Well, towards the end of the week, some of our regular feline visitors had disappeared, but it seemed like the efforts at catching the cats had stopped. We mentally flipped tables in frustration, and Athena said, "Forget it, I'm leaving food out there." This may or may not be related to the next development.
We came home from a church activity to find a notice on our gate. It said we needed to remove the doghouse and other non-patio-related items from our patio. I believe it could be argued that doghouses are extremely patio-related, but the cats weren't really using it anyway and it seemed like it would be easier to comply than to argue, so we would have done just that. But it was late, we were tired, and we just wanted to go to bed. The next day was Sunday, so we continued to ignore the notice, fully intending to deal with the doghouse at some point when we felt we had a little bit more wiggle room in our schedule. (Did I mention we had two full volumes of manga, a weekly simulpub, and a monthly simulpub to deal with this week? And we had to finish up another volume of manga that was already late.)
Around lunchtime on Monday, we saw the maintenance guys approaching our apartment. I was like, "Here we go," and I went to the door, bracing myself to explain why the little house was still there. To my surprise, their leader didn't seem interested. He was just coming into the patio to throw away the cat food we'd left out, because they were going to set more traps! This came as a huge relief. He even showed me a video of the little black kitten at the shelter, so it was an even bigger relief to know that at least someone on the whole apartment team actually likes the cats.
We went about the rest of our day feeling better about life, but then as Athena was trying to decide whether or not to let Mushroom in, she noticed an envelope in our door. The management had sent us a letter (which they always make sure to deliver after office hours, ugh) explaining about approved patio furniture and complaints about cat droppings in our patio (even though the kittens had stopped doing their business in the patio weeks ago (but there were a couple of little messes in the patio corner that were out of the way)), and telling us that we needed to shape up and be ready for an inspection on Friday.
Well, there wasn't much we could do about it then, or the next day or the next, because we still had to finish Waiting for Spring and we weren't sure if we would have time to take a shopping break, because we needed cleaning supplies. Today we finally got the supplies, and the cat house has been relocated to our garage and the patio swept and mopped. We're still worried because our skill level for cleaning patios is extremely low, but we did the best we could. It should be obvious that we at least made an effort.
But here's where it gets confusing. Since the notice about the inspection and the renewed setting of traps, Athena had been staunchly refusing to open the door to any cats, in the hopes of encouraging them to go into the traps. But we can't help looking out the window to see what's up, and at around dinnertime last night, there were two cats looking up at us in the hopes of being fed. One of them was Tangles, the one we were sure had been caught a week and a half ago.
Closer inspection revealed that her ear had been clipped. In other words, she definitely had been caught and taken to the shelter, and now she's been spayed. This is great news, because it makes for a healthier cat colony and stops the population explosion. But on the other hand, if the apartment managers hate cats so much, why are they putting them back!?
The best explanation we can come up with is that the manager lady hates cats and wants us to stop feeding them so they'll go away, but the maintenance leader thinks they're cute and doesn't mind having them around. Either that, or the manager didn't instruct him to make sure they were gone forever, just to take them to the shelter, so when the shelter said, "Yeah, we don't really have room for them, but we can do TNR," he said, "Sounds good." Either way, the theory about the maintenance guy's fondness for cats being behind this is corroborated by the reappearance (with a clipped ear) of Eren Jeager, who the maintenance guy had mentioned and called "really cute" the first time they started setting out traps. At any rate, it's true that Tangles probably isn't adoptable, and the reason we named Eren Jeager "Eren Jeager" is that he (or she; we never really found out) was the kitten who seemed most eager to stand and fight the titanic humans.
So on the one hand, we're very happy to have them back, or at least to see them again and know they're okay, but on the other hand, what? And are we still supposed to stop feeding them? How can you bring them back here and tell us not to feed them? This is going to be quite the conundrum. Frankly, we think it would be a non-issue, because we know for a fact that a bunch of the people in the complex like the cats (even just tonight as we were cleaning the patio, Athena saw one of our neighbors try to coax one of them over for pettings), but we think our next door neighbors are averse to them. I wonder if we're going to have to ask around the complex to see if someone else can take over--someone with less cat-hating neighbors next door. Hmm.
Today I'm thankful for getting to see Tangles again, getting to see Eren Jeager again, having a cleaner patio, finally getting our CD Japan package, and our actual job not taking too much time today.