I wasn't going to write about this publicly, in case it doesn't go according to plan when I have the chance to open Schrödinger's can of worms in a couple of weeks. But making bold promises online can be useful motivation. No one ever goes back on those.
One of the stray cats that hangs around our houses and rips up our bin bags recently had a kitten (about three weeks ago, if this infographic is anything to go by), and chose our walled garden as the safest haven to bring him/her up out of reach of the stray dogs, even if she feels a bit wary about us. Correctly, as it turns out.
This is great timing in a way, because we were thinking about getting a kitten when we come back after a trip in January anyway, and this is the perfect opportunity to give a stray a subjectively better life than eating leftover rice, fish bones and tea bags. So thanks for that, God / Bastet / punctually horny tomcat.
It's also very bad timing, because as I just indicated, we've gone away for a couple of weeks on a trip we booked before we knew about any of this. And left behind a nursing mother who I've suddenly become interested in feeding (only for the sake of her son/daughter) after ten months of all but neglecting her and all her amorphous kin.
Jackie's mum promised to give [unnamed]'s mum priority on nutritious leftovers until we get back from escaping the exaggerated Christmas/New Year din, by which time my trusted infographic tells me the little one will be ready to start eating kitten food itself and I can start my targeted program of domestic conditioning and literal grooming before it becomes irretrievably lost to wild ways.
I guess I'll have to adopt the mum too, since the kitten still won't be old enough for independence and it would basically be mean if I didn't. Though I'm not looking forward to the trip to vet by the time she stops nursing to get the snip and all the other loads of things she'll inevitably need. I'll even look into the practicalities of instigating a massive Trap-Neuter-Return program for the entire feral community, since it's clear no one who's lived around here for longer than us has ever bothered to be responsible. These New Year's resolutions are just falling into my lap. Someone else can do the dogs.
If there's no follow up to this post, it means my little friend's gone off the radar and become a child of the wild, so let's all try to forget we saw this. I've rewritten history before. I'll still work out some kind of rehab plan for the feline community, just as soon as I've got over the rejection. Right now, I have to concentrate on enjoying the break and not thinking about that kitten sitting on my lawn back home every day for the next two weeks. Writing this blog post on day one is a good start.