... is being trapped in a wall cavity worth??
A "shaggy cat" story for those who've asked after our little visitor, and for cat people everywhere.
Early in October 1998 by our reckoning 6 or so kittens were born in the roof cavity above ALI's Walk-In Centre. Late night training courses were interrupted periodically by kittens mewling which grew louder as the weeks went by.
When the kittens were about 3-4 weeks old one died - right above the editors office! Within a week the stench was so strong and unmistakable (and the landlord so conveniently difficult to get hold of) that the editor located and removed the corpse in sheer self defense. There was no visible sign of other kittens or the mother, although the kittens calls were loud and persistent.
One late afternoon piteous mewling was heard to come from the front end of the Walk-In Centre. Inspection of the roof cavity proved fruitless, but a sizable cavity between the double brick walls seemed to hold the source of the complaints. There is a large unused Telstra junction box at floor level behind the chairs in the same corner. Hoping that there may be access to the cavity behind the junction box (and remembering the awful stench caused by a small possum in a similar situation that died unnoticed inside a bricked up fireplace) chairs were cleared out of the corner to allow access to the junction box.
To this editors amazement, the cover of the junction box was moving, and when lifted off the frame, revealed a small, dirty 5 week old kitten clinging to the wiring blocks. There was indeed a fist-sized hole in the wall, through which the kitten must have crawled after falling down the cavity!
Although her first reaction to human contact was typically feral (spit, hiss), Telstra, as she was shortly dubbed, responded quickly to warm milk, a warm towel and frequent handling. She didn't even seem to mind a warm flea bath! She only required hand feeding for the first night and quickly adapted to drinking commercial Cat Milk preparations from a plate. She instinctively took to using a litter tray and within a few days ravenously attacked solid meals of fresh meat and canned kitten food.
Small as she was, Telstra was adopted by the editors German Shepherd, who mothered her and protected her from the jealous attentions of the editors older cat. Veterinary attention was sought for a slight tummy upset, and a follow up vet check gave Telstra a clean bill of health - small for her age probably due to being trapped in the cavity without food for who knows how long, but strong for her size!
Telstra has been fully immunized, and now has a permanent home with the editor. We were pleased to find out that the remaining kittens were removed from the roof over the ANZ Bank next door the morning after we found Telstra, and have all found homes thanks to the efforts of Telstra's vets at the Hume and Melrose Animal Hospitals.
Telstra is now about 4 months old, and is going from strength to strength. She is 200% kitten and twice as mischievous. While the older cat barely tolerates her and her kittenish habits, the dog adores her and they will frequently play together, seeking out each others company.
Unfortunately for the editor, Telstra's favorite chairs just happens to be the editors - both at home and work ... ah well.