Home » The Four Kittens Living In My ‘Holy Grail’ Jeep Grand Cherokee Are Wreaking Havoc And I’m Totally Cool With It

The Four Kittens Living In My ‘Holy Grail’ Jeep Grand Cherokee Are Wreaking Havoc And I’m Totally Cool With It

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A female cat that I’ve since named “Zee” gave birth to a litter of four kittens roughly a month ago, using my 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee five-speed as shelter. Now I’ve got four high-energy kittens running around the inside my prized Jeep, and they’re having a great time. Here, I’ll show you.

Last week I wrote the article “Three Kittens Were Born In A Huge Pile Of Car Parts Shoved Into My Project Car.” Hyperlinked above the article included the very moment I discovered the cute kittens in my one-of-1400-ever-built Jeep:

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The article ended with me saying I’d follow ASPCA guidelines, which suggest feeding the mother cat so she can nurse her kittens, then — when the kitties are five-ish weeks old — I can foster them. Well, I’m not entirely sure that the cats are over four weeks old, so I wanted to make sure the kittens remain with the mother so she can nurse them. At the same time, I don’t want the kittens to wander out on their own, or to get so old that they’d be hard to socialize later and thus hard to adopt out. So my friend and I went out to try to trap Zee, the mother. Then we’d easily grab the kittens, and foster the lot, getting them vaccinated/fixed prior to adopting them out. Maybe we’d keep Zee or try to adopt her out, or maybe we’d just spay her and let her go.

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We arrived late at night, when the weather had cooled from its peak of 105 degrees down to about 75. Upon arrival, we found Zee hanging out below the car, as usual, but this time the kittens weren’t hiding in the pile of parts — they were going berserk in the back window!

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Here you can see a kitten on the right side sitting atop an air filter box, and on the left there’s one sitting on the back of a seat, playing with a wire dangling from the ceiling (I think that’s the rear cargo area lamp wire):

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As my previous headline suggests, I initially thought there were only three kittens, but as these photos show, four of them emerged from the pile of parts to play on the surface that night, batting and chewing each others’ tails, tackling one another, hopping all over the Jeep — it was a huge party, and one that this little kitty worried might cause predators to notice. So it decided to be the lookout:

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The lookout quickly scurried off as I approached the Jeep, but others remained at the surface as I took photos, though they were clearly a bit scared:

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Here are some video clips of all the mayhem:

 

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It quickly became clear that capturing the kittens wouldn’t be too difficult. Some hissed, but overall the kitties seem friendly:

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We picked one kitten up, but since we were unable to capture Zee, we returned it (Zee is likely still nursing the kitties). Zee did go part-way into the cat-carrier you see above to eat some food we’d set in there, but we had no way to trap her, so we managed to snag a trap from one of my friends’ colleague (my friend volunteers at a cat shelter). Here’s me setting that trap up:

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Unfortunately, Zee refused to enter the cage. She’d eat food outside on the pavement, and she’d sniff the food inside the cage from the outside (she even tried clawing at it), but entering the cage was never an option for her. Smart cat.

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Eventually, Zee hopped into the Jeep to be with her kittens, and then looked at me with a face that I cannot quite describe. She looked deeply sad, possibly frightened:

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I approached Zee (here’s a short clip of me approaching), and she let me come within about two feet. Her face looked the same as above; scared and sad. She never hissed, she never showed any aggression — she just had huge pupils, she opened her mouth a little bit, and she just seemed beside herself. I felt bad for her. Maybe she felt sad because she was uncertain about this huge creature getting near her kittens; in any case, she pranced away when I got too close with the piece of chicken I was trying to feed her. I threw the chicken on the hood, and she grabbed it and made it disappear. You can see Zee here as I approach through the rear right side door:

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Anyway, the kittens seem to be healthy and in good spirits. Momma Zee is remaining well-fed (she digs chicken), so things seem OK. Ideally, I’d still like to help these cats find homes so they don’t have to spend their lives wandering the mean streets of LA, but we’ll see what the situation is like when I return to LA in two weeks from my trip to Germany. If the kitties are still in my ZJ, I may try again at capturing Zee, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll just take the kittens, since they’ll either have already been weaned off Zee, or they’d soon be weaned off her. I figure getting these kittens off the streets and into loving homes is a best-case. Worst case is getting them spayed and neutered and returning them to the colony. We’ll see.

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All I know is, they’re cute, and they’re having a great time in my Holy Grail. I’m glad someone is; I really need to get off my arse and turn this thing into the ultimate budget overlanding Jeep.

 

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Jeeptopian
Jeeptopian
8 months ago

Now you need a custom 4 Litter badge.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
8 months ago

Pretty sure it’s better than a TR3 full of raccoons.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
8 months ago

If you wait 2 weeks, those kittens will be long gone. They and mom need to be captured and cared in the next couple days.

If there is a feral cat colony in the Galpin yard and any of the kittens are male, they’re also about the age dominant toms will start slaughtering them when they venture away from their mom.

Your listed “worst case” was more of a “middle case.”

Strangek
Strangek
8 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

Agreed, someone needs to grab the little guys very soon. Momma cat maybe, but she’s a street cat, so it might not work.

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
8 months ago

Dave, from looking at these pictures it is very apparent that these kittens are old enough to be weened, fixed, and relocated. Since you are leaving for two weeks, I suggest you have someone else deal with this ASAP. Two weeks more of free range living is a very bad idea. Also, clean their noses and eyes!

Best thing for Zee is to get her fixed and then return her to her old haunts. She will never be domesticated.

Cat owner and admirer for over 70 yrs!

Last edited 8 months ago by Opa Carriker
IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
8 months ago

I’ll bet Zee was a pet who got tossed out the door when the owners realized she was pregnant. I hate saying that, but people suck and someone who can’t even be bothered to get the cat spayed might not want to deal with kittens either.

The trap probably doesn’t feel secure enough to Zee for her to venture in. Try putting a blanket or towel over the top so she won’t feel as exposed. Cats generally prefer to avoid wide open spaces.

Last edited 8 months ago by IRegertNothing, Esq.
Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
8 months ago

The blanket over the trap is excellent advice.

TheCrank
TheCrank
8 months ago

Avoid bright light, don’t get them wet, and don’t feed them after midnight. Or something.

Angry Bob
Angry Bob
8 months ago

Kittens need a lot of human attention or they’ll not make good pets later on. I’ve adopted a number of strays over the years and if they grew up in a barn (or a ZJ) they’re going to be skittish as adult cats.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
8 months ago

Did the Autopian fly Weekend Rob out to LA to cat-sit?

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
8 months ago

They’re extremely cute and this entire story is very heartwarming. You’re a good soul, David, and have gone above and beyond what most would do. I applaud that.

That said, in the recesses of my mind I keep coming back to the smell. Good lord, the smell of cat waste baking in the 105 degree California sun being magnified by the greenhouse effect of automobile glass. The prospect of ameliorating that sends chills down my spine. Then again, you’ve had it too easy driving around in that nice YJ and i3. Gotta get back in touch with your roots, I suppose.

Outofstep
Outofstep
8 months ago

Trenchfoot isn’t going to happen on it’s own. The cats are merely providing him with future content for us.

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
8 months ago

As I noted elsewhere, cats by nature are fastidious. They will not willingly defecate/urinate anywhere near where they sleep. I suspect that mama cat has found a place where all can do there business away from the jeep. Look around for any obvious locations such as old boxes, rags, dirt, etc. Also, others have gone on in depth about various enzym treatments to deal with any oder.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
8 months ago

How many weeks are you giving yourself to get these kittens weaned and ready to tackle Moab?

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
8 months ago

This whole story reminds me.of something.

Back when I was using may late parent’s place as a cottage, we had an intruder of sorts. Iw was in the upstairs bathroom “reading a magazine, when I heard little meows from outside. I knew it wasn’t either of our cats (we stupidly used to bring them with us), so I looked and saw this little boack and white kitten strolling.down the driveway towards the house.

I was intrigued. I finished my magazine and went downstairs. When I got to the back door, I opened it, and the little guy walked in without breaking stride, like he owned the place and all the surrounding territories. We kept him separated form our cats but let him stay inside (mistake 1) and grabbed him some food (2).

He was a hoot, and charmed us both immediately. We kept him in the downstairs bathroom and would visit him whenever we went in there (3). We were falling in love with the little guy (4), even though we knew we couldn’t keep him. We named him Burleigh, after the neighbouring town (5 — and a big one).

After two days with this little guy hanging withbus, we took him in to the local no-kill shelter. We left him there (6) and made a donation, and then went into the parking lot and started sobbing.

That was over 15 years ago, and I still think of Burleigh, and still tear up at the memory of leaving the little guy. I am sure he went to a good home, but it should have been our home.

Take care of the kitties, David.

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