I was out this afternoon filling the bird feeders, the ghost cat's food dish, and cleaning the water in the bird baths. Rex was on the screened porch. I heard him making a ruckus, going through things that have been piled out there during the endless time we are remodeling the bath room. I put the hose down, and was on my way in to either put him in the house or the back yard when I heard a cat cry. Almost at the same moment, Randy from inside the house and me from outside reached the porch, but it was too late. We understood instantly why the ghost cat continued to visit--she had kittens in there--a thought that had never occurred to us as we had never seen them or heard them.
Just as we were trying to ascertain the damage to the kitten Rex had found, I spotted a second one hiding . I picked it up and cuddled it next to me while Randy got Rex outside. From an intellectual point, it was interesting to me how a young kitten could instinctively be so aggressive and anti-human, but that is what happens when animals are not socialized to humans early on. There was no saving the kitten Rex found first, but mercifully, it was a quick death. Once more, we buried another Mississippi loss. Truly, it was very emotional for both of us; it seems that it just renews the feelings about Penelope, and Jack, and Trina, and Killer, and Maggie--all losses since we have been here. While we did not even know the kitten existed until today, it was still a loss. Randy buried it, but not next to our beloved Killer and Maggie. He put him over by the woods, where the two cats we now assume are his parents, often sit and watch the house.
We searched the rest of the porch to make sure there were no more kittens, and finding none, I moved Killer's cat house out to the front porch and put the remaining kitten in it. Still spitting and hissing, I might add. :) The mom and dad cats were in their usual places, one under the tree and one by the fence. I did not feel comfortable leaving the kitten out on the front porch, though he or she was safer than on the screened porch, now that Rex knew it was there. I checked on it a time or two and it was still in the little house, curled up in a corner.
I know there are just some things I cannot control, and this is one of them. Still, I am saddened, and it was a hard thing. Add it to the end of the semester, and the loss of students whom I have come to care about, and it is not an easy thing with which to cope. I just can't help but wonder what the ghost cat is thinking tonight when she comes in to feed her babies and one of them is missing.