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Stove Top Kitties

May 20, 2009

Kittens trapped in ventIt’s that time of year when we are reminded of the reason why Yavapai Indians referred to this as “The Valley of the Sun,” although I doubt they mentioned “but it’s a dry heat.” Entering summer, people become wary about when to use their ovens. Being the bachelor that I am, my over is the place where I store my toolbox but I have been known to use the stove. Nearing dinnertime, I thought I finally tracked down a rustling sound I had heard for the last couple of days. Assuming some brush had gotten in the exhaust fan, I was about to flip it on when my dog Nubble perked up and let out a soft bark – to which the exhaust responded with a faint “mew.” Uh-oh.

Unscrewing the faceplate and pulling the filter, exposing the fan blades, wiring, and motor, I saw peering between the metal blades a tiny face and three little pink paws. I immediately called my assistant, Judy. As she arrived, she heard me comforting the kitty with assurances that rescue was near. I was explaining to Judy how glad I was that I had not turned on the stove’s exhaust fan so that the kitty “still has all five paws.” The sight of five paws told me I was in trouble.

With a cardboard box in place and me wearing heavy gloves, I unscrewed the mounts to the fan and motor – warning her to keep the flaps up and the over-helpful dog down. Once all of the screws were free, I cupped the motor in my hand and there was a plop – plop into the bottom of the box. Voila! And then a tiny gray bottom dangled out of the eight-inch wide opening. Three stovetop kitties in my kitchen.

Once they were gathered, I did a cat-scan up and down the twelve-foot seamless vertical pipe and then mounted the roof to customize the vent covers over all exhausts to prevent more kitty abandonments. It appears the thoughtless neighbor’s partying momma cat birthed them under one of the air-conditioner units on our roof, thank you, and something spooked her, causing her to relocate them – and lose them – in the nearest hiding place. Lucky me.

Now I will get up on my soapbox as opposed to a little box, to state that it really angers me when people are so thoughtless that they allow their animals to basically get knocked-up at will. There is no excuse to behave like our neighbors to the direct south, which is the “home” of the mother cat, one in which the owners do not care if and how many kitties their cat leaves atop roofs or in this case, down what could have been a deadly shaft.

Two hundred critters with beating hearts and feelings abandoned daily at the Humane Society, who is forced to take many straight to euthanasia. It’s heartless of the people responsible for the flux of unwanted animals. Whether a feral or wild cat, I have learned more about caring for them without keeping them, and most certainly the actions to take to keep the situation from multiplying. Through some new two-legged friends I have learned a lot, and shared contact info here of a program sort of like fishing with a catch & release program. If you check out the web site, you will see that there is a financially feasible solution. www.SpayNeuterHotline.org or FeralCats@adlaz.org.

This brings me back to my adventure of last weekend. The kitties were about 4 weeks old, now going on 5 weeks. On the second day I moved my easy chair and replaced it with a huge cardboard box normally used to display watermelons. Thank you, Albertson’s. With the help of Nubble, I got the kitties cleaned and they now actually operate on their own with food, drink, and even using the small cat box. One is medium gray, and the other two are of varying blacks and whites. Don’t ask me what gender as every time I look, all I see is a hole. However, here is a great time to say that it appears the trio will get to remain together as Chuck Schrader and family decided these lil’ dudes or dudettes needed a loving home, together once they reach two months old. They are now used to being handled by humans and even cuddled by a dog. Meantime, I am still explaining to Nubble that it does NOT rain cats and dogs, while seeking homes for the almost exhausted kitties.

Pierre O’Rourke is a Media Host to Authors & Celebrities, an author himself, and currently operating a small cat-house in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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