I legitimately do not know if I even have the spoons to type this story up correctly, but here goes.
I work with a girl, K, who does a lot of work fostering dogs, specifically pitbulls. For the past few weeks, L, a technician at work, has been talking to her / bothering her / asking her / whatevering her about some kittens in his neighborhood. He says his neighbors just left and left the mamacat there :( She had her babies under the porch; there were initially 6, but a neighborhood dog killed 2 of them. So the mamacat saw Larry and showed up on his porch with her 4 kittens in tow. Larry also has dogs, big ones, so he cannot keep the cats.
I do not know what kind of miscommunication happened between K and L and I really don't have the energy to speculate at all. Suffice to say: L showed up to work today with two (filthy) cat carriers in the back of his truck, with mamacat and 4 babies inside, expecting K to take care of the problem. K thought he had been joking. She also has big dogs, and can't foster kittens; she could take the mama, but not until she knows the mama doesn't have FIV/FLeuk, because K also has two cats of her own.
I'm kind of just going to spell the rest of this out in bullet points because I am pretty much a waste of space right now.
- the day starts off fine; we all ooh and aww over the adorable bitty kitties
- K attempts to foist kittens off on basically everyone at work. She has to leave at 4 for a dentist appointment, and she can't take the kittens home with her because of her dogs.
- I eyeball the kittens at around 6 weeks old, maybe less, which worries me because they seem too young to separate from mama. But no one can take all 5 cats, so there doesn't seem to be a choice.
- We find a potential taker for one grey kitty. Another grey-and-white kitty falls in love with (a different) K, and (original) K tries really hard to talk her into adopting.
- As the day goes on, I start to get more and more worried, because K legit cannot take these cats anywhere; what happens at 4:00 when she goes home?
- K tries to talk to L about maybe taking the cats back; I didn't hear the whole conversation but I definitely heard L say, "If I take that cat home I'm just going to take her out back and shoot her in the head." Basically, he has done his part, not his problem anymore, he is wiping his hands of these cats.
- K calls some of the shelters she fosters dogs for. No one has any room for cats.
- I start calling around. Shelters are all full. No one is taking 'submissions', and definitely not 'healthy strays' or 'owner surrenders'. I start to get really, really disheartened about the whole thing.
- I call a vet and ask how long it takes to get results from an FIV/FLeuk test. She says 2-3 days.
- In talking it over with Jeff, he suggests I could - on the short term - keep the mamacat and the kittens for a few days, and keep *my* kittens at his place (they are there right now bc it's easier for me to have them there when I'm packing to move), until we make sure they are healthy. I am willing to do it, but slow to volunteer it. Basically, I'm afraid that once these kittens are out of sight, no one will care about them anymore and I will be stuck with 5 cats.
- K finds one woman who might take the mamacat, but will ONLY consider it once we know she is 'clean'.
- I finally find a vet who is willing to take a stray that afternoon for the FIV/FLeuk test. They are open until 5:00.
- It is 3:45. K leaves at 4. Vet closes at 5. We are shit out of time AND luck.
- To make the best of a bad situation, it is decided that I will take the mamacat and any remaining kittens to the vet. They will test her, and I'll give mamacat and her family the spare room in my townhouse.
- the first grey kitten will go home with B+J, who seem to want it. G (another friend) takes the grey-and-white kitten for K2, saying that if K2 isn't serious about the kitten, G can take it home for the night and bring it to me the next day. K2's cat is really tiny, it's the runt, so I'm not entirely happy about this, but I allow myself to be overruled because we're out of time, and G makes the point that if they don't take the cats today we may never talk them into taking them.
- K leaves. I am left with mamacat and two kittens. I load them into my car (in L's filthy, gross carriers) and we're off to the vet.
- Mamacat does not like the carrier. She does not like my car. Her cries get more and more frantic, and at 2 minutes from the vets she seriously digs her claws into my arm (thank god I had a coat on, I probably would have crashed otherwise). At some point she just freaks out and pees all over her carrier. :(
- I get mamacat to the vet. She's already freaked and now standing/sitting/lying in her own pee. I start to just lose it. The nurse and doctor attempt to take a blood sample and she flips more shit and rips the nurse's arm open. The entire little room smells like piss and terrified cat. She's hiding behind my legs. I immediately lose every last one of my spoons and am about to crumple on the floor in a little ball and just fade into nothing.
- Three nurses and four pairs of serious gloves later, they have obtained a blood sample from mamacat. Mamacat is done, back in her carrier and hating everything in the world. I'm almost crying. $90. At some point in this mess I brought the kittens inside so that they didn't turn into kittenroasts in my car and the doctor informs me they are more like ~4 weeks old. This is not nearly old enough to be away from mama and I start kicking myself for not insisting the kitties stay with her, especially the runt.
- I get to my house, get mama and her babies into the spare room. Mama hides under the bed, and I cover the floor with as many towels as I can. I am absolutely exhausted, drained of energy, completely spoonless. I sit there for a little bit and watch the kitties get baths and try to remember why I thought this was even a remotely legitimate option.
- I head to Target, where I buy a shallow pan for a litterbox and wheat litter, some food, some cheapy dishes, Febreze for my now-piss-scented car, and some cheap shower curtain liners in a last-ditch attempt to protect my carpet in as many places as I can.
Please note: I'm texting Becky, almost in tears, and this is where I realize that I am having a hypoglycemic crash, the first I have had in probably 6 months, because I was so preoccupied with these cats that I forgot my afternoon high-protein yogurt and granola snack which keeps me from crashing. This explains all the almost-tears and the near-breakdowns. Awesome.
- Head back home, set up litterbox and plastic liners and food. Mamacat won't come out from under the bed, but I set the dishes up so that she can eat without emerging to keep her strength up. The little ones come out to roll in the towels and stomp in the litterbox (who knows if they will use it~!). I am too tired to even enjoy it.
So now I'm back home. I'm dead tired. I'm out $140 for cats I can't even keep - not that I mind paying to take care of cats, but it's like, surprise. My blood sugar is all kinds of fucked up right now. I can barely keep my eyes open.
Tomorrow I'll be really happy and excited about this.
Like, I know I am a crazy cat lady, but legitimately, I don't want these cats, I can't take these cats right now. Three is more than enough for me. I would seriously only permanently take one and I would only take one if it was a choice between "You take this cat or we throw it into the woods", but until I get there, I really don't want more cats. I really honestly don't.
My plan, now - and it's still in motion, because who knows what I'll find if I come into work tomorrow and K has found a place for them or something - is to keep mamacat and the kittens for at least 2 more weeks, so that the babies can grow stronger. If I can get the two that have already found homes back, with a guarantee that they'll take them again, I will do so, and I'll foster all 4 babies. In 2 weeks, K will take the mamacat into her house and help her adopt out. Hopefully by then I'll have a place for all 4 babies. If not... I may try to keep them, or pass them off to Lu, who can foster them further. We'll just see when we get there.
(Edit) Oh, and Mama is FIV/FLeuk negative - she's clean! The one good piece of news of the day and I was so exhausted that it really didn't register at all. But it doesn't fix things, because then I have to choose: Get Mama into somebody else's house as soon as I can, and separate 4-week-old babies from Mom? Or keep them together to make healthy kitty babies, but have up to 5 cats in my house longer? Because nobody other than me can take Mama and babies, even in the short-term.
So that was my day.