. Wouldn't do for them to get mud on their little paws, would it.

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