Which is...nope, this will not be a picture post.
One of the many things I've been meaning to post before a bad storm, broken roof, bleak financials, Donald Trump, Comcast, and all sorts of assholery gone asundry sort of broke my concentration was the problem of having two black homeless kittens living outdoors (right outside my door, in fact) with Halloween coming. Though I'm not going to talk about it nor link to examples, people are sick. One way they prove it is by grabbing black cats on Halloween for "Satanic rituals". I won't discuss this because it's so stomach-turning, so (eventually) I'll discuss what I did (or didn't) do about it, instead.
Just to refresh memories, the last week of June, a few days before July 4th, someone in the next apartment building over decided it was the best idea ever to let a litter of five, approximately eight-week old kittens who'd never been outdoors go play in traffic around our apartment complex. Two distant neighbors along with OP and I noticed and simultaneously freaked out trying to figure out whose they were and what to do.
While we were talking with one of them, a fast red sports car came zooming down the road and almost hit one kitten but I think I saved it by yelling, "HEY!!! GET OUT OF THE ROAD" in my toughest NY accent to scare it away. It soon chased itself up a tree after another kitten, who quickly shimmied back down, but the one I'd yelled at was still up there when OP grabbed him and handed him to me to bring inside, which he knew I'd do because it was
Stuie all over again an irresistible black and white kitten who I was still turning into a puddle of OMG, AAAWWWW over at that moment.
Bowie was the first one in, just a few days shy of July 4th. From that night on I was letting the kittens who eventually became Pippy and Tab-tab in to play, but figured I couldn't handle more than three cats, so every night they went back out. The two black kittens rounding out the litter were shyer and more independent, so didn't come in as much. Within a few weeks of Bowie's arrival I realized he was having such a great time with one grey kitten, who seemed like his twin, that I should keep him around as Bowie's companion.
By then the creatively named Tab-tab (a tabby who still had no name) was coming in a few times a week, while the black kittens were showing up constantly. I kept both black kittens overnight about a month after bringing Bowie in (early August) only to wake up the next morning with wet, sloppy poops all over the litter boxes and living room rug, and no idea which black kitten dropped them, or if both were to blame.
Sick and not litter-box trained? Couldn't deal with it. So back outside they went. They had no desire to stay inside if the outdoors was on offer, and someone else around here was apparently feeding them, so I wasn't too concerned. Realizing the black kittens were non-starters over poop issues, I began letting Tab-tab in more because Bowie and Pip seemed to like having another kitten to keep the party going, and watching them play was fun, but unlike the black kittens, not only didn't he mind leaving, he wanted to after a night of festivities.
A month and a half into this Bowie and Pip stayed inside, the black kittens were allowed to stay until they acted like they had to use a litter box and then out the door they'd go, and the tabby came and went as he pleased. Then one night, hours after he'd been let out, the tabby almost tore our kitchen screen apart asking to be let back in. He'd never done that before. While I've been trying to train him to stay in ever since, he never leaves for more than a few hours and was soon christened Tab-tab (by me, because I just couldn't stop calling him that. He learned his name faster than any other kitten, fwiw.).
By then it was the middle of August and everyone was fairly secure except the black kittens. A few weeks later the storm hit and they had to ride it out outside (probably hiding under one of the buildings). A black kitten was the first living thing I saw besides downed trees and people walking around in a daze about 6 o'clock the next morning. And I was already worried about Halloween. I'd spoken to a lady right before the storm in the next apartment building over who claimed the kittens were hers, but she said someone "stole" one from her - another lady living in an apartment row nearby ours.
I had clear and obvious trouble sympathizing, as she basically let the kittens live outside, and expressed that, but she said it's "natural" for them to go outdoors. I guess it's also natural to spray all-natural, "organic" cat poison all over them, her house and balconies. That's what peppermint flea spray turned out to be, according to some online reviews I've read. It might've even been why at least one kitten couldn't control its poop and why both seemed more depressed than the kittens we kept.
Both kittens were still running around when the power was finally restored weeks later, and came in the night it was turned back on just to party with our kittens, but at least one still had a pooping problem, so back out they went. I never saw one of them again; I'm assuming that was the "stolen" one. The other kept coming around every day, but most definitely had a litter box/pooping on the rug issue, so wasn't allowed to stay, because we're not able to deal with a cat who needs a vet that desperately right now.
The last few weeks of October made me...forgive the pun, nervous as a cat trying to think what to do with him. I'd never forgive myself if I saw any Halloween spook scoop him up or if I found him maimed or dead or even if he just disappeared, which would worry me owing to the time of year. I couldn't sleep sometimes for thinking about it. Even if I could take him the shelter, I didn't want to; I was afraid black cats get put down more often for being black, for being the stuff of so many superstitions and nightmares which simply aren't right.
The mother of all five kittens has since gotten a home in the same row of apartments that the other black kitten was supposedly, uh, spirited off to, and still comes by to say hi but wants nothing more to do with her last brood, so refuses to come say hi to them.
One morning about a week before Halloween I was standing outside with OP when I saw a young lady I'd never seen before standing alongside the same road Bowie almost got hit on, looking in the brush as though looking for a cat. I mean, I know the look. Because that day I was a witch (oooh, a sort of non-spooky, if very late Halloween story) I turned to OP and said, "If that lady takes the remaining black kitten, would you be OK with that?" He had a strong liking for him; they'd bonded a little. He looked a bit shocked but said, "Yeah, that's fine", so I walked into the road to ask which cat she was looking for.
Turns out she was looking for the mother, according to the description she gave me, who, she added, was pregnant ("Again?" I asked, which started the very conversation I wanted to have about the remaining black kitten, who helpfully enough, walked by just as I began talking about him). I hadn't seen the mother in a few weeks and cats don't tend to drop until almost right before birth, so that's how I came to find out a second litter is or was about to be born.
She agreed a black cat running loose on Halloween is not a good idea and to take the kitten, who I carried inside her apartment. She immediately cracked a can of wet food open and introduced him to her other cat, who seemed game enough to have a new kitten around. Turns out this lady feeds the mother, has fed some of the kittens, and feeds both males who I think are the fathers of our kittens. Her apartment was as clean and nice as ours (but bigger) and she said she'd keep him indoors and get him to the vet over his litter box issues ASAP, so I think he'll have a good life there.