Thursday, September 1, 2011

Termites. And a Field Trip For Cats.

Matt (the SO) and I recently began some electrical improvements in our garage -- basically the wiring in there was really old and crappy and scary (definitely NOT to code in places) and the lighting was poor, and there was nowhere to plug in a washer or dryer, and Matt needs more and beefier outlets for all the machine-shop stuff he would like to eventually install. It's been a project long in the making (or at least in the wanting), so it's nice to be finally getting to it.

As for how it impacts the cats here -- well, that's an interesting and somewhat convoluted matter. See, while the electrical part of things is going quite well (Matt even did the responsible thing and went and got permits from the city! And we are doing fun awesome things like bending conduit and attaching it to the walls! OMG!), we found a few subterranean termites attempting to set up shop in the wall framing.


The damage we discovered was mainly just tunnels left by long-since-fumigated buglets, but still. We saw at least five or six live ones and that was enough to prompt calling the exterminators. I mean I know the termites are just trying to survive and all, but I am unwilling to let them eat my house toward that end. Left unchecked, termites can literally do this, and if it's all happening sight unseen (as it typically is), conditions can become quite dangerous for anyone entering the structure. Which means that the critters have to go, and that apparently (per last week's inspection) entails the exterminators drilling holes around the perimeter of the garage and injecting insecticide into the dirt underneath the slab there.

Anyway, the cat-relevant part of this ordeal is the fact that, despite the fact that the house is NOT being tented (this is just very localized application of liquid insecticide), the exterminators require the structure (meaning the whole house, as ours is an attached garage) to be vacated by all resident mammals. Thus, while Nigel the goldfish gets to stay happily swimming in his aquarium in the computer room, Matt and I and the kitties need to be elsewhere for approximately four hours on Termite Death Day.

We've scheduled the thing for one of my non-work days (currently my schedule only has me out of the house three days a week) so someone will be there to let the exterminators in. Matt will be at work, and I have plenty of places I could go locally that would get me out of the house...but the cats are going to be another matter entirely.

I can't just take them all out into the yard with me as the termite guys need to do some stuff outside as well and the yard isn't huge (meaning there's no way to get the requisite distance from the extermination work area). I REALLY don't want to board them, as they would all hate it, and plus it just seems like overkill given it's only for 3-4 hours. I had a friend offer to let my kitties hang out in his guest room but he lives a few towns over and my non-driving self wouldn't have any way to get there (let alone with four cats) during the day.

Thus far, the best option that has presented itself is for Matt's parents to pick me and the kitties up on Termite Morning and bring us to their (local, in-town) house for the day. This still makes me nervous for about a zillion reasons (most of them named "Nikki", who is going to -- and I don't use this term lightly -- flip her shit when she sees/smells that OTHER, UNFAMILIAR CATS LIVE THERE) but at least it wouldn't involve any of the kitties having to deal with totally unfamiliar humans. I will probably just see if I can put my guys' carriers in the parents' spare bedroom or something and hope they will sleep for a while. It won't be fun for them but it should at least be safe and minimally horrible.

All that said, I guess I am pleased that this situation has at least prompted me into action on something I should have taken care of a long time ago -- that is, last night I went ahead and ordered two more cat carriers. For a long time we only had one, because the kittens were so little they would all fit. Then the kittens stopped being so little (read: grew up into massive muscled strapping Beasts of Awesome) and so I got a second carrier in order to make for more efficient vet trips. Really, though, if you have four cats you should have four carriers -- I mean, in case of an emergency evacuation or something you REALLY want to be able to pack them up properly for maximum safety and whatnot. So now I will have four carriers, and that should not only make transporting them off on their field trip easier, but give me additional peace of mind in the emergency-preparedness realm.

Finally, I also have to admit that I am a teensy bit curious about seeing how the kitties react to "going visiting", especially given that most of the cats currently traipsing through Matt's parents' house are Cora's, Brodie's, and Shadow's cousins and probable half-siblings. I mean I don't expect them to remember specific individuals given that they were only 7-10 weeks old when they were last over there, but I am wondering if anything will at least smell familiar, and if so, what they will do. So as much as I am not looking forward to the logistical ordeal of this whole thing, and as much as I feel bad for having to put the cats through it in the first place, it isn't liable to be boring, that's for sure!


  1. Kill those fucken termites!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I almost had to evacuate with the critters a few years ago when a nearby building was burning and the firemen were worried the propane tanks there would blow. Still trying to collect the right gear for the kitty evacuation kit. Think I have enough carriers now, I just need to get them all centralized. I've considered drills. Mine usually come when called so unless something terrifying is going on they will hopefully come.

  3. You did the right thing in calling the exterminators even if it was just a handful of live termites. As with many colonial insects, it’s the queen termite that reproduces, but this queen could come from literally any termite. Besides, termites have rather voracious appetites, so they’d have found other places to eat if you hadn’t gotten them under control right away. Because you found some live ones, it might be advisable for you to do some check-ups in other places near the damage you discovered, just to be sure that there aren’t other termites lurking.


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