I've written before about the lovely and unique relationship demonstrated between two street cats - Ratty and LG - who I've known and fed, cared for and loved, for about 15 months.
They are litter-mates and are always together. Even when LG is seeing suitors, she makes time for Ratty.
We've had more rain lately and it has been unseasonably cold. This last week while Ratty has been ill, LG has been camping on the doorstep, waiting for him to come out (or better still) for her chance to come in. This morning she had her chance.
LG - Marius refers to her as 'Not the Mother of the Year' - is famous for neglecting her kittens; when she is with them she ignores them (I know how she feels) and she seems to spend most of her time hanging around our house. When we give her food, she is reluctant to share (normal) and resistant to feeding them (not normal). Her current litter has three surviving kittens, all desperately cute bundles of fuzz. They must be three or four months old and able to fend for themselves outof necessity, although I think LG was still feeding them in a haphazard fashion.
LG is in season again. At least she has been waving her bum under the nose of Black Tom in a fairly provocative way, so I presume if she isn't yet in season, she will be very soon. She is tiny, always looks underfed and quite simply, another pregnancy would not do her any good. At last count we had about 15 strays on the compound. We do not need more kittens, please. So, I arranged with a friend to help me catch LG and today we took her to the vet to have her spaying operation.
I put one of Ratty's old bed pads (unsoiled of course, but deliciously Ratty-scented) in one of our cat carriers. We let LG come in to the house with us where my friend R scooped her up and plunged her, struggling, into the waiting carrier. She screamed and swore and threw herself around in the confined space. Then Ratty strolled up and sat next to her and spoke softly in cat-ese to her and she calmed down immediately.
R and I had a cup of tea and a quick piece of toast - it was 7 am - and then we took LG out to the car and drove the 40 minutes to the Vet. She meowed once, softly, on the way. Perhaps the Ratty scent made her feel more secure? She is in the animal hospital now, coming out of her anaesthetic and we will trek over to pick her up in an hour or so. My friend R has agreed to let LG stay with her in a spare room, for a day or two while her incision heals, and then she will be out on the street or my doorstep, once more.
As for Ratty, he is convalescing. He can walk and run, wash himself, eat and do all the cat things except leap up onto a chair, and his purr has also returned. He is curled up at my feet as I'm writing this. We hope he will not have another neurological meltdown. We hope the HDU is closed permanently, but we can't say, and neither can the Vet, whether he will have a further episode.
In January, another neighbour will help R take some more of the kittens to the government veterinary hospital where they have a free program of trap-neuter-return. I was concerned if we waited until January LG would have become pregnant, and as that would make the spaying operation much more complex, I am afraid the government would simply euthanise her, rather than spay her. Hence her trip today (for a fee!). We don't know where the government vet is and we are relying on this other lady to direct us there, but she doesn't want to transport cats etc, until after she returns from her holidays.
At least something is being done to help the strays. Lots of people (well, half a dozen) are keen to feed the cute little kitties, which is lovely, but I believe there is a further responsibility to get them sterile if you want to feed them - helping them tomorrow as well as today.
Marius is not impressed with me. He says 'You can't save the world' and 'Where is this going to stop?', both reasonable reactions I suppose. When I sent him a message this morning telling him how smooth the catching and transporting adventure had been, he was very pleased. See, he tries to be gruff and uncaring and sensible, but he is as much of a softie as I am.