But it was time - she'd gone into heat last week, after all - and so I made arrangements with a travelling vet to come to the house and do the deed here. Whatever it cost, I assumed it would be worth not having to try catching her again, renting a tranquilizer gun and transporting her to my regular vets myself.
Without knowing what was in store for her, she'd found a new hiding place that morning. One of the old box-springs in the bedroom had a tear in the under-fabric and she was actually hiding INSIDE the box-spring, verified by a slight nudge answered by the old familiar hiss. This could make catching her even more of a challenge.
When the vets got there, they brought in a long pole with a noose on the one end. Several snarling minutes later, after we up-ended the box-spring, he succeeded in nabbing Frieda who had clearly decided she was not going to go willingly. Held firmly by her hindlegs and stretched out along the pole, noose still around her neck, positioned almost upside down, she was hurried out to the van and given anesthesia. It looked awful and if not bad enough from her standpoint, I was thinking what it must have seemed to Baker, one of the kittens who still spends a lot of time hanging out with her under the beds and who happened to be with her when the vet arrived.
If after 4 months and she still hadn't calmed down enough to let me pet her, I figured by now it might be 2012 before she'd let me near her again, after this routine. I can just hear the next chapter of "Tales from Behind the Toilet" - except there won't be any more kittens for her to impart the wisdom of the ages to, now...
This did not, however, stop her from hopping up on the bathroom countertop moments later, wooziness and incision aside, just as she had done the first night she arrived here. Baker hopped up right along side her and gave her a sniffing over, purring quietly as if to comfort her. I chose not to bother them and just stood there, talking quietly to her, sensing the fear and uncertainty in her eyes and the likely undercurrent of feline profanity that would have turned me into a pile of mince-meat in a flash.
A few minutes later when I returned to the bathroom, she had now settled herself into the box in the corner (see picture, above). From there, then, she settled down behind the toilet again and I just hoped she would be okay. When I got back from work tonight, she was still tightly curled up in the same corner, her eyes bright and wary as if saying "don't... even... think... about touching me..."
And so we'll see what tomorrow brings.