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unexpected house guest

“When you get home, don’t go into the downstairs bathroom – Phoebe locked the cat in there,” S emails D one day. Holding our housekeeper’s cat prisoner in our bathroom was a decidedly unexpected turn of events. How did we get there?

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Over the course of the last year, we’ve become quite close to our house staff, and in particular Phoebe, who takes care of Emmie so well when we’re off traveling. Phoebe is likely good with Emmie because she herself has pets – two beloved cats, Meowzy and Maisy. Several months ago, she told us that Meowzy was pregnant and not long after Maisy followed suit. Fortunately, Phoebe’s mom also works for an expat family and they adopted Meowzy’s kittens.

Meanwhile, S volunteered to find homes for Maisy’s two kittens and asked Phoebe if she had ever thought of spaying her cats. The concept was novel to Phoebe but met with great interest. S said we could help, but without realizing quite what that would entail. She first called the KSPCA but was told that they only spay cats that they rescue and adopt out. Next, S called several vets, only to find out that the procedure is almost twice as expensive in Kenya as in the U.S. Luckily, the American vet from whom we had adopted Emmie agreed to help, but we had to wait for her to order supplies and local anesthesia.

In the meantime, Meowzy went into heat and one day when the electricity went out, she got loose and knocked up. Vets do spay pregnant cats (try explaining what happens to the unborn kittens to someone who had never heard of spaying before), but it is best to do the procedure with gas anesthesia and in a proper clinic. At least we were able to get Maisy spayed, dewormed, and vaccinated, and her kittens placed in two great homes. As for Meowzy, after a brief confinement in our bathroom, Phoebe took her back home, where she just gave birth to five kittens. Hopefully, Phoebe can keep her locked up, especially after the kittens are weaned, so that we can get her spayed and break this cycle.

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