Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Cat Lady of London

The following is a story my mom wrote a couple of years ago about the cat epidemic at their house. My mom makes me laugh a lot, I think we have similar senses of humor. I am beginning to learn where I get my love for animals. I hope you'll enjoy this and get a good laugh out of it!

The Cat Lady of London

I’VE BEEN THINKING OF HER A LOT LATELY. A few years ago Gerald and I went to see our daughter, Sarah in Ireland. We left with 2 back packs and BritRail passes. We wanted to ride the train through England, Scotland, and Wales before crossing the Irish Sea to Dublin where Sarah was living. We really enjoyed the train because it allowed us to visit with residents of the British Isles. Our first destination out of London was St. Ives, England. On the way back to London, we met The Cat Lady of London, a sweet elderly lady who was on holiday. She worked with an organization in London who rescued homeless cats. Her job was to take in Mama cats with babies and pregnant cats until homes could be found. She lived in a flat in London. I asked how many she had and she was unsure, “but a lot”. She kept them in her extra bedroom. Gerald remembers 100+ but I think it was in the 30s. Her son, an RN who was needing a 3rd kidney transplant was looking after the cats while she was on holiday.
After Mother died , I wanted to get back to the country. I hadn’t lived in the country since I was 17.5 (years, not dress size). I wanted a cat and a dog. We ended up with 2 dogs, but that is another story altogether. We now have a “cat ranch” on our Ranchita. It all started with Miss Kitty, a coal black kitten with pretty green eyes. Our Granddaughter Jaylee gave her to us. Well it wasn’t long before Miss Kitty was a “lady in waiting”. I have assisted with many human births and even pulled a calf once, but I was 60 before I saw a cat give birth. I fixed her a nice box in the garage and watched her closely. I went to check on her and she had this look in her eyes sorta like a woman when birth was imminent. She had 4 kittens. I went to bed and the next morning there were 2 more. Not long after they were weaned, 3 of them disappeared the same day and it wasn’t long before the other 3 were gone. We figured the coyotes got them. Well, Miss Kitty was "in waiting again". This time she had 5 kittens under the porch. We did not even see them until they were weaned. We ended up with 2 toms, "Tom Jones and Lazy Tom" and a female we named Racoon Kitty. So now we had 4 cats, 2 of them female. You guessed it, both Miss Kitty and Racoon Kitty were "in waiting together". It was almost a week before we found Miss Kitty's 5 kittens in our chiminea. I fixed them a nice box in the garage, but it wasn't long before she moved them under the porch. I was able to check them before the move and 4 were females. Jason says you can't ID cats just after birth, but I knew exactly what they were. (He didn't think I could pull a calf either when he was 4). Now we have 9 cats 6 of which are females. Racoon Kitty gave birth but we never found her kittens. One day here she comes with a kitten in her mouth and she deposited it where else but under the porch. She went back to the barn and another fluffy kitten followed her down the hill to join all the other cats under the porch. Our count is up to 11. All the kittens are WILD. Jaylee loves cats and I was trying to tame a couple for her. She and Wes loves to watch the Broadway Play CATS when they come to visit. She named 2 of her favorites, Victoria and Demeter, but we could not catch them. We gave the name McCavity to their brother who had that wild look in his eyes. I named Racoon Kitty's kittens Fluffy and Muffy. Now we have 7 females. If Muffy turns out to be a tom, I guess he can be called Muff. I told Gerald we need to get a handle on this cat deal. Our Ranchita is not big enough for 11 cats. Someone told me you can get cat traps at the Animal Control Center in Amarillo. I picked up a trap and learned the cats were not adoptable because they were wild. The trapping started. I set it up on the porch. All the cats were gathered around eating and Gerald said, "get the pet taxi and I'll get them while they are eating". Well the rodeo started. He caught Victoria and she was screeming and scratching. She ended up in the taxi, but Gerald had blood running down both arms. She was a woman scorned. Pretty soon we caught one in the trap. As we were attempting to transfer her to the pet taxi, Victoria got away because I was't paying attention. Gerald said, " I'll just shoot them". I could not let him do it, so the trapping was left up to me. I trapped 2 and made the trip into Amarillo to AC. Later that evening I trapped "Lazy Tom" a big cold black cat with pretty green eyes like his mother. Just as I was getting the trap out of the back, I heard a comotion in the car beside me. Lazy Tom, started yelling and hissing like I had never heard before. I looked over to the next car and here came 2 HUGE Rotweilers after me and my cat. I hurried through the doors and told the girls at the desk I had to get this cat somewhere before those dogs get in here. She let me step through the door. Tom was still screeming and the biggest Rot was trying to jump over the counter. At that point I thought, " maybe shooting them WAS the better choice". The girls bravely went out and snared the Rots and took them away. I don't know about Tom, but my heart was pounding out of my chest. That evening I set the trap again and heard a comotion outside. Just about bedtime, I had another cat, but it was a stray Tom with a long grey and white coat. Uhm, he looked like he could be the father to Racoon Kitty's 2 kittens. He had no tags, so I took him into Amarillo too. By now I am feeling like an executioner. I have 3 more to go and have Miss Kitty scheduled for surgery next Monday. As soon as Racoon kitty's are weaned, she will also go under the knife. Since we have had cats, there are no rattlesnakes around. Now that is something I CAN shoot.
Gerald asks, "how far is it to the AC in Amarillo". About 20 miles I responded. "So it is 40 miles round trip?" Probably, I said. Then he said, "a 5 cent cartridge would have been a lot cheaper".

My favorite cat story involves my mom trying to nurse an ailing kitty back to health. There was a little tiger kitten that found its way to my parents house one weekend when I was visiting them. She was a sweet little thing, so mom decided to let her stay in the garage. The next morning we woke up to find poor kitty had explosive diarrhea all over the wall of the garage. Of course this thrilled my dad who thinks all animals belong outside!

Later, after church, mom asked me to help her doctor kitty. Mom's cure-all, by the way, is Pepto-Bismol. We were in the garage and mom asked me to go get the little medicine dispenser spoon she had for the grandkids. She said she would wait in the garage for me. I found the spoon and when I returned to the garage I could hardly believe my eyes. There sat my mom with Pepto-Bismol from head to toe, holding kitty, who was no longer orange, but pink. My mom was saying to the cat, "What's the matter, Kitty? It tastes good!" I think I passed out from laughing so hard! I still tease mom about that! It always provides us with a good laugh!


Su said...

My parents live in the country, and they have a similar cat problem. I used to keep track of them when I was little, but I don't think they even bother now. The one or two of them that are not wild have names, although my sister says she is running out of names now. (She's been through the characters of every TV show that she has ever liked.)

My mother's solution has always been to buy the cheapest cat food available, but she only gives them small amounts at a time-- that way, the mouse population is also kept down, without the SPCA getting after them. :)

Sarah said...

Susan, that is my dad's philosophy....just feed them a little and let the eat the critters we don't want around. In the fall when the tarantulas are out, they love to feast on them. I don't make it home much in the fall!

cemotosnack said...

I started feeding one stray cat when I was little and my parents have had cats ever since.

Actually, this changed a few years ago when my dad got sick of them. I can't tell you exactly what he did to get rid of them but it involved, traps, a gun, and a lawn mower. He hates cats

I love your mom's heart. Sounds like she has a lot of patience. What a good woman.

Anonymous said...

When we first moved out to the country we wanted cats so bad. I am allergic to them so they had to be outside kitties. Well...we got two little blue-eyed white kittens. Problem there? The hawks can spot them a mile away. We tried again with yellow kittens. Same result. We gave up. Then a black long-haired persian cat came up to the house...she was about to have babies. And the fun began. I think at one time there were probably 30 cats or so at our house.

We named a few. Little momma,Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Tom. Several strays came up. One was a Russian Blue. He had the biggest head and the weirdest gray eyes! Well, when he bred with the black Persian..we got a Himalayan...which is kinda like a long-haired siamese. That was one of my favorite cats!

Funny thing was, we had dogs too. So we had to feed the cats up on the roof of the house. Well, some of those cats would also use the potty up there. My grandad was feeding them one day, shook his head and said "cats got no manners". I laughed until I cried.

Now the coyotes are so populous out in that part that there aren't any cats around at all. I'm sure my parents are glad about that. My dad is too tenderhearted to take care of the population control himself.

Anonymous said...

I know I already wrote too much about the cats...but we had a similar experience with Pepto and a Siberian Husky. His tail worked really well as a paint brush!! :-D
Ok I'm done!

Lisa said...

I tried giving Sophie liquid Benadryl with a syringe. Yeah, she wasn't have ANY of that. Can't say that I blame her, liquid Benadryl tastes disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I love your mom's cat story. I have never had a cat for very long. One Christmas our daughter Nicci had a student give her a little kitten. We had it long enough for Nicci to get ring worms, (don't tell her I told you that) and I never bought any cat food, I just shared the dogs food, but that gave her diarreah, oops. Then I took it to the pet shop, not the AC. Your mom is awfully brave to take them one by one or two by two to the slaughter house,ooppss or is the PC word Animal shelter?

Mommahen said...

Well, I am not much of a cat person. I think they have WAAAY too much attitude for me. BUT...I just want to take your sweet mom and hug her and say "I am so sorry about the Pepto." Because I know the cat didn't say it--she was probably saying that's exactly what you get!