Annie's Story

With a bottle the size of my little finger and kitten formula (I didn't know they made such a thing), I picked up this little ball of fur with shiny eyes.  It looked up at me, grasp tight to my shirt and snuggled against my body.  Here I wanted to get all sentimental and sappy - in fact I wrote two paragraphs of sentimental and sappy stuff - then hit the delete key.

Somewhere along the way in life, I realized you can't tell people how you feel.  Maybe if you are Poe or Browning but clearly I'm not so I'll just skip it.  Please bear with me though because this is hard to write.

Within minutes this little kitten was seeking sustenance, sucking on my shirt and seeking more substantial fare.  I fixed her a bottle.  Eagerly she sucked down the formula.

Annie thrived!  Soon I noticed I was mentioning her in conversations with people just like parents will do about their children.  Annie did this and Annie did that.  Oh geez.

It was not long before she wanted outside and I applied the parenting style I had used with my sons - give her as much freedom as possible.  I worried she would become a victim of wild animals in the area but best I could tell she didn't stray off into the woods.  Besides squirrels and rabbits, the only wild animals I had ever seen in the yard were deer, opossums and armadillos.  None of which were of any concern.

Days and weeks and months passed.  She began spending most of her time outside.  That was fine with me because she had more than her share of curiosity and energy.  I'm still missing one of my chess pieces...
Maybe it was because I raised her on a bottle or maybe she was just exceptional, whichever or both, I developed a strong emotional attachment to her.

I began thinking about having her fixed.  I dreaded it so much!  My niece suggested I let her have one litter of kittens.  This sounded like a good idea - no reason I couldn't have more than one cat.  Also it put off the inevitable for awhile.  No doubt this was the real reason.

At any rate, she was barely grown when one day, Precious showed up!  It has been months if not a year since I had seen him.  He and Annie hit it off right away.  Of course.  Thinking about Annie having kittens at some time in the future is one thing.  Thinking that the time is now is another.  Plus I still had the the memories, way too fresh, of the kittens and the animal shelter.  I called the vet.  The lady told me if there was even a possibility the cat was pregnant, they would not do surgery on her.  The die was cast.

Precious hung around a few days, often taking Annie for excursions into woods, then left again.  It seemed not to bother Annie, in fact nothing did - not the wild animals nor lost love nor pregnancy.

It was sometime after this picture was taken, Annie delivered three kittens.  I was not about to make the mistake I had made before and called the vet about when I could have her fixed.  As soon as it was possible I took her to the vet.  On the way I talked to her and related my conversation to the lady at the clinic.
"Annie, this is going to hurt but as soon as you get well you can go out and have all the fun you want."
The lady:  "No we take everything out."

Before bringing Annie home I was admonished to keep her inside for awhile as she might wander off.  She did not.  The thing that did happen though was hard for me to watch.  I can't really explain it.  Annie just did not seem like the same cat.  This is going to sound silly but it seemed like she had lost her joy in living.  She ate and slept and would come to me if I called but she didn't play anymore and she seemed oblivious of the kittens.

A little over a month later, I missed her one day.  She has never returned and I've no doubt she is dead.  I don't know if I will ever have another female cat but if I do I will not have her "fixed" as Annie was.  If her tubes (surely cats must have them), can be tied or something like that, okay, but no more "taking everything out."

Her three kittens were all male.  My son wanted one of them and he's doing great in his new home.  Of course I planned on keeping the other two.  One day both of them were missing.  At this point I was ready to go back to D-Con and mouse traps but a day later my Ex called me.

"David," she said, "are you missing a kitten?"
"Actually I'm missing two."
my Ex, "There's a black one over here."
"I'll be right over."

We decided that somehow the kitten, or maybe both had gotten into my son's car and hitched a ride.  I never found TonyAlmeda but I brought Leo home.

Next blog, I'll tell Leo's story.

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