As some of you may have realised from my previous pecker post, none of us in the family got any sleep last night, due to the kittens in the attic, and mostly because of one specific one.
I knew Mamie had her kittens in the attic.
I knew Mamie had moved them to a very inaccessable place (like there's ANY accessible place in my attic) when Rita struck.
I knew that I would have to get up there and get them down before they were utterly feral, but I had no idea how to do so. This method was not really considered at any point, but it worked for at least one of her 3 week olds.
For an entire day and a very long night, we kept hearing a kitten crying. We kept placing it somewhere around the air return grate and the a/c unit, but sound travels strangely in an attic, and as the night went on I kept thinking I heard it in different places, so we spent a relatively sleepness night listening to a kitten cry, hoping that Mamie would come back from hunting or wherever she was and fetch it out.
This morning, the kitten was still crying, and it was obviously coming from around the a/c unit. I told the wife that when I opened the access door the crying got a lot louder, so we tried to move the immobile a/c unit a little bit. The noise alerted the little one that rescue was imminent, and we both saw a tiny calico paw reaching desperately around the small opening between unit and door frame, and a little panicked kitten face.
Driven by the need to get this tiny creature out of the wall and into safety, I climbed back up through the closet, up to the attic access hole, tearing skin off my arm and my foot trying to struggle through that damned tiny hole, trying to wedge my bulk up to where I could grab onto a roof joist. I worked my large self around the ductwork and wires and plumbing, and had to keep moving Mamie aside, because she was very insistent on being near me. Natural mother instinct, around kittens. I kept waiting to have my face torn off. I saw two of her tabby children further away, out of my reach, but ignored them, as it was obvious they were not meowing. Shining the flashlight around, I finally saw, about four feet below me, between the wall and the a/c return unit one small, angry, desperate calico body.
Climbing back to the access hole as fast as I dared I made a faux pas in the original sense of the word and put a foot through the ceiling in the closet, pouring 30 year old rock wool insulation onto the bed linens and winter blankets stored there. Feeling like an idiot, I ran and got a hammer
from the kitchen junk drawer, and started Operation Kitten Rescue, vis:
Realising very quickly that I could not get to the kitten from there because of the way the wall joists were arranged, I decided that the only path in was going to be through the wall in my daughter's room, formerly my room some 15 years past. I was right.
Keep in mind that those holes are large enough for my elbow and bicep to pass through and bend, so each is about 9" across. Roughly. Very roughly.
And no, it wasn't lavender when it was my room. It was, point of fact, sort of a light puke green.
And yes, four holes were necessary--the left bottom and upper ones were too far away and ill-advised because of a wall stud in the way, and the kitten was closer to the front than I realised. The upper right was the correct location and is where I effected the rescue; I hammered the fourth one because I kept thinking I heard another little kitten voice in there, but it was in fact the two still in the attic, both of whom were being carefully carried by Mamie deeper into the reaches of the roof, and well out of the way of my reach.
That, and I was so adrenaline crazed by that point that I had forgotten the section of wall there leads directly into the open space behind the air return grate. Silly me, I could have simply opened the grate, moved the filter, and looked inside.
As of this writing, the rescuee is being fed to her heart's content with warm KMR Newborn Kitten Formula and has a heating blanket, a snug little pet carrier with blankets to feel safe in, and loving foster parents as we speak.
Anyway how, I ask you, could anyone say 'no' to that face?
Can anyone say "DIY Weekend Wall Repair?"
Honeywell, working name only, just finished off 13cc's of supper. Things are looking good.