Photo is of the first cats desexed and housed. Stormy is back rhs.
The sultry day moved on into evening. Darkness fell.
Another element crept in to the blackness, unnoticed. A storm had been building in the west and the first ominous rumble of thunder was sudden, loud and close.
'They have shelter.' 'they will be alright.'
Before we could respond further the storm hit with a ferocious bang.
Lightening lit up the darkness, thunder crashed and the rain came down with a roar, swept by the wind, into hammering relentless sheets of weaponry, great forces against the windows, doors and roof..
From outside squeals erupted from the kittens, high pitched screams easily heard over the sound of the lashing rain.
We tried to open the front door to get out to them but were driven back by the fury of the deluge sweeping into us, the door wrenched from our hands.
Outside the squealing continued,
Blindly facing the fury, we met it head on with our second desperate attempt, fighting all the way to get outside.
In the darkness, Socks huddled in the 'shelter'. Alone. Yoda, pure white,visible and small enough to fit through the wire was caught halfway on his way out of the enclosure. Even in those desperate moments, being pummeled with heavy rain, Socks wore what seemed to me to be an inscrutable expression of blame. 'You did this' 'Now look.'
The larger kittens were at the other end which puzzled me. They were fully exposed to the elements and looked half drowned, confused. . I pulled Yoda from the wire and then started collecting the others into a carrier. I counted only six.
I went back to Socks, opened another carrier in front of her and was amazed that she jumped in to it. Remember she was an untouchable cat.
We looked everywhere for the seventh kitten until we had to give up.
Once inside we took the kittens to the bathroom and bathed them quickly in warm water, dried them and put them in front of the heater in the carrier.
Back outside we went in a fruitless attempt to find the little grey one. We came back inside, disbelieving that we could have lost her.
I vividly recall sitting on the lounge and saying 'That poor little thing., that poor little thing.'
John stood up and said 'come on!' He grabbed the car keys and outside he turned the car headlights on to light up the driveway and encouraged we began to search once more. but there was nothing. Why did we never have a torch when we needed one? I looked into the shadows, near the enclosure, I put my hand under it somehow quelling my fear of spiders or other bitey things but could feel nothing.
I ran around the fence into next doors driveway to see if she had been washed under the fence. I came back around and noticed the solar garden light.. I pulled it out of the ground and ran up the driveway to the enclosure holding it like a giant torch and started to look around the ground when soon I noticed something moving. I saw a tiny form crawling out from underneath the pallet toward the light, soundless, silent, moving toward the light, the size of a mouse.
She's here! I found her! she's alive!!
Below, left to right, Giselle, Stormy, Felix, Janie, Yoda and Toya. in front. Stormy was adopted by an art teacher who I sadly lost contact with.
Thinking back to that time, it is easy to realize that certain decisions I made were wrong. Having the benefit of hindsight gives great clarity to the errors of what was, after all, a learning experience,
Having Socks and her now six kittens in a rabbit hutch was not kind but the best we could do. We were at work all day and when home, the older kittens were released for play. We could not release Socks, she still needed desexing and we would have had difficulty in trapping her again. Even so she did not appear greatly affected.
The catrun had at last been delivered and stood waiting for us to erect it.
In its original location this catrun was inspiring. The house was at Stanmore and there was an exit in the back of the house for the cats, who then had a walk tunnel around the corner attached to the wall, then upwards to the roof where the catnip cage was erected and overlooking the rooftops of neighbors and the trees of other backyards,
The erection of the run at our house was not that simple. Nothing seemed to fit. Every part of the extension was at odds with what we wanted it for. There was no roof on the main enclosure, therefor there was no shelter from the weather.
I managed to convince John that we should go and collect an old cupboard I had seen abandoned on the footpath at Newbridge Raod, Liverpool. I had been watching this cupboard for weeks as I walked to work from the station. So we drove to Liverpool to collect it. The day was very hot and humid. We were cranky and sweating profusely. The car was old and had no air conditioning making us weary at each problem that presented itself.
When we arrived the cupboard didn't fit in the car and a certain man got crankier. I was not going to give up. I really wanted that cupboard!! I was going to make it fit and I was going to convince John that it could. So what if I rode home in the passenger seat with two inches of space from my nose to the dashboard? it was my nose!
Worse was to come. When we arrived back home the cupboard wouldn't fit through the door of the catnip cage. Our son called in and watched the debacle not to mention the arguing! I looked at the wire roof and suggested it might be removable.
Thankfully it was, so the cupboard was lowered in via the top.
Feeling much happier, we arranged bedding, litter trays and water. Socks and her six kittens were brought out to their new spacious quarters and we felt a little smug at the progress.
The kittens were impressed, those of them who were running and jumping. Socks looked less convinced but at that stage had not realized that the shelves above her would enable her to separate herself from them.
After hours of struggling with so many complications we were fairly worn out. A Midsummer heatwave sapped our energy but we had overcome many obstacles.
Persistence was the key!! By late afternoon we were back inside and I stood in the now spacious lounge room where I proceeded to tempt fate and said those awful words. With a wave of my arm, like an actor in a Shakespearean play I said out loud....
"I don't care what happens now, I am just so pleased to have them out of the lounge room at last."
Fate cupped her ear to listen more closely.
What could I have been thinking?
Within hours they were back in there.
(to be continued)
Below, we later had another cat enclosure built (left) and used the extensions as a bridge across.