pretty calico cat

Saying Goodbye

pretty calico catAbout 12 years ago, my precious kitty died. I was heart broken, and so my husband brought home a kitten.

Except she wasn’t really a kitten. It turned out that this cat had been turned into the shelter the day before we got her. She’d been given her shots, fixed and chipped, and was still somewhat sedated when my husband brought her home. She was stunningly beautiful. The only note on her chart was “likes to play rough.” Of course, I didn’t find any of this out until months later when I went back to the shelter and asked what was WRONG with this cat???

The guess? She was probably feral.

My dreams of another snuggly kitty quickly evaporated into scratches and tooth marks. I took her to the vet. He explained that cats who look like this one tend to be somewhat schizophrenic.

Being me, I didn’t give up on her. Her name was Elf, which I am certain was short for Evil Life Form.

For years, I worked to connect with that cat, eventually bringing four other cats into the house so that I could have feline companionship, because I wasn’t going to get it from Miss Elf.

My best friend made me watch episodes of My Cat From Hell. Self-proclaimed crazy cat-lady that I now have become, I went out and bought cat toys. The others loved them. Elf adored my husband.

And then a few months ago, I woke up with a cat snuggling me. I petted her and realized that the fur was MUCH longer than any nice kitty we had. I carefully turned on the light to be greeted with this face:

eek mad cat

 

 

To put it into perspective, here is her cuddling my husband:

cuddle

 

From that day on, Elf cuddled me, too. She would sit on my lap for hours.

It didn’t take long for me to notice that she was ill. She lost weight.

Special food followed, which she would deign to eat if I’d hold the bowl for her.

She’d drink the special water spiked with pedialite — if I’d hold the bowl.

Yesterday, I had to say goodbye to my dear Elf. I was deeply touched that in the end, she turned to me for comfort and love.

She will be missed…

…except for the scratches.

Tigress and Trapeze

The Rest of the Cat Story

Tigress and TrapezeSome of you may have read my earlier entries about how I seem to have stolen my neighbor’s cats.

Yesterday, we did the deed…we took the cats in for their appropriate surgeries. I can’t recommend Purrfect Pals enough. These folks run a no-kill shelter for cats and offer free spay/neuter surgeries for folks who can’t afford to have the surgeries done elsewhere. Each cat is treated like a prize patient, cared for and ooed over. If you look at their site you’ll see the cats that we saw when we were there. They have the cats in glass walled rooms — not cages — where they play on an abundance of furniture and cat trees. My daughter was glued to the glass…she thought we had cats at HOME!

Trapeze has forgiven me already for taking him in. Tigress on the other hand is not speaking to us. I’m hoping she’ll return to her normal self in a few days. They need to stay inside for two weeks to allow time to heal in peace. Presumably at the end of the two weeks they will really be our cats.

The most amazing thing about these two strays that we have been caring for is how incredibly loving they are. While our other cats are anti-social beasts, these little sweethearts are purry cuddly darlings. There is some hope for the others, though, as Squeaker has seen me wandering around with Trapeze and Tigress in my arms on more than one occasion. Each time she sees the other cats, she offers me a new gesture of affection. I am hoping to get a real snuggle out of her yet.

Kittens — part 2

The mother cat and one of the kittens have returned to our porch. We have no idea what happened to the female kitten I called "Rose", but are happy to see the others again.
Since we no longer have any responsibility towards them — our neighbor having declared them to be his cats — we can just enjoy their visits.
The male kitten, Trapeze, cuddled up to me when he first saw me and purred with great gusto. I’d never heard him purr before. Mark had named him Trapeze because of the high likelihood of him becoming a "flying young man" due to his tendency to bite. We don’t know what has happened to them in the time they’ve been gone, but he no longer wants to bite, seeming content to play and cuddle. My daughter carried him around for a while today, and he was content.
I enjoy these furry companions and find myself sitting outside and watching them play. There is something soothing about having a cat curled up in my lap, the purring hypnotizing me into resting for a few moments out of these hectic days.

Another update: Rose now resides down the street with a loving family. Trapeze and Tigress were cornered by a gang of raccoons at 2AM the other day. I beat of the evil things with a 2 by 4, several large flower pots, and much yelling. I swear, one of the beasts actually stood up and laughed at me. Nevertheless, I rescued the kitties and have returned them to their rightful owner — again. We all know they’ll be back. There is much discussion around our household about the size and strength of the local raccoon population, as my husband informed me the next day that they were more than capable of overwhelming me. I pointed out that might be so, provided children or cats were not involved.

Momma cat and kitten

Kittens

Momma cat and kittenThe neighborhood cats all know I’m a sucker for a mother and kittens. This latest brood moved in under our front steps a few weeks ago. The mother cat was starving. I already have enough cats, thanks, but here was this pitiful creature and her two adorable kittens. Of course, I made the classic mistake: I fed her.

And so, now we have kittens. I spend much of the day obsessing over those cats. Should I feed them more? My Love points out that if I do that, they won’t hunt. If they don’t hunt, they’ll be dependent upon me. Since they aren’t really my cats, that would be bad.

There are also reproductive issues to consider. It is bad enough having 3 cats on my front door-step. I’d hate to see that number multiply. Tribbles are cute, but there is a limit. I’ve found a place that can do the deed for me, and now I just have to get up the courage to put the little darlings in a kitty carrier and take them to the surgeon.

Maybe there’s a reason my cats all hate me.

(Sad update: the kittens vanished on 8/27/08. The Momma cat is very upset.)

Update #2: the Momma cat was taken on 8/28/08. My kids saw the folks get her, so I was pretty sure it was the same folks who had the kittens.

After a rough day, and the kids upset, I decided to walk around the neighborhood. I’d seen the folks head up the street after they saw me, so I was pretty sure they lived up there, and there wasn’t too far to go. It only took about 10 minutes for me to find Momma cat, scratching at a garage and to hear frantic mewing from inside. I looked around and someone drove up. I approached the man and said that the Momma cat was upset because his family had taken her babies and put them in the garage.

He became a bit annoyed and said, "That’s my cat."

I pointed out that she’d been living at my house for several weeks, and that his kids had taken the kittens off my porch yesterday. I said that it was fine, they might even be his cats, but that I just wanted to make sure they weren’t going to the pound or to be euthanized. "No, we got her from the pound and then she got pregnant."

I realized later this probably wasn’t true because our local shelters won’t release an un-fixed animal, but I wasn’t there to argue, just to make sure they would be cared for. At this point, a little girl came up and said, "Daddy, is that the kitty’s owner?" He told her to shut up. I said that I would not have complained if they wanted them, just that I would like to know before someone comes onto my property.

He asked where I lived and at that point I got a bit testy. I told him and said, "If you can’t find it, ask your children where they got the cats from. Believe me, they know." Then I asked him to put Momma in with the kittens because she was still nursing. He said, "She’s been with them."

At this point I did get angry with the lying. "No, she wasn’t. She cried for them all night long last night — on my doorstep."

I took a deep breath and just asked him to take care of them.

They probably ARE his cats. Part of me is glad they have a home, and the little girl looked like she’d be good with kittens. Knowing that the neighbors are watching, maybe he’ll take better care of them. I do miss their companionship, though.