Catnapped

May 15, 2014: When our Australian yachtie friends Greg and Janise (off WIND CHIMES) returned to their boat in Subic Bay in late January after a trip home at Christmas, they found that a young mama cat and her three new babies had made a home on board. This is a wee tale of one of those wee kitties.

Judy (and Paul, off MERIDIAN) began feeding the bedraggled assortment of cats and kittens living around the Watercraft boat yard and docks. There was Mama Cat, One-Eyed Cat, Mean Cat and a host of others. It was then she noticed that Wee Kitty had three legs, only. The left front leg was missing at the shoulder.

Fast forward to May, and animal lover Judy was trying to find a home for Wee Kitty before MERIDIAN and WIND CHIMES set sail for the next leg of their cruising adventure…Taiwan and Japan.

Not sure if Wee Kitty was a boy or a girl, and worried about how it would manage if it was a girl and got pregnant, Judy decided she needed to take action. I was merely her willing accomplice.

On the day of the planned catnapping, I arrived at MERIDIAN with Nukaat’s travel cage in tow. Judy cooked up a huge batch of her tasty (but somewhat smelly) cat food. A can of sardines, some leftovers from lunch, some bread and a couple of eggs to help hold it all together. After it had cooled down a bit, and Judy had donned a long-sleeved shirt and some gloves, we hauled everything up to the cat grounds.

There were cats running at us from everywhere, knowing that food was on its way. All but Wee Kitty. As Judy was off searching, I found myself surrounded by more than a dozen felines, all eying the big pot of dinner. Suddenly emboldened by the smell, some of the younger ones were ready to dive right in, so I ended up putting the pot in the cat cage until Wee Kitty showed up. There was a cat on each side of the cage and one on top, others huddled nearby and still more waiting at a safe distance. But no Wee Kitty.

Disappointed, Judy gave the others some food and we went back to the boat for a respite from the heat, vowing to try again in another hour. When Paul returned shortly thereafter from running errands, he announced that Wee Kitty was back. So we repeated the process and hauled everything back up.

Judy calmly fed Wee Kitty and the others, meanwhile positioning herself behind Wee Kitty. With a few reassuring pats the only human contact Wee Kitty would allow while focused on food, it was one unhappy kitty when Judy snatched it up and quickly wrapped it in a towel and dropped the bundle in the cage. There was plenty of hissing and me-yowling going on.

Trapped in the cage, Wee Kitty looked smaller than ever tucked into the far corner. (Nukaat, on the other hand, fills the space. It’s hard to believe he was once a skinny, homeless boy.) Likely only just a little more than four months old, it was a pretty big shock for such a small kitten.

We bundled Wee Kitty and ourselves into a taxi for the ride out to Wildlife in Need. It was a noisy trip, with lots of outbursts from Wee Kitty. Once there, the vet proclaimed, “It’s a girl.” We were very relieved to relinquish her into their care. It’s a hard enough life being a homeless Filipino cat. Harder still if you’re a girl with just three legs.

Last week I called Wildlife in Need for an update. Wee Kitty was spayed with no complications. While she still hisses and bites at any human that dares to come near, they are working with her regularly to get her socialized. Hopefully they’ll be able to find a good home for her too.

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