Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Tale of Vent-Kitty

I should tell you that the final photo in this story depicts some ittybittykitty-gruesomeness. If you are a lover of rodents, I suggest you stop reading!

Now. Let us begin the tale of vent-kitty.

A stray cat showed up on our farm last winter, and not wanting this poor creature to die out in the frozen wasteland, we brought it inside and gave it a warm place to sleep for awhile. After the temperature warmed up, we put her back outside to become our first official barn cat.



One morning, Tad and I groggily woke up and wandered into the kitchen. We thought we had heard something scurrying underneath our floor, but we chalked it up to our freshly woken ears not working correctly.

As we wiped the sleep from our eyes, a white blur busted out of our floor vent and landed in the middle of the kitchen. I think I jumped 10 feet in the air.

You see, vent-kitty (who we still have not given an adequate name) did not really agree that she should be a barn cat. She managed to find a hole in our ventilation system under our house and decided to go on an adventure. And subsequently give us a heartattack at 7 in the morning.


Ever since then, vent-kitty has used our still un-mended ventilation hole for access into the house so it became a common thing for us to have a cat bursting out of our floors.


Figuring that this had to stop, mostly in order to prevent less fuzzy and adorable things from entering our house, Tad began trying to find the hole she used to enter and exit.

Of course only after we started trying to fix this problem, we noticed vent-kitty was very, very pregnant. We tried keeping her in the house, but she would only stay long enough to get a bite to eat and then slip down into our floors, no matter how much we tried to prevent her from prying up the vent cover. So the mending of the vents was postponed until she gave birth to her kitties, and we could make sure that she was not actually inside the vents when they were sealed off.

Not entirely understanding how short of a gestation time a cat has, we were surprised one day when vent-kitty popped up into our kitchen... very much no longer pregnant. We had no idea where she had chosen to have her litter, until I walked into our master bathroom and heard the pathetic little cries of baby kitties... coming from under our bathtub.

After an investigation, we deduced that she had found a hole under the house next to the piping for the tub, crawled up onto our subfloor area, and had her litter in the safest space she thought possible. We couldn't get to them, despite our many attempts, and so we dealt with hearing little kitty mews every time we went into our bathroom.

While Tad was away at work one day, and I was cleaning the bathroom, I heard the usual sound of something brushing against the metal of the vents. Thinking it was just vent-kitty, I paid no mind. Because, crazy as it may seem, a cat crawling out of our floor had become the norm around here.

Soon, however, I noticed that the sound was much lighter and more telling of something smaller rustling around. Cautiously I lifted up our vent cover and peered into it, fully expecting to have something attach itself to my face. It was then that I heard a tiny kitty mew, coming from the subfloor area around the vent. So I bent back the metal and saw some ittybitty kitty eyes staring at me.

Momma-vent-kitty looking at the area the kitties were plucked from
A few minutes later, I had fished one black and two white kitties out of our subfloor.


Tad came home, and I showed him my achievement for the day. As we were sitting there watching them crawl all over momma-vent-kitty, we heard more sounds from under the floor. Soon, two more black kitties were snatched out and added to the total.


Tad and I celebrated over conquering the kitty extraction, and we closed the doors to leave momma-vent-kitty and her little ones alone for awhile. A few hours later, as we were sitting on our couch, she popped out of the floor in our kitchen. Initially we thought nothing of it. But soon we realized that she had lifted the cover off of the vent opening in the bathroom, since the door to the bathroom had been closed.

We raced to the bathroom, but we were too late. All five of the kitties had descended into the depths of either the subfloor or the vents. It was then that my worst fears were realized.

We did not acquire 5 more barn cats. What we got was 5 more vent kitties. Popping out of our floors day and night, 12 months a year.

I stayed up pretty late that night, face to the floor, calling sweetly for the kitties to come to my voice. In retrospect, I definitely looked a little insane. Eventually I managed to snag the runt of the litter out of the subfloor area, but after an hour, he was the only one I found. I gave up and tried to get some sleep, but after only a few minutes I heard the rustling of momma-vent-kitty coming to the bathroom.

As she emerged, I thought about how I would explain that I lost all but one of her babies. How could I tell her that extracting them from the subfloor was the biggest mistake I had ever made, after she trusted us with her offspring? Before I could get out the confession, I heard a trail of tiny paws coming towards me. Looking down into the vents, a line of four little kitties appeared. I plucked each one out in succession. All five kitties were now happily crawling over momma.

The kitties were then put into our bathtub, which is large and has steep, slippery sides that they could not get out of. That way, when momma-vent-kitty decided she wanted to leave the bathroom, we would not have another incident of all her babes following her into the depths under our house. They were all a little distressed at first, and momma-vent-kitty kept trying to remedy the problem by attempting to take them out of the tub and back into the vents. Needless to say, this resulted in me spending an extra few hours intercepting momma-vent-kitty from trying to deposit them back inside of our floors.

Eventually they calmed down and became used to tub-life, and they have been living happily in the bathtub since the extraction. But last night as I walked in, I thought things had taken a turn for the worst. Little kitty growls were going on in the tub, something I had never heard before. As I peaked over the side, I saw blood smeared all over, and I quickly counted them to make sure they were all still alive while wondering what could have happened.

Sibling rivalry? Was there something sharp they could have cut themselves on? Did one of the dogs manage to sneak in and play too hard with them? Did something more vicious finally pop out of the vents only to find a tub full of little snacks?

Sometimes I get a little over-dramatic. Obviously.

As my mind raced, I noticed momma-vent-kitty laying calmly on the bathroom floor, which seemed odd. Some unpleasant sounds were coming from her litter, and she was not concerned! Turning back to the tub, I discovered the source of the blood:


Momma-vent-kitty had decided it was time to start weaning them. So she had gone out, hunted a mouse, brought it through our vents, popped out of the bathroom floor, and dropped the dead thing into our tub as a snack for them.

The kitties were totally vicious, but it was so fascinating! After getting a picture, Tad and I decided we did not want to clean up an eviserated mouse from the bathtub and took it away from them. Since they were obviously ready to eat something more substantial than mom's milk, we gave them all some kitty food which they happily devoured with their newfound appetite.

Soon, we will be moving them all out into the barn and sealing up the vents once and for all. I really, really do not want 6 cats coming out of our floors.

42 comments:

  1. Too funny! I would have been closing up that hole pretty quickly. I can imagine all kinds of unpleasant things crawling around and into my house.
    Glad the story has a happy ending. It sounds like you will have some great mousers there.
    Judy

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    1. I hope they all turn into good hunters. We have way too many mice around here.

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  2. Farm life can get pretty exciting, huh? Those kittens are adorable :-)

    We had an opening into our floor vents in the AZ house, and I used to lie awake at night listening to little scritchy-scratchy sounds. I kept imagining snakes or something similarly evil, but the only thing we know of that came through was a small lizard. Vent sealing soon took place so I could get some sleep.

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    1. I cannot wait for the vents to be closed up tight!

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  3. That was the best story I've heard in a long time. Vent Kitty. Great pictures...Gosh you had me laughing!

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    1. Hah, I am glad that you enjoyed it. :)

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  4. That is THE FUNNIEST story!! I'm definitely linking to this on my blog post tomorrow when I share my not-nearly-as-funny cat story, thanks for sharing and the laughs! :)

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    1. I think any kind of cat story has its' hilarious parts. Can't wait to read about your adventures!

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  5. Beautiful babies but i really hope you'll spay or neuter all of them, includig momma cat. or you'll have babies from them every 3 month.

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    1. Oh yes, after we find out if anyone we know is looking for a kitty, they will all be taken care of.

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  6. What patience(sp?)! They are all very cute and yes, please have all spayed/neutered ASAP.

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    1. They are so adorable. And yes, I think 6 barn cats is more than enough for our little farm. I don't think we need any more!

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  7. What a funny story! I laughed through the entire post! You better take Momma-Vent-Kitty to the vet and get her fixed or you will have 30 barn cats before you know it! Don't ask me how I know.

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    1. I am glad that you liked it, Robin! Everyone around here has a boat load of barn cats, but I think 6 is enough for us. :)

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  8. Bahahahaha. I want one so bad.

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    1. Take oneeee. I think you can cure your allergy by being exposed to a cat 24/7.

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  9. I had to read this out loud to my daughter and we had a very good laugh. I was so afraid it was to have a horrible ending with your caveat at the beginning. It reminded both of us of the time that our cat got sealed up inside the space between the upper and lower floors because she was too curious when workmen were replacing the tile on our shower. We discovered her when we heard her cries and had to take the vent cover off the vent in the ceiling of the kitchen and coax her to that spot so we could pull her out. Her sister cat would have nothing to do with her for days following this. Vent-kitty is a great name for yours!

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    1. The only horrible ending was for that mouse, luckily.

      I am so glad curiosity did not kill you cat! They can get themselves into some ridiculous situations, can't they?

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  10. Wow! I guess that is the way to fill a farm full of barn kitties! The kittens are adorable, of course!! Momma is too cute especially in the picture of her coming out of the vent. I am sure they will be happy on your farm.

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    1. When you can hear her coming through the vents, all 3 of our housecats and the dogs both gather around the opening and patiently wait for her to pop out. I may end up missing this part of daily life... but only just a little.

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  11. OMG that a funny story! I think it would totally freak me out having cats pop out of the floor. They're a cute bunch. I hope you get the vents sealed so you don't have a repeat of this. LOL!

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    1. The first time it happened, we were both so confused!

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  12. Thank you so much! I needed a good story tonight. And Congrats on all the baby vent kitties....I hope they adjust to barn life! :)

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed it. I, too, hope that they like barn life more than in-the-floor life.

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  13. I enjoyed your post. I have a cat that hunts at night. Our street has no mouse problems thanks to Buttercup. The only problem is she leaves them as gifts on my bathroom rug. That how they show you they love you. So be ready for mouse on your steps. Just be glad it's not your bathroom rug. HA HA

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    1. I hope that they decide to snack on the mice, rather than bring them to us as presents. We get enough dead animals showing up around here with our dog!

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  14. hahah. wait till they start chasing each other under the floor!

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    1. I can just hear the pit-pattering of tiny paws going back and forth across the house...

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  15. Cute story but I would have freaked out. Hope they adjust well to barn life and stay out of your house.

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  16. What a great post. Too funny about the vent. At least momma put the mouse in the tub! She could have put it on the bed. :)

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  17. Well, at least she's training them to be good mousers. OMG, make sure you get them fixed long before they are old enough to get knocked up! My dad had some strays that he kept as mousers... he never got them fixed and we were literally swimming in kittens every spring. Don't take any chances, those ladies can knock out up to 18 kittens a season!

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  18. Well, you probably won't have mice problems! That is some story. The kitties are sure cute!

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  19. Well, you probably won't have any mice problems. That is some cat story. The kitties are sure cute!!

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  20. Hahaha!!! What an enterprising cat!
    I hope they all become great mousers after all of that. :o)

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  21. I'm just a lurker - but that story brought me out of the woodwork. I would call myself a 'dog person' but I love this story about the barn cats and the kittens. And as someone who is definitely not a 'mouse person' I would be honored to have a few great barn cats like that!

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  22. Just wonderful - thank you for sharing!

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  23. Really enjoyed your kitty tales. I have a friend that has had about 30 cats at one time (all house cats) and she can tell some funny tales - but none as clever as yours. Cute pictures too.

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  24. I'm a new visitor to you blog, and I found this to be so funny. I can totally see this happening. Glad you handled it so well. I'd say name her Vennie (from vent kitty). Thanks for the laugh.

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  25. This is the most adorable thing I've read in a long time!

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