Saturday, August 26, 2006

Kittens Galore

The Mama of Dulce, Oreo, Coco, and Nieve was pregnant and had more kittens. At the time they were born I still didn't have many contacts here in Puerto Rico, and I didn't really know how to catch feral cats. I thought the best I could do was to watch out for Mama's kittens and when they were of age I would try to catch them. I had no idea where she'd had them. I tried to watch where she'd come from when I brought food, but I never saw them. Diaz Martin came home one day and said he'd seen them. And then finally I did.

I saw that they were on the abandoned lot, born in a large cement planter where there was an overgrowth of a palm or fan type tree, so they were fairly protected on the property, as much as they could be - or so I thought they were protected. Diaz Martin and I had walked the property before looking for them, but they were well hidden. Finally I brought in some food and sat on some steps and watched as they all creeped out of the protective tree and gobbled down the first dry food they'd ever had - all 6 of them. I resolved to go back the next day to catch them all.

Unfortunately later that day as I went to feed the older cats I saw that one kitten was lying dead on the sidewalk with puncture wounds in its neck. I think I figured it must have wandered out and gotten attacked by a roaming dog. I wasn't worried about the other kittens because no dog could really fit through the gate that closed off the lot. The next morning I went to the lot to feed the kittens in the same spot. I sat on the steps and waited, sure they were about to come out any minute, but none ever came. I waited at least 15 minutes and finally got up to leave. When I started collecting my things I noticed a couple dead kittens. And when I walked around the back of the property, I noticed the rest of the kittens. All (but one, it turned out) were killed systematically by a dog.

I was sure that there must have been a person behind the dog, that someone had to have let that dog on the property. The bars were too small for any dog to fit through. I talked to a couple people and sunk into a nice depression for two weeks, wondering if I had somehow unknowingly encouraged the end of their days. One perceptive thing I did say to myself was that I might not know what happened to those kittens, but I was pretty sure what happened to them would be revealed in time. And I was right. While walking with friends to the beach one day I noticed this skinny dog enter through the bars on the abandoned lot and chase my stray cats. It was at that moment that I knew what happened to those kittens. And even though there was no person letting the dog onto that property, the owner of that dog lets the dog roam free in the neighborhood, and it has come to pass that the same dog has attacked my cat Midnight (nearly killing her - I managed to get her away from him), and he also killed a neighbor's cat.

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