The Lounge: Crazy Cat Lady Update

November 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm (By Amba)

Imagine two cats curled up near the warmth of that blazing fireplace.

Now imagine three.

*       *       *

I walked into the laundromat and one of the Mexican guys who works there started meowing loudly.

As I walked towards the back to get quarters for the machines, he said to me, “You want cat? Free for you!”

The laundromat owner, who is Chinese or Korean (the same guy who owned the place when I left more than five years ago—greeted me in May as if no time had passed), confirmed that he has an employee who is probably allergic and a wife who is maybe not too crazy about taking care of two rambunctious kittens at home.  A month ago already I had fallen in love with the white one with the Ash Wednesday smudge, when she was tiny, strutting across the counter looking wildly around for comical protrusions of the world that could be played with, pausing to rub against my arm as if we were old best buds. I had gotten as far as telling the laundromat owner, “If you decide you don’t want that cat, talk to me!”

Now the kittens have come home to roost.  (I can really only take one.  The other, whom I haven’t met close up, is black with white trim.  Anyone?)

I told him I’m going away next week (to Chapel Hill) and wouldn’t be back till the 21st. Could he keep the cat till then?  Sure.

Then?  I’ll have to take her straight to the vet, at flamboyant expense, to get deflea’d, wormed, and checked out for nasty viruses before I combine her with my cats.  I’ll need to find someplace for her to stay the night until she’s cleared.  I’ll need to face the higher tower of cat carriers and the tonally enriched symphony of wretched yowls on my forthcoming drive down to Florida. Oy vey.  What am I getting myself into?

Life.  Life is trouble.

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16 Comments

  1. karen said,

    Heh- wanna hear something funny?

    I have a white female kitty w/an Ash Wednesday smudge, too.
    Unreal.

    Allan got 3 kittens w/Si @Richard’s- feral kittens. They were just old enough- barely. The littlest died about two days after my BinL– which is kinda strange because that day we were reminiscing (omg– what a sp disaster that word is) about a deaf kitten he had when he was little and that it had slept under this one cow and you can guess the end of that story… this little one was just- sick.

    I gave the existing white kitty away to my Mom and Dad– and their male cat that i had given them about 11 yrs ago(aren’t i a loving daughter?)ended up being tormented into spraying(he’s fixed- so, how can he do that?).

    We now have three– two torties and Rosie the hellcat:0). I just gave her bro away to a good friend.

    PS- the cockroach story freaked me out:0). I’d rather have mice(we did at the inlaws)than roaches.

  2. amba12 said,

    You spelled “reminiscing” perfectly.

  3. amba12 said,

    Is Rosie the hellcat the one with the smudge?

    Any male cat can spray — it’s just a mechanical thing. But they don’t have much drive to, after they’re fixed. He must have gone into a territorial panic and tried to mark the place as “his.” Or maybe the fact that she was female provoked him into a nostalgic attack of machismo.

  4. karen said,

    My dad named the little hellcat Rosie, yes.

    OJ- a huge, orange(looks Maine Coon, but is really just a farmboy)wuss did go into panic mode. She(otoh) is fearless, but she’s not mean(yet)- she’s just young. My Mom had the rugs done and i think OJ just re-marked his turf, like you said.

    The reason i spelled “reminiscing” so perfectly is because i looked it up in the dictionary after the angry, red line kept me plugging in vowels and moving the ~c~ around:0). It took a little while to even read it correctly from the ‘ary. at all.

    I wouldn’t say i’m a cat person, but i sure have rescued and given away a bucket load of ’em. Ever since i was little. Of course, farms always have tons of cats– only they inbreed and get sick or lousy… because of this, all of ours are fixed!

  5. karen said,

    “The Ultimate Rage Comic: 86th Birthday Rage”…
    I got that off Ace– a cute time-framed comic, but no stinky-linky- sorry.

    ‘Night, all&(love you, amba <3!).

  6. Icepick said,

    Now for 2200+ words of crazy cat lady story:

    Life is Trouble, and Trouble is spelled C-A-T.

    Currently I have nine cats. NINE FREAKIN’ CATS!

    We have our two (really my two), Trixie and Tribbles. We have Mom’s cat, who has been a part of the family since she was a tiny little kit, Nibsy. Nibsy is a coward, and Tribbles thinks Nibsy is the best toy EVER. They do not get along.

    Trixie is a grey/brown/orange tabby/tortie. (It really depends on the lighting.) Tribbles is a white and grey bi-color, which is a fancy way of saying that she’s got two large, separate grey spots – I think of her as a white cat wearing a disguise of a grey hood and a grey cape. Trixie is an orange tabby, and very large for a female.

    Then we have Momma Cat living outside. Momma Cat is/was a feral neighborhood cat. She’s a very striking calico, and fairly young, probably around two years old at the most. Mom’s house was at the center of her range, so after we moved in we saw her a lot, but she wanted nothing to do with us – truly feral. She was just starting to NOT run from me when she had kittens – under our Camry. (Kim had started to call her Patches, but that has gone by the wayside.)

    Last March 30 we had a BIG series of storms – lots of wind. It knocked out power for what would be 30 hours in the neighborhood. On March 31, it started to rain very heavily. We had some things defrosting, and Kim got permission from her office to use their freezer for a day. So I packed stuff up and headed over. Mom was watching at the front door, and when I started the car (which had been moved into the yard to avoid having an oak tree fall on it) Momma Cat came shooting out from under it. When I drove off, Mom saw some things squirming in the rain. Oops. I knew Momma Cat was pregnant (the happy event took place in the back yard, I could hardly miss it) and I knew she was due. Great.

    When I got back home an hour later, I went looking for any kits. One had chosen correctly and had crawled under Mom’s Hyundai. The other kit had chosen incorrectly and had crawled out into the middle of the yard, where it was getting drenched. When I parked in the driveway, Momma Cat went shooting from the side of the house into the back yard. Turns out she had had two more kits on the side of the house in a pile of tree debris. I didn’t realize that until I’d been searching for about an hour and a half in the rain. I almost missed those two. I had already saved the other two (I had to move Mom’s car forward slowly and hope the kit didn’t squirm under a wheel), dried them off as best I could with paper towels and put them in a box on the front porch. After finding the other two, I did the same with them. With no power I couldn’t dry them off any more than I had, but I did put warm water in Ziploc bags and placed them in the box with them. Then I waited for Momma.

    I don’t remember the events too well after that. Too much has happened since then. But I believe that Momma returned that night and started carrying the kittens off. They started disappearing one by one. The next day I discovered that Momma had actually had a fifth kit somewhere. I knew this because she had all of them under Mom’s car which was still in the front yard. Grrr.

    So five kits in all, all under Mom’s car in the middle of the yard – this was not an acceptable situation. So over the next two days I started feeding and watering Momma Cat, trying to win her trust. She was happy for the food and water, still wanted nothing to do with me. After a couple of days I decided I just needed to move them. Kim told me I needed to catch Momma first, and then get the kits. I tried for a little while, but Momma wasn’t going to let me near her. Finally I just started reaching for the kits. I finally (with help from Kim, and maybe from Mom, I don’t remember) managed to get all five kits in a box. I tried to lead Momma to the back of the house, so she could take up residence either on the back porch or back patio. She followed, but was distressed. After much work, she finally got one of the kits away from me. I gave up and let her take them all. (We had moved the car to the drive way at least.) She took them to some house across the street, to another back yard.

    And here’s where I screwed up. She kept coming back for food, and I kept giving it to her. The plan was to get her to bring the kits back, and then to try and adopt them out or give them to a cat rescue place. The problem with the cat rescue places is that they only take cats that are acclimated to humans – no purely feral cats. Grrr.

    Well, I kept feeding Momma and she kept coming back. After a couple of months we started to see signs of the kits again. Eventually found out from a neighbor that three were left. The neighbor had come home one day and Momma was on her front step with the body of one of the little ones, torn in two. No idea how it happened. She had never known there was a fifth one, maybe the rain was too much.

    Anyway, Momma finally brought the remaining three over. Only one of the black & whites had survived, the giant of the litter, whom we called Patches for lack of anything else obvious. There was a mostly black cat that had a perfectly round white spot on his chest, and tiny white spots on some of his toes. We called him Blackie, or Twinkle Toes, or Alger Hiss, but mostly Blackie. (This was maybe not the smartest thing in this neighborhood, but we were just being obvious to go with the oblivious.) The third was a pretty little calico we called Callie. As you see, we were very creative.

    Anyway, the cats started hanging out with us. One day only three of them showed up – Patches was missing. Momma came back with his body a couple hours later. No idea what happened to him, but I think he drowned somehow the night before. We’d had a big storm. The cats rode it out under (or in) our cars, nice and dry. But when they went back to the nest that night perhaps he stumbled into something wet. His coat was soaked, in any event.

    So we were down to three cats, Momma Cat, Callie and Blackie. Blackie was a pistol, Callie a coward, and now Momma Cat had warmed up to me – she liked her scratches, as I call them. Callie’s cowardice proved a problem – she would only let me pet her once or twice when I fed her, and then she’d take off. So I couldn’t take them to an adoption place. This was a shame as Callie is a real beauty. I think Momma is more impressive, but most people prefer Callie. (She’s got a softer looking face – Momma looks kind of fierce.)

    We also couldn’t find anyone that was interested in adopting them, unfortunately. But I was playing with Blackie, and petting and scratching Momma, and trying to win over Callie.

    While all this is going on, Mom was getting sicker, going into the hospital, getting radiation treatment, etc. In short, she was dying. My sister had come down to stay with us and take care of Mom, which was its own set of stresses. (There’s a lot of friction there, and I’ll leave it at that.)

    Come late August I had to acknowledge the obvious – Momma Cat has gone and got herself knocked up again. Sigh. I didn’t hear the ‘nuptials’ this time, and given that the previous occasion had had a big build up over several nights, I was surprised this happened without my knowledge. I know who the father was this time, though. The stocky black Tom cat that had been hanging around off and on had to be the father. He may have been the first time too, though there had been several suitors. (Most of whom I hadn’t seen around before, and barely since.)

    But Momma was definitely knocked up again. Mom’s health was also failing. On September 15, we saw Blackie for the last time. We still don’t know what actually happened, but we have reason to believe the pit bulls next door caught him and killed him. It may have been his father that was killed (we just found out about it a few days ago), and Blackie may have run off, but I don’t think so. We just know a black cat was killed and Callie was very distraught – she may not have been much for my company, but she and her brother were running mates. On the 16th Mom went into hospice care. On the 17th Momma gave birth to four kits. Over the next few days I was worried about Momma Cat. I suspect that there may have been a fifth kit that trapped in utero. Momma had bad discharges off and on for the next week or so. I would have taken her to a vet but (a) I had no money to spare, (b) I was afraid to separate her from the other kits, and (c) Mom was dying at this point. So I did what I could for Momma Cat when I was home, and took care of my daughter and visited Mom in hospice.

    Momma Cat by this point had the sense to have the kits in our back yard. Also, she was willing to bring them on the porch after a few days. Then she started moving them around again. She took them into the back yard under a large bush – and then she stayed on the porch when the rains came. So I had to go rescue another batch of soggy kits. Momma Cat didn’t seem to know that the rains were going to last a few days. Oh well.

    On the 27th of September Mom died. She’s not in this story much because this story is about me turning into a crazy cat lady. Maybe at some point I’ll write more about her, maybe not. But not here on this night, on this forum.

    Momma Cat finally stopped having the vaginal discharge. She seemed better, the kits kept growing. And now she has them on the front porch, which has meant that I occasionally have to stare down large dogs. About a week ago two LARGE German Sheppards were out there. They could have done ME serious harm. Fortunately I’m not scared of dogs and I know how to bully them with posture and voice. But it was close for the kits.

    So now I have six cats outside. I told you about Momma Cat and Callie. Callie is finally making up with me. I’m afraid I’ve ruined her as a feral cat. She’s been eating the food I put out since she was a few weeks old. Momma Cat had caught squirrels and snakes and such for her kits, and they played with them, but getting free food is easy and I don’t think Callie is much of a hunter. I’m sure Momma Cat could go feral again with no trouble, but Callie I’m not sure of. And now we have Rorschach (white with grey spots and the runt of the litter – if you know Watchmen you’ll get the picture), Fuzzy (a fat grey and white cat with lots of fur – but she is a fat kitten and has been since the start; I didn’t know kits could be fat when they were born), Kumquat (an orange tabby Tom, who will probably grow into a grapefruit looking at his paws) and Tortie (a tortie whose coat seems to change every day, she’s got kind of an unattractive face, but her coat will probably be spectacular otherwise). They now do something the other kittens did when they were this size – the climb up into the engines of our cars. At least this batch mostly likes us from the get go. Or at least they like that we feed them.

    I’ve got takers for three of the kits, but I’m not sure if they’ll actually come take them or not. I’m hoping they do. All of them will let us handle them, so I can take them to a rescue if I have to. Kim’s getting attached to the wee ones, but I’m mostly not. I am attached to Momma Cat, though, and feel protective of Callie, and I need to make certain both are fixed before I get stuck with another litter or two.

    So … does anyone need any cats?

  7. Icepick said,

    Also, do I win?

  8. amba12 said,

    Whew. *belly up in abject surrender*

    (We did temporarily have a total of 32, once, though. Including 3 simultaneous litters of kittens, I hasten to add, most of whom went to other homes.)

    How do you get them out of the engine of your car before you start the car??

  9. amba12 said,

    Rorschach and Kumquat are great names, by the way.

  10. amba12 said,

    Sounds like a law firm: Rorschach & Kumquat, LLC.

  11. Icepick said,

    Rorschach is obvious if you saw her. Kumquat not so much, and that one is credited to Kim. (Who says, “WE ARE NOT NINE CAT PEOPLE!”)

    How to get them out of the car? Good questions. This bunch is a little easier to deal with, because they’ve grown up around us. Put out food and they’ll probably come out in a few minutes on their own. The first three were much tougher. They discovered the inside of the car through terror when some large dog came after them. It took a lot of time to get them out. At first they’d climb to the top, so when I put the hood up I could just lift them out. But they learned where the nooks were deep in the compartment. Basically you plead, bribe, beg, yell and whatnot until they come out. It can take some time, and it is highly aggravating.

  12. A said,

    I’m about to get some feral cats delivered here in the hope that they’ll impact the considerable population of rodents, some of which climb up into the engine compartment of my van and do damage. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might end up having to worry about cats in there too before I start the engine… Yikes.

  13. Icepick said,

    I’m about to get some feral cats delivered here in the hope that they’ll impact the considerable population of rodents, some of which climb up into the engine compartment of my van and do damage. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might end up having to worry about cats in there too before I start the engine… Yikes.

    I haven’t had to worry about the older kitten or the Momma, nor was Blackie a problem once he got older. So if they’re grown you’ll probably be okay, though I have heard stories of grown cats doing that occassionally.

  14. LouiseM said,

    I’ve two now.
    Since he left
    They follow me
    From room to room,
    Sleeping near
    Sitting close
    Quietly declaring
    Themselves
    Present
    And myself
    Accounted for.

  15. amba12 said,

    LIKE

  16. karen said,

    LIKE, 2.

    But, sad…

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