Wednesday, July 30, 2014

House of Cats - Part Three, Tiffany and More

So, if you're keeping count, the House of Cats isn't too crazy at this point. We had Anya, the father, Chelsea, the mama, and the four kittens from the first litter, which included Dickens and Sammy. Six cats - no biggie, right?

We had no freaking clue. We didn't rush to get Anya fixed because we didn't think Chelsea could get pregnant again so quickly. Guess what? She could. And this time she got REALLY big - so big, she had to walk downstairs sideways, taking one step at a time. She had seven kittens this time around. We made a bed for Chelsea and her kittens in an old Samsonite suitcase and kept it at the foot of my bed.

A few days later, some jerk tossed a kitten from his car as he drove past an elementary school - the same elementary school my younger brother and sisters attended, as it happens. My sisters smuggled it home and begged me to hide it. "Just put it in with the other kittens," they said. "Mom and Dad will never notice."

Well, um, it's just possible a kitten that's about 7 weeks old might stand out from day old kittens, especially since the New Kid was a tiger cat and the new batch were a mix of white, gray, and dusty gray-and-white cats with vaguely Siamese markings. But, what the heck? Who was going to notice one more kitten? So we kept her. We named the new kitten Tiffany. Because she wasn't quite weaned, Tiffany loved to snuggle up and massage us with her paws while she "nursed" our shirts - she liked the guys' sweaty t-shirts the best! Because she was so cuddly, Tiffany quickly became a favorite.

Tiffany and me and my 18th birthday cake

Tiffany complaining to me about my picture-taking

Dickens trying to open the screen door

Dickens, still trying to open the screen door, and Tiffany


The cat count, as you may have noticed, has gone up significantly. Anya and Chelsea and the original four kittens make six, plus the seven kittens from the second litter, plus Tiffany equals fourteen. But it doesn't end here...because we still hadn't gotten Anya neutered at this point. And, who knew? Kittens can get pregnant as young as six months.

Yep, shortly after Chelsea gave birth to her second litter, the females from her first litter (which turned out to be three of the four) started giving birth to their own kittens. Because they were so young, presumably, none had more than one kitten, and none of their kittens survived for more than a few days. But for those few days, our house was pure cat CHAOS. Chelsea would take her kittens and hide them in the cabinet where we kept bread. Her mama-kittens would steal her kittens, hide them somewhere else, and then put their kittens in with the bread. 

Three things happened around this time. We had Anya fixed, finally. And my brother Thom used some creative carpentry to build a multi-story cat house in our two-car garage. The third thing? I started dating Marty Davis, a dog-owner who had no experience with cats and wasn't all that thrilled by the idea of cats. I'll never forget the first time he came over. First of all, there were my sisters, perfectly comfortable running around the house in bikinis while my youngest brother, Russ, nearly died of embarrassment when Marty saw him in his Jockeys and a Batman cape, running around and singing the Batman theme song at the top of his lungs. Marty had a brother the same age as Russ so he wasn't too surprised by the whole Batman thing. But he turned beet red when my giggling sisters ran past him.

And then someone opened the door from the garage into the house...

As Marty describes it, at that point a wall of cats poured through the door, taking off in every direction. I wish we had a movie camera back then - I would have loved to capture that on film!



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