Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Cats' Begats

It's been awhile since I've talked about our cat children. They're all doing quite well, although the long-hairs are fighting hairballs and hair mats. We've tried to keep them brushed, but with the spring shedding in full swing, it's hard. Simon is scheduled for his yearly lion cut next week, and we've taken the scissors to Luna ourselves.

If you remember, Luna is the carefree one who is just here to hang out and have a good time. When he gets caught in the rain, he cleans himself dry and it's then that he looks his best. The rest of the time ... well ... rolling in the dirt is just more fun.

But this isn't about Simon or Luna or Baby or Sunny or Boo or Max or Jack or Jilly. It was four years ago when we rescued "The Babies" from the field down the road after someone dumped a whole barnful of cats. We didn't take all the cats we saw down there, just the five tiny kittens, who came to be known as Boo, Luna, Baby, Oreo and Augie.

We already had two cats - Simon and Jinx (bless his soul) - and that was enough. But we just couldn't bear to see those little furballs having to fend for themselves like that. We tried to find homes for them, but cats are more plentiful than those who want to own them, so the only one we were able to place was Augie, one of the two females in the litter. My co-worker Renee took Augie, which her kids promptly renamed "Cow." Kara and Adam later adopted Oreo.

As you might guess, Cow was a black and white kitten, like her siblings Luna, Baby and Oreo. Only Boo was different, being all black. Renee and her family wanted a female because they wanted a cat that would have its own litter of kittens.

Sometime the next year, Cow had her first litter and went on to have a couple more in the next two years. She had her final litter just five weeks ago, but only one kitten survived and she refused to nurse her. All of Cow's offspring found homes except for one, which Renee kept. "Cookie" looked very much like her mother, Cow, and just had her own litter about three weeks ago. The kitten that Cow refused to nurse? Cookie took her in as if she were her own.

Tonight after work, I went to Renee's house to visit Cow and Cookie and their kittens. I hadn't seen Cow since Renee adopted her, so I was pretty excited to see how our "baby" had turned out, now that she was all grown up.

As soon as I got out of the car, I saw her and recognized her straight away. She hadn't really changed all that much and she definitely looked like the cats at our house. She had that same aloof look on her face that Oreo is famous for, and her personality was similar. I picked her up and I felt like I was holding one of my own. She even had that same ultra-soft feel to her fur that Baby and Oreo have.

We walked into the garage to see Cookie, where she was laying down with six kittens vying for any free nipple. Her kittens were mostly calico and a couple were gray. We've not had any calicos at our house and I wanted one!

Cookie, nursing her own five kittens plus her own
half-sister that her mother, Cow, refused.

Regretfully, I left there without a kitten. They're only three weeks old, after all, and I think Renee said they're all spoken for anyway. It's just as well, but the whole idea of adopting one of the kittens and bringing it home to meet and live with its aunt and uncles is rather enticing!


Nancy J. Bond said...

Kylie, they're all beautiful. Is there anything sweeter than a kitten? Mama's pretty sweet herself. :)

Laura said...

I enjoyed reading this post. We had a cat at work that we ended up naming "Mama" because she had 3 litters in one year. She was a beautiful tortoise shell with a cream colored marking on her chest that made it look like she was wearing a necklace. I ended up adopting two of her kittens (one out of each of the first 2 litters). We actually had a waiting list for her 3rd litter!

I've always been a dog person, but my cats Stormy and Windy are the best!

Jane O' said...

The last pet in our house our dog Jackie, died last week. I'm yearning for a cat but I'm just not ready yet. We're both still in mourning. We're trying to see how long we can go without an animal. The last time we made it for three weeks. A kitty would be just fine with me this time. Yours look so adorable.

Shady Gardener said...

Kylee, I can tell you'd have loved to take one home. What would the People in your household say? ;-)

Rosie's Whimsy said...

How sweet! We have 6 rescues at home of various I feel se are full up....but I am always tempted when I see a little fur baby. :-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Those kittens are so sweet. Sometimes I wish we had a cat. I don't think Luna would like that. I am not sure though. If she could boss it around she might. I don't think that would be likely. Cats are usually boss in the household.

Anonymous said...

All those cats and kittens are photogenic. I loved reading the story about how you rescued the original gang. You have a true heart of gold.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

I give my kittycats Gimpet malt paste against hairballs and it works a treat. They love the paste and lick it off my fingers so no problem there either. ;-)

Those kittens of Cookie look adorable and I can understand very well why you'd like a calico, as I have one in my Vita.

Great pic of you and Cow (aka Augie).

Have a lovely weekend!

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Serious "cute attack" happening here right now! Oh my goodness, are those little striped heads cute or what?!?! I can see why it was hard to resist. They are just precious.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Unknown said...

What a great story. Cookie is such a nice sister. Kittens always have this weird effect on me so I want one. I avoid them like the plague or Cheesehead would get mad at me, I just can't refuse a cute little furball!

kate smudges said...

Ah, you look great with Cow. What a sweetie. Cookie looks most content with all the babies. I love calicos ... had one named Titi for many years.

One of these days ... another calico will come into your life.

I can't believe how green the lawn looks in the picture.

Unknown said...

Oh, Kylee, don't resist. You know Renee will have at least one person who backs out of wanting a kitten...I love watching mother cats with their babies, especially if they're the relaxed, happy type of mamma cats. Makes me want to try again adopting...this time a couple of baby-cats to keep each other amused. We'll see what spring brings.

Rose said...

There is nothing cuter than a baby kitten! This reminded me of all the kittens I've had over the years, including several calicos. All our cats have now been neutered so there are no more litters at our house each spring, which makes my granddaughter very sad.

A wildlife gardener said...

I'm a sucker for the kitties...all adorable. We have one of our own and three I look after who choose to live in our barn though their owner lives nearby :)

Victoria Williams said...

I love cats. Presently we only have one. At one point we had a mother cat, kept one of her kittens, and then a "grandkitty" of hers, Benji. He was our best cat ever.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi - just found your lovely blog via Kate's site - and couldn't help but leave a comment here - the kittens are heavenly! We have 2 cats in France - wish they could always stay kitten size!! Some beautiful photography on your site - will visit again! Miranda

Kylee Baumle said...

I'm glad you all liked the kitty story. I'm glad to see one of The Babies doing so well "away from home."

I'm afraid I just can't proactively take a cat in. They just seem to find their way here on their own, so it's a case of them choosing us, instead of the other way around!

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