Friday, December 21, 2007

Mama Cat and Baby Cat

I've wanted to blog this story for a while now, and I thought today would be as good a day as any.

Wonderful Husband is allergic to cats. Very allergic. Up until about a year and a half ago, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not ever be a cat owner again (we always had them growing up). WH and I had a number of conversations about the possibility of getting a dog someday, and we had a freakishly tenancious Beta fish, so I wasn't particularly wanting for cats.

Until WH and I moved into our little old house, he lived in an apartment in the basement of the church where he is the music director. It was a great living arrangement, and the apartment had a nifty back yard, which WH and a friend had outfitted with a deck. In May 2006, a very large black tomcat appeared on this back deck, and took up occasional residence under WH's stack of deck chairs. About a day after he first arrived, so too did a much smaller black female. Both cats were clearly homeless. What we didn't realize at the time, but connected on later, was that somebody had abandoned both cats in a box on the doorstep of the church with a can of tuna. Remind me to rant another day about responsible pet ownership.

Both cats were very friendly, especially after we put out a can of chicken flakes for them. If either one of us sat down in the back yard, the little cat would jump up on our lap and purr away. I should clarify that despite WH's allergy, he quite likes cats, and I think we were both delighted by how social these two were. We went out and bought a bag of proper cat food. We probably should have realized at this point that we were big suckers, but in a faint-hearted demonstration of our iron will, we stated that we would continue to feed the cats, but they had to be outdoors. After all, WH is allergic.

WH phoned me at work the next day to let me know that both cats were sleeping peacefully on the couches in his living room. WH's heart was lost to the cats, especially to the wee female, and I have to confess that I was pretty fond of them as well. It was, however, entirely WH's call. After all, he's allergic. We went out and bought a litter box.

A few days after the intial introduction to indoor living, the tomcat disappeared for good. We had expected this, given that young male cats tend to be transient anyway. But the little female showed no signs of wanting to go anywhere but into a lap or onto a couch. We were adopted. WH sneezed a lot.

About three weeks after she made WH's apartment her home, our little cat's tummy began to expand outwards. She didn't get bigger anywhere else; it was just her tummy that grew. So we googled "How can you tell if your cat is pregnant." The first website we found said, "If your cat is female, unfixed and has been outdoors, she's pregnant." So we took her to the vet, and the vet laughed at us and said that yes, she was CLEARLY pregnant, due a mere three weeks later. We spent the next three weeks feverishly learning everything we could about kittens and mother cats and their care.

On the morning of July 1st, 2006, Mama Cat gave birth to five beautiful, perfectly healthy kittens. We cried when the first one was born. Three of the kittens were black like their mama, and two were white. Adorable doesn't even begin to describe them. It was amazing to see how instinctive Mama Cat was. She just knew what to do, all the time.

So, if you're doing the math, we had gone from zero cats to six cats in the space of about a month. We decided pretty early on that we were going to keep one kitten to be company for Mama Cat. Eventually, we chose the little while female. As she has grown up, her face, paws and tail have turned dark, so her colouring is like that of a siamese cat. We successfully found homes for all four other kittens.

WH's allergies have pretty much gone away, or at least, he's no longer allergic to our cats. We are a pretty happy little family of four.


Presbyterian Gal said...

What a beautiful story! Being a life long cat person I commend your husband's body's cooperation in overcoming the allergy.

A Merry Catmas for you.

stealthdachshund said...

Did I tell you I think I saw Tomcat one night after practice?
He looked fat and happy.

Towanda said...

My mom's #1 cat rule: You feed it, it's yours!

Diane said...

yes, great story. I wish my husband's allergies would go away. Anyway, my old cat died...

I like dogs now, but my first love was cats.

I LOVE your pictures.