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Saturday, September 10, 2016

The "Strays No Longer Gather Here" Story

I bought this small sign for my wife last Christmas.  She loved it!
It was an ordinary day.  Smiling from ear to ear!  Finally, after two years I managed to catch the final stray cat that has been visiting our rear deck for years.  We named her "Larry" after the cat on the Modern Family TV show since she looked much like that cat.  Larry was the most precious little ball of fur you could ever imagine, but she was sly.  
Two years ago I caught her in a large trap and while transferring her to our cat carrier, she somehow outwitted me and escaped.  At the time we had no idea as to the sex of the cat, but after seeing a few other visitors taking advantage of her, we knew.  Over the 20 years we have lived at our Beach House we have caught close to 20 cats and kittens and have taken them to the local SPCA.  Along the way we have also caught a couple of skunks and possums, but never caught a groundhog or raccoon.  The skunks and possums I took into the country and released them into the wild.  We have caught our menagerie of animals in a trap, animal carrier and even a litter of kittens in a butterfly net.  In the spring Larry had what we believe to be a couple of kittens.  
Larry's kitten
One survived and the other one or two must have remained under our front porch, since the odor in the house was absolutely terrible for a month or so.  We had no idea where the smell came from, but we surmised, when we saw the one kitten for the first time, and realizing that Larry was much, much larger than that one kitten, that one or more kittens must have died at birth.  Smell went away, but Larry and her kitten remained.  
Carol enjoyed playing with the kitten.
Last week we managed to coax the kitten into the carrier with food and he/she went right in and I closed the door.  Larry more than likely never forgot her narrow escape two years ago and just wouldn't enter the carrier.  We then began to systematically place the food dish in front of the carrier one day, directly inside the next day, a little further in the next day, and Viola!  Carol was still in bed when I slammed the door shut and ended the era of strays on the back deck.  We took Larry to Carol's friend, Debbie, who loves animals and wants to keep her until she has her next batch of kittens, since you see, she is very large once again with kittens.  
Larry did keep a watch over her kitten.
We have finally agreed that the food and water dishes that have been out for almost 20 years will no longer be on the porch.  Creamsicle, our stray turned indoor cat, will defenitely not miss any of the visitors.  He now can rest under a nearby bush with both eyes closed.  And, I think he can tell that there have been no visitors for the past few days.  He no longer takes a few minutes to smell all the flower pots and porch posts to see who may have walked on "his" porch.  We will miss the parade of nightly guests, but will no longer miss having to catch them and pay the fee at the shelter.  We only hope that other animals in the neighborhood, if there are any that remain, will not starve without the food we provided for years.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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