Soooo, most of the new windows are installed, meaning that the second floor is now completely secure. And the Pella guys are replacing the old first floor windows as they take them out so there's no easy ingress and egress...Sooo HOW do we have another episode of Wild Kingdom? Well, there's been this darling little tiger-striped cat who's been in and out of the house as the various contractors come and go. She arrived at approximately the same time as the new neighbors in the duplex (along with their kitty tree on the back porch) and she's extremely friendly so we believe she belongs(ed) to someone. She only looks about a year or two old and after holding her several times I speculated she'd had kittens, maybe even recently.
Today Eric and I dropped by the house in the morning to check on the progress of the contractors. I had been looking at the new windows while Eric talked to our HVAC guy, Rick. As I came around a corner Eric says, "Rick, would you repeat to Mary what you just said to me?" Rick says, "Sure. That cat that keeps running around here is living in your crawl space with her kittens!" Huh?
Rick had torn off a piece of plywood in the first room in the basement to run an HVAC pipe through the crawl space and up to the living room. Lo and behold, there was mama cat and three kittens cozily lounging in the dirt and debris. To be fair, we'd had "signs." Eric would put a box over the open register hole in the living room (over the crawl space) and it would be mysteriously moved. And one of the contractors said he'd seen her come out of the hole, but we all assumed she'd just been poking around in the empty house. And then yesterday there were kitty pawprints on the new metal roof over the back porch (just after we'd sealed all of the previously open window spaces). So we got the flashlights and peered into the 2'x2' opening into the crawl space. It was pretty obscured by spider webs, but there appeared to be all sorts of stuff in there too. I used a piece of wood to clear the webs, then reached in and started pulling stuff out. There was lots of old trim from the house in there (so THAT'S where it went?!) Conveniently, there was also a garden rake (the space goes back about 15 feet) which I used to drag more stuff out, all while momma and babies nestled an unreachable 10' back into the space. Old Pride of Cleveland beer bottles, neat old pavers and lots of random wood pieces were dragged out.
I was already filthy by that point, found my long sleeved shirt from painting and said "the heck with it, I'm going in!" It was a treasure trove of little trim bits, old apothecary bottles (Burma Shave, Squibb, etc), and lots of indistinguishable rusty cans (and one cool old Maxwell House Coffee can). The kittens decided I was interesting company so they kept wandering over to see what I was doing. I kept counting them "one, two, three" to make sure no one was going to get squished as I handed stuff out the hole ot Eric. Then E grabbed a Budweiser box and we put the kittens into it to move to the back room for safekeeping while Rick worked on installing the new pipe. Mama cat was having none of that. By the time we'd stepped away for 2 minutes and came back, she'd already scooped up the littlest (and mightiest) guy by the scruff of the neck and returned him to the crawl space. "OK, you win! For today you can stay there" (and really, we had to get back to work). Rick managed to work around the little family. When I dropped by after work, Rick had successfully installed the new duct and the kitties were hanging out in the crawl space....in their new Budweiser box bed! Who needs a sweet little grey tiger-striped kitten? They are all very lovable and friendly!