Growing Pains

Alp was a stray that had showed up at my niece's house.  Not wanting the cat, she called me.  Knowing how dangerous the area had become for cats, I decided to feed Alp inside the house and only let her out when she wanted.  She would come and go but living with her soon became intolerable.  She often neglected to use the litter box which was reason enough to put her outside but she was also destructive.  When she ripped part of the side of the wicker dresser loose from the frame, I had had enough.  Alp went outside for good.

That did not seem to bother her.  She had always seemed indifferent to me and with her food outside she didn't complain.  She was a good outside cat.  She kept the mice and squirrel population at bay which is all I required.

Then she had kittens.  Three.  At this point, and the reason I had named her Alp, was that I was/am a bit squeamish about inspecting a cat's private parts.  I kicked around the idea of having her fixed and the kittens.  I just put it off.  After all the trouble I had had with mice and squirrels I figured cat food is cheap and I could afford to keep a few cats around the place.  Also I figured I might lose some.  It turned out all three of those kittens were female and all three had kittens.

At one time I had 15 cats and kittens!

Alp disappeared soon after the kittens were born but I still had 14 so no worries.

Then one of the kittens disappeared.  There were a few of the kittens that were more tame than the others and this was one of them and my fav.  He was a runt and so ugly he was cute.  I had already decided to name him Ugly.

There were three others I liked a lot too.  ProudMary (because of the way she walked and held her head) who later became Mr.Proud; JuneCarter (resemblance) who kept the name even though he turned out to be male.  The other one was Boss because he would make the others wait until he finished eating.

Cheap cat food or no, it was time for action.  I put an add in the paper saying I had free kittens for adoption.  I did get one response - a lady who wanted to give me her cat.  Oh well.  As much as I hated to do it I took most of them to the shelter.  I thought well, they'll find a home for them.  But the people there were not happy.  When I asked if they would likely find a home, the reply was, "no, they will probably be put to sleep."  I was heartsick and determined this would not happen again.

I kept the three named kittens.  Life was good for awhile and then one day I didn't see Mr.Proud anymore.  It wasn't long until JuneCarter disappeared as well.  Dang!  Feast or famine, what to do?  There was really nothing I could do, just had to hope that Boss could survive.  Survive SHE did - well, long enough to have a litter of three kittens.  They were barely weaned when I lost her.  Of the three kittens, one survived - I had named him Satan - he had his mother's turn but with a vengeance.

I pretty much stayed out of his way and for the most part he ignored me but would occasionally allow a quick pat on the head.  One morning I opened the door and there lay a headless mouse.  It was a peace offering I guess and one I truly appreciated.  I changed his name to Precious.

I had Precious about three years.  He began roaming when he was about two years old.  He would stay gone for a couple days at first, then a week.  Then he would be gone for 2 or 3 months at time.

It was during this time I got a call from my nephew saying he had a kitten they were feeding with a bottle.  It had been abandoned.  It was actually a friend of his who had brought it to my nephew saying he had heard it crying - actually I think all night and part of the next day - but he didn't want to take care of it so was looking for someone who would take it.  My nephew didn't really want it either as he had a couple cats.

So begins Annie's story.

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