Escape Artist

LeAnn posted this blog on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 at 10:39 am

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. Friday morning, as I was rushing around trying to get ready to get out of the house, I was in the kitchen making a peanut and jelly sandwich for myself. I was set up to be a vendor at a craft fair at a historic theater about 15 miles away, the Mabel Tainter, and I needed to get myself moving.

As I worked in the kitchen, I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

I looked down.

It was a kitten. One of the little toms from the litter of six that the barn cat stopped feeding at three weeks of age in November.

“How did you get out here?” I inquired.

There are four brown (or brownish gray) tabbies and two black tabbies. This was one of the little brown tabbies.

“Meow,” he said, looking up at me.

I got some formula ready for the kittens, figuring if he was coming to look for me, he must be hungry. I give the kittens formula a couple of times a day, and the rest of the time, they eat canned food or dry kitten chow or a mixture of softened kitten chow mixed with canned food. They still like formula from the “bottle” (a 35cc syringe). Kittens will nurse their mothers for a long, long time, even after they are eating solid food, and I want these little guys to have formula for as long as they want it. They will give it up sooner or later, but for now, they are enjoying it.

Often after they have had some formula, all six will fall asleep in my lap,  purring and draping themselves over my arm or snuggling up close to me.

I took the little guy into the living room with me. We have put plywood across the living room doorway to keep them in the living room. They are still at the age where they don’t know that they can get stepped on and can get hurt, and we would like to keep them where they are out from underfoot until they are somewhat bigger.

I sat down on the floor, and all the kittens came to me. But in just a minute, the little guy jumped off my lap and disappeared around the corner of the couch.

I turned my head to see where he was going.

He went up and over the picture that we put beside the piano, glass side out, to keep them from escaping that way.

He jumped to floor, ran along behind the piano and — presto — he was free!

I finished giving formula to his brothers and sisters and went to look for the escape artist.

I put him back in the living room but soon he was out again.

I went downstairs to find something to block off his escape route. I figured one of the empty  plastic horse feed bags might work because it makes a crinkly sound and he can’t dig his claws into it.

I put the feed bag by the piano (it’s the *latest* in decor, don’t you know, to have a feed bag in your living room ) and duct taped it to the piano.

The little tom was puzzled by the feed bag and couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t just go up and over the way he did before.

“Hah!” I said. “I’ve got you now.”

I should have known.

By the time I had climbed over the plywood to exit the living room, he had figured out how to get around it and was running behind the piano to meet me.

I gave up then. For the rest of the morning until I was ready to leave, the little tom ran around the house, playing with the older cats and generally just having the best time. He looked so proud of himself, too. Eventually he got tired and came in the bathroom where I was getting ready and curled up with my very old calico, Billie.

Billie turned 16 this fall. She spends much of her time sleeping in front of the heat vent in the bathroom. I bring her canned kitty food a couple of times a day so she doesn’t have to leave the warmth of the heat vent.

Billie has always been a grumpy sort of cat and not particularly friendly with the others. The little tom snuggled up to her, but I could hear Billie growling, and then she finally reached down and bit the kitten’s ear.

She must not have bit down hard, though, because the kitten never moved. He was already sound asleep.

Billie became resigned to the situation and took a nap as well.

I let the kitten sleep there for a while, until I was ready to leave and ready to give them some kitten chow mixed with canned food. Then I had to wake him up and move him, but he was hungry by then and ready for more to eat.

If we’ve had one escape artist, others are sure to follow. Now, just as long as we can keep track of all of them and no one gets lost and no one gets stepped on, things will be fine. . .

LeAnn R. Ralph

Here are some pictures of the youngsters. . .

Lunch time (four weeks old) in the middle of the plate. (Fall 2010)

"Pretty little girl" on the books at 5 weeks old. (Fall 2010)

After my six babies have some formula, they like to sleep in my lap for a while (Fall 2010).

Kittens at four weeks old liked to help Randy with the computer when he sat with them.

All those little striped faces sound asleep in the rocking chair make me smile.

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