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The summertime saga of a garage door, some birds, and a cat

by Traci Schumacher on Wed, 07/24/2013 - 12:01pm
Carolina wren sitting on her eggs in the nest in the car seat behind the lattice.
Twinkle, the cat with the uncertain future.

One day my husband set out to mow the grass, and started a whole chain of unintended events. The garage door broke as he went to get the lawnmower, and no one could get it to close. So we had to live with our garage door open about three feet for over a week while the garage door repairman waited for the new door to arrive.

Before the door arrived, a pair of Carolina wrens built a nest in our old infant car seat on the shelf in the garage. They worked on their nest every day, and began to lay eggs.

One morning we realized a pretty calico cat had taken up residence in our garage also. She was sweet and skinny, so we naturally gave her some water and cat food borrowed from a neighbor. The kids were thrilled with all this excitement in our garage.

Finally our new door arrived. By this point we had a little bird sitting on her eggs and a resident cat whom the kids had started calling “Twinkle.”

So, of course, we kept the new, perfectly functioning garage door open a couple feet as we waited for the eggs to hatch and tried to find a home for Twinkle. My husband also set up some lattice in front of the car seat to prevent the cat from getting to the bird nest. We contemplated building a fence in the garage to protect the hatchlings from Twinkle when they would begin to learn to fly.

Sadly, we had a couple days in June when the temperature soared into the 90s and the heat in the garage was quite intense. We never saw the bird parents again. I'm afraid their little eggs did not survive the heat, so they moved on.

Also, we could find no one who would take the sweet little cat to be their own. Although the kids wanted to keep her, our dogs and the cat did not exactly bond very well. And Twinkle showed up with fleas one day, so I would not let her in the house to try to get them further acquainted.

Before we knew it, it was time for our summer vacation. We arranged for people to take care of the dogs while we were away, but what about the cat? I couldn't bring her inside. I couldn't leave the garage door open for a week while we were out of town. I ended up boarding her at the vet, during which time she received her shots, was spayed, and got rid of the fleas.

After vacation, Twinkle came home and moved into our laundry room, where she currently resides. She loves to purr and sit in laps and bat at a string. For now, she and the dogs watch each other through a baby gate in the doorway while the rest of us hope they will be friends at some point.

Yesterday we locked the dogs in a bedroom for a while, and allowed the cat to explore the house. Based on her meowing later when she was back in the laundry room, I'd say she liked that little taste of a bigger world. But then last night my husband's allergies acted up, and we wonder if it was because of the cat. So Twinkle's future is still uncertain in our home, although the kids and I have grown quite fond of her.

It's crazy to think how an act as simple as going to mow the grass can sometimes alter your life in unexpected ways. It's been a couple months since that attempt to mow the grass. We've spent significant money on both the garage door and the cat. We've changed some ways we function in our home. And we've learned some things along the way. And we still wonder what to do about this little cat.

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