So then I knew, without a doubt, how babies got out, and I don’t remember my mother’s explanation for her C-sections, but she must have been fast on her feet. My sister was born. More kittens were born. Another sister was born. More kittens were born.
My mom is one of those well-intentioned people rescued every stray cat and dog that found their way to our yard. I think that part of it was working at the police department, being good friends with an animal control officer, and knowing that the likelihood an animal coming out of the shelter was almost zero.
But, like so many people who want to help, my mom didn’t have the money to do more than feed them. We had a large property, a garden with a big field behind it, and two outbuildings. So I can’t say that our cats had a bad life. They had food, shelter, and love. It’s better than being “put to sleep.”
I, however, made the decision that when I grew up, I would never have an outside pet. I lost too many cats to the road. I decided that I would never get into my mother’s situation. And when I was a teenager and a friend brought me an older kitten (because his dad told him “get rid of that damn cat or I will”) I asked my mom if I could keep him inside, and I had him neutered. I was working. I paid for it. Poor Pyewackett made many trips to the vet for respiratory infections, and I paid all the bills.
(Pyewackett did all the damage to the bookcase.)
After Pyewackett came Zelda, my sister’s cat. She thought he was a girl. He wasn’t. I haven’t got a pic of him on this computer, but he was a big, handsome tuxedo cat. Then came Snuffy. Snuffy was another part-Siamese, but he was white and gray. There was a free-roaming tom cat in the neighborhood we called Mr. Smith. He looked just like Snuffy, and my mom still had outside cats, so we gave Snuffy his father’s name. And then next year, Snuffy’s half-sister Sugar.
They were our inside cats.
When I went to live in New York, I left Pyewackett to live with my mother, because he was getting to be an old man cat and had a cat crush on Sugar. I felt out of sorts in New York, not having a cat, so I went to the Little Shelter in Huntington (a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs so you should check it out if you’re in NY!) and adopted Mika.
Mika was about five when I adopted her, and she had been at the shelter for seven months. The shelter workers told me that if I hadn’t taken her, she likely would never have been adopted because black cats are passed over for “pretty” cats and due to superstition. I had Mika for a year when I decided that she seemed lonely. We were living in an apartment complex with a large feral cat colony, and she spent all her time sitting on the window sill, watching the feral cats.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: FERAL CATS DO NOT SPREAD TOXOPLASMOSIS OR RABIES OR SALMONELLA OR WHATEVER OTHER NONSENSE THE AUDUBON SOCIETY WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE. I FED AND EVEN TOUCHED SOME OF THOSE FERAL CATS AND NEVER EVEN GOT SCRATCHED. FERAL CATS DO NOT HAVE A SOOPER SEEKRIT PLAN TO KILL ALL THE SONGBIRDS. THEY EAT MOSTLY VOLES AND FROGS. THEY KEEP DOWN THE VERMIN POPULATION IN THEIR AREA. DO NOT ARGUE WITH ME. I KNOW OF WHICH I SPEAK.*
I had in mind adopting a feral kitten, but my ex-husband came home from work one day and said HEY HERE’S A KITTEN GET ME A BEER, and that’s how I got Kumo.
Kumo is still with me. Mika passed away from stomach cancer on February 14, 2012.
Mika beat Kumo up until he learned his place. Then we moved to a large house and I wanted another kitten. And again I got HEY HERE’S A KITTEN, GET ME A BEER.
Kumo didn’t have to beat up Justin. Neither did Mika. Kumo is a strong believer in quiet intimidation.
So I have these three cats, and then my marriage implodes, and I put them in their carriers in my SUV, and I drive them from New York to North Carolina alone. I had a friend from North Carolina driving a box truck with most of my belongings, but we got separated, and I ended up spending the night in a motel in Virginia with three cats and A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL.
I moved back in with my mother. Pyewackett and Zelda were gone. Snuffy was over 14, and Sugar had never recovered from Pyewackett’s death. When Snuffy got sick, and I determined he had no quality of life, I took him to the vet and had him euthanized. They did the procedure outside. The last things he saw were my face and the blue sky.
Sugar died soon after that. My mother still had two elderly outside cats, and they both eventually died in their sleep.
There will be a part three and probably four to this post, so I don’t want to end part two on a sad note. We have Kumo and Justin, they’re neutered, Kumo had major ear surgery a couple of years ago and it was a long recovery, and he’s not jumping onto the washing machine anymore BECAUSE HE’S A FURRY GRAY TUB O’LARD, but he’s doing well.
Justin is an odd cat who likes to spend his spare time staring into corners like the guy at the end of The Blair Witch Project.
In part three, I’ll get to Crazy Cat Ladies, Crazy Anti-Cat Hysterics, and possibly Crazy Cat Ladies Who Also Collect Dolls. That last may be a post in itself.