“Mewsing” About My Cats on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon:
I buried Spooky’s ashes today: April 3, 2016. He was 15 years old, born in 2000, the year before I quit breeding and had the whole tribe of about a dozen cats neutered and spayed to live out their lives in leisure. He died this January, the last of the cats I bred in my cattery called “Kahima Himalayans”.
That venture made virtually no money but generally paid for itself and brought me 20+ years of both joy and sadness. There were many happy times with healthy new babies being born and the fun of finding them good new ‘forever’ homes. But there were enough hard times with various traumatic events, difficult customers, and disappointing sales to tarnish my memories.
It seems I tend to recall the bad memories more vividly than the good, and I wonder if that is my way to assure I am never tempted to begin breeding pedigreed kittens again. Yet now I have introduced a different level of that undertaking with the tribe of outdoor cats who live around my carport! With spring now here, I can expect a couple new litters to arrive in the next month or two since we failed to catch two of the breeding queens for spaying.
There are about 8 or 10 cats who have been coming to eat every morning this winter, and all but two have clipped ears (to show they were ‘fixed’) The main mother cat, Spot, is one of those and continues to harass the others at the food dish, scaring some of them away. That can be both annoying and helpful.
Last fall I managed to hand-catch 6 young baby kittens and get them to a woman who placed them in new homes. But I missed two, and they are now grown up. After spaying and neutering a total of 24 cats in 2014-15, I can no longer afford to pay for more. I may just have to stop feeding at all and they might wander off to find homes elsewhere.
But from Spot’s last litter, two of the ones I call “dark stripes” have become very tame and do not allow her to scare them off. They are first to come and meet me when I arrive home at night and again in the morning when I go out to feed them. They love to be petted and sit watching me when I work in the yard. I have come to feel very fond of those two. All the others are very shy and run off whenever anyone approaches them.
But I am not sure it is good to tame the feral cats as that makes them more vulnerable to getting hurt by bad people. I just hope this pair is smarter than the two little black and white kitties that disappeared last year over the Fourth of July… (another sadness.) Probably I make a bit too much of these outdoor “kids” but they do help make up for the absence of all my old indoor buddies.
Of course, I do have my two “babies” that I brought home in October 2014, with the premonition that my last remaining old timers would not live many more years. (I couldn’t picture living without kitty companions in the house with me.) I never guessed that all four of them would be dead within another year!
But Obie and Titi have surely done the job of filling my life and my home with vivacious kitty energy and amusing antics. Plus, they are both affectionate and gentle companions to me and to each other.
Titi is the more rambunctious one, having “loony spells” of chasing and climbing and jumping, making general chaos. Obie is the mellow fellow, preferring to plop down on his back and get his tummy rubbed. He will chase and wrestle with Titi, but less roughly , which is good because he is much bigger than she is.
Obie does his own mischief by stealing socks, cellophane wrappers, hair scrunchies, and dish rags…. He carries them off in his mouth, then tosses them in the air and pounces on them as if tormenting mice or birds that he’s caught play-hunting.
Obie and Titi bring me much joy and they fill my home with warmth and a calming presence. Although I have never had so few cats with me before, I find that these two are plenty. We can grow old together nicely.