When we lived in a townhouse, I looked out the kitchen window one spring afternoon and on our small patio sat a calico cat with four kittens surrounding her. I thought they belonged to a neighbor, but the next day, there they were again. They were scratching their ears as they had done the previous afternoon.
I went out to check on them and discovered all five had ear mites, and the mother cat appeared to be malnourished. Our vet was kind enough to let me have eardrops without seeing the strays. For 13 days, I dropped medication into 20 ears twice a day. You can do the math.
The owner of the local pet shop was glad to let me post a sign in an effort to get homes for the cats. One man came to look at them and called his wife to say they were healthy and beautiful. I asked him several questions and was convinced he and his wife loved animals. He agreed to take two kittens and the mother. I asked him to return the mother if she didn't adjust. Two days later, he called and said the mother constantly cried and stared at him. He brought her back, but I didn't want to adopt her because we had a dog. I found homes for the other two kittens, but the mother stayed on the patio.
I made a bed in the storage shed, gave her water and fed her. In late fall, I went out and there she was in her bed with seven kittens. My next-door neighbor did not like cats, but she had no dogs, so I began to talk to her about the cats. She worked each day, and I was a college student, so we were both busy. When I came home from classes one day, there sat Cheryl, my neighbor, on an inverted bucket, watching the mother cat and her kittens. She began to watch them each evening. She thought they were fascinating.
One day, she said, "Dolly, I'm going to keep them in my apartment, and we'll both work to get homes for them." I don't know what the mother cat said to Cheryl, but it worked. She let those kittens and mama have the run of her townhouse. They played and tipped over flowerpots and wreaked havoc in a number of ways. Cheryl thought all that was so cute.
The time came for adoptions, so back I went to the pet store to advertise. The owner adopted one kitten that looked just like her mother, and he named her Callie. We found good homes for all the kittens and Cheryl kept a little gray kitten she named Pixie.
I adopted the mother, and she would have no more kittens. The vet discovered her tail had been either pulled hard or caught in a door. It was hanging only by the skin, so it had to be removed. I named her Elizabeth Tailless. After all, she had beautiful eyes, in-depth compassion and great acting ability. Besides, she was no virgin.
Elizabeth and our 19-year-old Peke-a-poo moved to the country with us. Elizabeth was a one-person cat, and I was that one person. She remained a good friend for many years. She now reposes in our pet cemetery with three other four-legged family members. Having pets makes us less selfish and more humane.
Contact writer Dolly Withrow at ritew...@aol.com.