When we brought our house, the real-estate agent assured us she’d have the place commercially cleaned, vacated and cleared of all rubbish.
She did a remarkable job, as she knew we were after that rustic, romantic character villa look, and wouldn’t want a completely sterile property. The rat droppings in the kitchen, flea infestation, and rainbow coloured mould was a nice touch. And then there were the countless preloved items ranging from underwear, a ceased bicycle, 70’s porn video, and ornamental boxes and papers scattered throughout the house and section.
And I guess when our contract said we would take over the premises vacant; the local cat colony was exempt.
When we moved in we discovered about half a dozen stray cats had taken up residence in the basement.
One by one, with the help of some traps, repellent, and the odd macgyverism, we ‘dealt’ with them.
The saddest story though, was that of a young feline family we found living in the basement ceiling.
After on going scratching sounds in the ceiling, which we initially put down to rats, Brian macgyvered a camera and microphone onto the end of a pole, and began investigating. Some 15 minutes and a big pile of extracted pink batts later, this is what he snapped:
Thinking the little moggy must have been abandoned by the last tenants, we left out some milk, as he was too far back to coax out.
The next morning the milk was gone and instead we found this:
It turned out that mommy cat (aka Ceiling Cat), was starved, and ravenously devoured all food we offered her. However, she was not tame and it was apparent we’d need a trap to catch her.
By the next day her two little ones seemed to have gotten used to us, and curiosity begetting the better of them, prompted one to fall out of the ceiling (unharmed), and the other eventually ventured close enough to nab.
Here they are, still slightly traumatized after seeing light for the first time, and not wallowing in pink batts:
Fortunately, kitties were quickly re-homed together and adapted well to human contact. They’ve proven to be lovely playful critters. Here they are in their new country environment out in Kumeu after just a couple of weeks.
As for mommy cat, we called in the professional cat-trappers, who tried for a week to rehabilitate her, but sadly she was too terrified and could not be ‘saved’. We have since learned that almost certainly she belonged to the last tenants who had been living upstairs. They hadn’t bothered to de-sex her, and then when told they needed to move out, promptly did so, leaving Ceiling Cat behind. It probably worked out quite conveniently for them as that way they didn’t even need to deal with her two little ones. Oh well, at least they didn’t have any children (yet). (Although when our drain pipe blocked shortly after moving in, I was convinced the drain layer would find a baby that had been flushed down the toilet by the same people. Hey, it’s happened before – although as far as we know not in our house.)
Alas our cat problem didn’t end there, and our squatters continued having sleep-overs. A couple of weeks later we caught this thing – a very wild, smelly, unwell Tom, which we deduced must have been Ceiling Cat’s partner in crime.
The rest of them eventually moved on, and thereafter we only succeeded in trapping the neighbour’s cat (which we decided was not good practice for establishing friendly neighbourly relations). However, we still occasionally see them living a miserable existence in Eden Terrace (the cats that is, not the neighbours).
Moral of the story: Please, please neuter your pets. If you have a pet, and for whatever reason can no longer keep it, please don’t abandon it. You’re its caretaker, you need to take responsibility for it. I appreciate circumstances change, and you may no longer be able to keep your cat/dog/whatever. But please try and re-home it, and if your family/friends are unable to take it in, then at least bring it to the SPCA, they will take it for free.
Leaving a barely adult (pregnant) cat with a number of kittens behind, abandoned, with no food/water is in-despicable, and I hate to imagine how you treat your friends, family and co-workers (that is, if you’re even responsible enough to have a job).