We have a new addition to our house. Actually, six of them.
Last winter a cat started living on our front porch. We felt sorry for her since the winter was a harsh one and the porch provides very little protection from the elements. So naturally, I made her an insulated kitty house out of one of our kitty carriers and an old blanket and started feeding her.
We tried to find her owner but discovered from a neighbor that she showed up last fall in his yard with two other male cats--a gray one that looked just like her and and an orange tabby. The gray male was sadly killed in the road a couple of months ago. The neighbor kept the orange tabby, which is now living in his garage.
As spring approached, we realized that the female kitty was soon to be a momma kitty. Not wanting her to have her babies in the still below-freezing outdoors, we moved her into the utility room of our basement, much to my husband's chagrin and the disdain of our other cats. But cats don't count in the voting, and my husband is outnumbered by the kids and me. Democracy rules.
One morning about a month ago, I peeked in on the kitty--whom we dubbed "Stormy" since her fur is the color of storm clouds--to find her lying in her box as usual. Only this time, she was surrounded by five tiny balls of fur--one black, one black and orange, one grey and two orange tabbies.
It took awhile, but we finally figured out we had two females and three males. Of course, Shannon and Sean could not resist naming them. The gray female is Mystery. The black and orange female is Destiny. The black male is Midnight. The playful orange tabby is Zeke (the only one Sean got to name), and they shy orange tabby is Shylo.
As cute as they all are, nine cats in one household is a little extreme. We don't want neighbors gossiping about the "cat people" down the road. I am always appalled at the reports of the humane society raiding the homes of people with fifty wild cats running around. So, when the kittens are weaned, momma and babies will all be going to a local no-kill shelter as soon as they have the space.
It will certainly be difficult to see them go. Your mood cannot help but improve when you watch five balls of fuzz wrestling with each other and chasing around a small toy. And there is something sentimental and serene about watching a mother nurse her babies. I think it brings back memories of nursing my own.
But these cats will be at the shelter until they find homes, and the people who run the Adopt-a-Pet facility are meticulous about the homes to which they go. I have no doubt they will all have wonderful, pampered lives.
Besides, it has been good for my kids to see newborn kittens grow and take on the responsibility of caring for them. It has even inspired Shannon to volunteer. She will be working at Adopt-a-Pet this summer helping to care for the animals. It will be a good learning experience since she is considering studying veterinary science in college.
Still, I will miss the five little fuzzballs and their momma. It won't be the same when I can't take a sanity break by opening a door and letting a bunch of kittens vie for my attention.
In fact, I think I will go step in there right now. I am feeling the need for a dose of cuteness.