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Cooped kitties emerge with Coo Heard 'Round the World

June 15, 2011

I belong to that school of people who respond to weird engine noises by turning up the radio. So when my office started making weird noises I cranked the iTunes.

This couldn’t be good.

It had been so long since Beth’s unsuccessful foray underneath the trailer in search of newborn kittens, I was starting to believe in my own magical thinking that the kittens did not exist, or had been eaten by snakes soon after their birth.

We had a stray momma cat now named Geena on our hands, no question, but (thump) I was still holding out a slim (thump, thump) hope that there was no nest of kittens tucked up in the insulation of the mobile home’s (thump, thud, thump, hiss) flooring.

As the unmistakable sound of rollicking grew louder in the superstructure under my desk chair, I could no longer pretend there wasn’t something alive under there. But maybe it was rats. I was hoping for rats.

Beth had been a believer all along, of course, to the point where she was urging me to invade the crawl space with power tools in order to extract the kittens.

“I’m worried about them being up in that insulation,” she said. “But I can’t see where they are with those joists in the way. You could get in there with your combobulating saw and ...”

“Reciprocating.”

“... Reciprocating saw and take out a few feet’s worth, and then maybe I could pull down the insulation and find them.”

“I think the trailer needs those joists to hold the floor up.”

“Oh, one or two won’t matter, and if they’re breathing that fiberglass that can’t be good for their little lungs.”

“I don’t think that ...”

“Well if you have another idea, I’m all ears.”

The vet had advised to try to lure them down with a bowl of kitten food. But Geena apparently isn’t big on reading labels, so she happily helped herself to a second supper.

I didn’t have a better idea myself, but neither did I believe an attack on the structural integrity of a valuable asset was worth it, in the name of comforting some furry vipers that probably didn’t want to be rescued in the first place.

We were still locked in negotiations that made debate over the nation’s debt ceiling seem like a school lunch cookie swap when the game permanently changed.

From a distance, I saw Beth pull back a piece of skirting from the office, and what commenced can only be described as the Coo Heard ’Round the World.

Beth was nose to nose with a miniature gray striped cat, which had been the source of the thumping I’d been hearing. Or a source of one fourth of it, as it turned out. In keeping with their fiberglass birthplace, we named the kittens Owens, Corning, Johns and Manville.

So Beth is currently going to great pains to civilize the brood. She believes that the key to taming any wild beast is food (hey, it worked with me), so the little monsters are being spoon fed, literally, in exchange for periodic nuzzles.

My own thinking is that if they remain wild, maybe they’ll go off and set up housekeeping under someone else’s outbuilding. (I am not the only one on the farm with that view; our tenured cat, Juliet, feels the same.) But it doesn’t look as if that is to be.

So if anyone needs a gray striped kitten, the bidding starts at zero, but does involve prying them out of Beth’s hands.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on www.antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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