Feline VRBO closed for the season, indefinitely
Last updated 10/17/2019 at 12:01am | View PDF
This spring a litter of kittens sought shelter in a window well on the south side of our house. Once our dog Lizzy discovered them, they decided to seek other accommodations.
The kittens that took up residence at our house last week, however, were much more resolute.
Ainsley and I first spotted them when Lizzy was raising a ruckus at one of our living room windows. A cute little black kitten sat outside, staring at Lizzy with a “You can’t get me!” look on its face.
We went out to investigate.
“Eeew! There’s something dead!” Ainsley cried out, and promptly ran away.
I reluctantly stepped forward for a closer look and discovered a partially eaten squirrel. I returned a little later, armed with a shovel and a heavy duty garbage bag, and discovered three more carcasses. Before we were done, I had six dead squirrels in my garbage — some missing only their heads, others consumed all the way to the tail. At one point, I had just made another deposit in the garbage can when I saw the mama cat trotting across my front lawn, a fresh catch in her mouth.
“Aargh!” I exclaimed.
I was disposing of so many bodies, I was starting to feel like a mafia hit man.
I complained to a neighbor about my predicament. She suggested using fox urine.
“We might have fox urine in the basement,” I told her, doing a mental inventory of all the weird stuff my husband keeps in his hunting closet.
From the convention he was attending in Orlando for work, he told me any fox urine I might find probably was too old to use (What? Fox urine expires?). He suggested I go to Menards and buy some more.
Fortunately, I called the hardware store and learned of a product made from hot peppers called Critter Ridder that promised to irritate animals (including cats!) when they smelled, tasted or touched it, the label said.
It sounded much more appealing than fox urine. I bought a canister and sprinkled it liberally along the side of the house.
How did the kittens respond? They moved to the front of the house, selecting the space under a boxwood bush for their new hangout. Mama cat adapted, too, dropping the kittens’ next meal right in front of the house.
By the time Ainsley and I finished dinner that night, I had developed a new strategy. We would lure the kittens out with cat food, put them in a box and bring them to the Hinsdale Humane Society. Get rid of the kittens, get rid of the mama.
Unfortunately the kittens, who had filled up on squirrel, were not enticed by our cat food trap. And I had to leave to cover a village board meeting. We were forced to abandon our plan.
As I returned home after the meeting, I saw the four black kittens sitting on my front stoop. They could have been posing for a photo shoot for a cat-lovers calendar. I’ll admit they were cute, but I was tired and frustrated and didn’t want to have to pick up any more dead squirrels. I went to bed exhausted.
Then, the next morning, miraculously, they were gone.
Their disappearance did not immediately put us at ease. Even now Lizzy remains on alert, periodically running to the window to search for her furry foes. I conducted several perimeter searches myself to make sure they had not returned.
I think we have fully recovered. But I’ve got one can of cat food left, just in case.
— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected]