Yes, there were definitely kittens on my back patio and yes, the mother cat was definitely no longer around. My job? Find them a home before either of them, if they were female, went into heat. However, the kittens each had a piece of yarn around their neck as notice that they technically belonged to the maniac in the corner apartment -- the one who threw the pregnant mother cat outside and refused to feed it, telling his kids that the cat was capable of finding her own food in this apartment complex. He was eventually right -- I fed her, and her babies. But now what?
As I fervently hoped they would move away and abandon the kittens so that I could morally claim ownership and find them new homes, I also explored my options. How hard would it be to get rid of adorable kittens? Everyone wants an adorable kitten, right? Since I already had two cats of my own in my apartment, I couldn't keep them. I did let them in on hot days and cold nights, though, and named them Fred and George.
I put an add in Freecycle. Two kittens. They could go alone or together. They could be indoor or outdoor. They just had to go. Time was of the essence. Fluffier words about how adorable and flexible they were, but you get the idea.
After a few repeated postings, someone finally expressed interest. Of course, this meant that a total stranger would be entering my house. That seemed better than being evicted for having four cats in my house, though, and they had to go before one of them turned out to be a girl in heat.
The visitor came by, with a friend of hers and a cat carrier. Clearly, this was a great plan. Even if she took only one, that would be one less kitten in the house, and karma would decide that if one found a home, the other would as well. However, karma was out having tea in a marketplace in Istanbul. The kittens, as well as my own cats, hid from these women who smelled like dogs. When they were finally able to be in contact with the kittens, the woman who answered the ad declared that she "just didn't feel it" and left kittenless. Seriously? A kitten is a kitten. You take it home and fall in love once it's in your house, not in my living room!
I asked people at work. I shamelessly asked my students to ask their parents. I asked people at workshops. No one wanted kittens, and time was passing. Finally, I was at a workshop with a woman whose kids were participating in something at the local Humane Society. She would come over. Obviously, I was saved. Obviously, karma was now out trying on clothes at the Mall of the Americas.
As far as my cats were concerned, the difference between this woman and the dogs she smelled like was negligible. She didn't "feel it" either. She wanted a kitten that would bond with her immediately, as if that were likely to happen when she lived with dogs.
Perhaps I was trying too hard. Perhaps if I let the cosmos work properly and stayed out of the way, the right person would just appear. Seriously? That's a plan of action? Doing nothing?
Try not to look too shocked when I tell you that soon "George" went into heat. And as a responsible person I of course took the newly renamed "Jasmine" to the vet to get this taken care of, right? Um, of course. Not. I did what I apparently had done the last time I had this experience, in 1986 -- I threw her outside when the howling was too much and I couldn't sleep. And so, when the time came, Jasmine's kittens were born under my bed.
I eventually found homes for Jasmine, Fred, and most of the kittens. I kept one, and she was fixed the day that she was medically old enough to do so. I noticed karma sitting in the vet's office with me, reading a magazine. Worthless thing.