NOTE: This was written many years ago. We had a long-haired black and white mama cat named Phoebe. She has since died, but I liked this entry in my journal and decided it needed to be part of my blog.
Phoebe is our mother cat. She is skinny and trying to wean the last batch of little kittens. But it is her 1 1/2 year old grandson, Two AM* that I worry about. *Two AM was so named by my cleaver husband who says all black cats are named Midnight, so why not Two AM? That should be even darker, shouldn't it?
He is at this awkward stage in his life. He is now old enough to make improper advances on his grandmother, but still is thinking in his adolescent mind that he should be taken care of and be provided nourishment from her as well. She is getting irritated at all this attention and took to laying on her belly for protection from all seeking food. I heard constant fighting and would look out to find her with ears pricked back in a fighting mode fending herself off from would-be milk-seekers. We finally decided now that she is weaning them, it was time to take her to the vet and be neutered. The vet requires her mammary glands to be dried up, so our plan was to board her for a week to dry her up, then they could do their duty.
But the secretary said to just go ahead and schedule her for surgery on Tuesday and they would make the decision then. So we did. We took her in on Monday afternoon and almost immediately our cell phone rang. The receptionist at the vet's told us she was pregnant. We thought she felt like her tummy was a bit solid, but not large or anything. Good grief. She had just given birth to those kittens, it seemed. They were just barely weaned. I didn't think that was possible.
Now that I think back, I remember some male attention coming her way about two weeks after the kittens were born. I assumed it was some sort of scent she gave off from having just given birth that was being mistaken for an amorous scent, because she was NOT receptive. I assumed she was keeping everyone away and protecting the kittens.
Even the receptionist at the vet's did not believe it. I assumed that since I never saw any encounters, that those guys hanging just around wanted to see the new neighborhood additions and perhaps kill off any future competition. She was constantly defending her little nest of kittens. But somehow, when I wasn't observing she must have had some amorous encounters, because they found 5-6 kittens when they opened her. I felt bad ending those lives like that, but if she was so fertile, that fact would have eventually killed her. She was so skinny from having kittens and feeding them, I couldn't see how she could continue to give birth AND nurse. It was a losing battle for her, and I decided we had better end this Kitten Producing Machine right now.
So now an even skinnier Phoebe recovers behind the counter in the dining room on a cushion and licks her wounds, eats, drinks huge amounts of water and sleeps. The cats outside, meanwhile all greet me with many complaints about the service and food. They miss their milk vending machine and pine away for her without any knowledge that life, as they know it, will never be the same. She is asking several times to go outside, but doesn't protest too loudly about getting pampered inside. The vet told me to wait about two days. All her stitches are on the inside, so she won't need any other special treatment.
It cost us a pretty penny to fix a pregnant cat and get her shots. I look at our little skinny $100 feline and wondered if I should have spent that much on an alley cat. Then I peeked through the curtains at the cruel world outside, awaiting her return and realize that she would be at peace finally, and it made it all worth while.
Phoebe and Two AM were both chased off by an orange striped neighbor cat who had been demoted from House cat to Yard Cat by her offended owner when he decided to do his business in her house plants and the final straw, the piano keys! He adopted our yard but NOT our cats. We found Phoebe about 6 months later, dead under the apple tree down the street. She looked perfect. She had been well fed and taken care of. There were no marks on her, as though she had been in a fight or run over by a car. She was just dead. I buried her in my flower garden in the front, because it was the ONLY non-frozen dirt in the yard. We saw Two AM several times in the shop, and he cried to us like he wanted to be friends, but was too frightened to come. No amount of coaxing would convince him to come to us.
Hobbs (the orange cat) was neutered, and recently a very scraggly calico long-haired mother cat began to yell at us from the bushes. Of course, The Sailor took pity and began to feed her, so now she resides in our back yard as well.