Further Cat Tales

There are two kinds of cat people in our neighborhood. First, are the cowboys who believe cats were created for the sole purpose of controlling the spread of mice in barns and woodpiles. Period. Second, are the animal lovers who feel bad for the critters who are out there fighting, scrounging and multiplying. An animal-lover’s heartstrings pull every time she sees the inbreeding that leads to death, neurotic behavior or diseased kittens.

Nine-year-old Brigit falls into the second category. And that’s why we are now taking care of three abandoned mama cats. (We only had two mommies at last writing, but they are multiplying!) Little did we realize how much cat food, cat litter and poop scooping this project was going to require! And there’s heartache too.

Pregnant Mommy #2 is named Glory. She had a terrible time giving birth. Three babies came out during the night. But she wouldn’t nurse them. She was uncomfortable. Clearly there were more kittens in her bloated tummy. So I held her up and Brigit rubbed with downward strokes on her belly. Still she paced and we worried.

After thirty-six hours she expelled a dead kitten. Still she paced. But eventually she settled into caring for her babies.

After three weeks of life her kittens remain fragile-looking. Mommy #1, Spot, has kittens who are feisty four-week-olds and they look huge compared to Glory’s kittens. They have lost that scrawny, hamster-look. Now they are pouncing and playing. All eyes and ears, they are remarkably cute.

It reminds me that God created babies to be so adorable so mommies will put up with their never-ending demands. Who can look at a baby, of any species, and not be moved?

Brigit caught Mommy #3 two week ago. She looks like a baby herself. And she has been totally confused about her expanding belly. At first she hissed and scratched when we came near her. But after being well fed, and feeling frightened by what was happening inside her body, she decided to accept some attention.

We call her Little Tiger now. Her eyes were wide this morning and she stayed hunched down over her big belly. “She’s ready to pop,” Brigit said. (She has the lingo down after reading up on cat pregnancies.)

Sure enough she gave birth a few hours ago. She is dazed and unsure what to do. Her kittens are smaller than any of the others. They look like tiny mice. She too has delivered a dead baby.

We have held two funerals and still there are ten babies!

I wondered out loud why the other cat, whose been hanging around our barn, isn’t pregnant. She’s friendly and likes to stay directly under my feet, tripping me when I walk. Brigit lifted Sox’s tail.

“Mom,” she said with exasperation, “‘She’ is a ‘he’ and that’s why we have all these kittens!”

So I guess we’ll start with surgery for the proud little daddy. Now I see that he stays close by all the cages with the mommies and babies. He purrs and tries to get a good portion of the wet food they get. He keeps his tail held high.

Well, Sox, it’s time to stop being so prolific! But your babies are oh-so-beautiful!

About the Author: Judith Costello and her family live at Sagging Acres Farm in rural New Mexico. Their assortment of animals seems to keep expanding even in spite of the constricting economic climate! Somehow, God provides. Her email is: judith@parentingwithspirit.com.

About Judith Costello

A certified art therapist, Judith is the author of numerous articles and books on parenting and child development, including Zen Parenting. She writes from Moriarty, New Mexico.