Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The three cats, particularly Rudy, were happy to have Ginger and her kittens stay as long as they wanted. Ginger’s owner had arrived the day after the birth bearing gifts. She had a large shopping bag, and from it she pulled four small ceramic bowls and a wealth of expensive single serving cat food containers. Peep’s wide eyes saw at least four different types of containers, and presumably different flavors of each.

“This is just a little thank you for opening your house to Ginger, not that you had much of a choice in the matter. For as long as she’s here, I’ll provide some little treats for the cats’ meals. A mother cat and five kittens must be an imposition on your cats, and anything I can do to make it up to them is good. I figured they would probably like some fancy food to sweeten their dispositions.” Lettie proceeded to stack the cans on the counter and placed the four bowls next to the food.

Jay was flabbergasted. “You didn’t have to do anything like this. I’d have been more than happy to feed Ginger while she’s here.”

“Ah, but I’m not doing it for you, Jay. I’m doing this for your cats.” Lettie obviously knew that this was an argument he couldn’t discredit and smiled at him. “I’m a bit of an amateur potter, and these are some of the many cat food dishes I’ve made over the years. I never got the hang of throwing large bowls, so I seem to make a lot of cat food dishes. I picked out ones that I thought each of your cats would like.”

Peep walked up to Lettie and said, “You are such a nice lady. Ginger is so lucky to have you for a Mommy. Thank you very much.” She rubbed up against Lettie’s leg to show her appreciation.

“This cat has such an adorable little voice, and she’s such a dainty little thing. In all the fuss yesterday, I didn’t get her name.” Lettie reached down to scratch Peep’s head.

“We call her the Peep, because her voice is a little peeping sound. She’s a very sweet little cat.” Peep looked up at her Daddy in appreciation. She loved it when he said nice things about her.

Now that the kittens were a few days old, Ginger had let the others come in to see them. Their eyes still weren’t open, of course, but despite that they had started bumbling around on the blanket. On Wednesday when Rudy stopped in to say good morning, she found Ginger tired and cranky.

“I don’t know how mothers ever get any sleep,” Ginger complained. “The kittens were up most of the night, and there were few times they were all asleep at the same time. I’m exhausted.”

“Wow, that’s tough. Do you want me to find LT, so that you can go take a nap?” Rudy knew better than to offer to watch them herself. When Ginger agreed, Rudy went in search of LT.

She found LT asleep under a tree outside. When she woke him he rolled over and said, “Just a couple more minutes, Mom. I promise I’ll get up in a couple of minutes.” He then saw who it was and sheepishly said, “Sorry Rudy. I’m just tired from these kittens. I never knew being a father was work. I thought you just admired and played with them.”

Rudy shook her head. “Well, their mother is even more tired than you are. She needs a break, so you better get your tail inside.”

Groaning, LT stood up and stretched. “Rudy, would you mind guarding the door of the spare room for me? I’m afraid I might fall asleep and then what would happen?”

“No problem, LT. I’ll stay far enough away to satisfy Ginger, but close enough so that I can keep an eye on you and the kids.” Rudy was kind of enjoying this. The kittens were really cute. She got to look at them as much as she liked, but had no responsibility for them at all. She actually thought one kind of looked like her, although she wasn’t sure the coat would be as long as hers.

Ginger gladly turned over kitten duty to LT and said she’d be out in the living room having a nap after she grabbed a bite to eat and visited the poo field. LT settled down with the kittens who seemed delighted that he was there. He was sure they knew who he was, because they liked to play more when he was there. Even with their eyes closed they tried to chew on him and climb on him. They were so small that it was a stretch for them to climb up on his leg when it was lying flat on the ground. He truly loved these kittens, and wished they could stay with him, but he knew that neither Ginger nor the Daddy would allow five kittens to remain indefinitely.

Rudy sat inside the door of the room and talked with LT while he wrangled kittens. Now he knew why people put mother cats and kittens in boxes – they couldn’t get out! Every time he got one back with him, another started to wander away. Considering they could barely walk, he didn’t quite know how they did this. Rudy was amazed at LT’s patience. She pointed out ones likely to make a break for it if his attention was busy with another kitten, or two, or three.

They finally settled down to sleep after about half an hour. LT gratefully sighed and lay there trying not to fall asleep himself. “Go ahead and sleep, if you need to LT. I’ll keep an eye on them. I can see them all from here.” LT was very grateful to hear Rudy’s offer.

“Thanks, I’ll take you up on that.” He dozed off, comfortably surrounded by kittens. Fatherhood was wonderful.

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