Monday, July 28, 2008

Have you seen my cat?

On Monday morning Rudy came in for breakfast. She was enjoying some delicious squishy food when she heard strange sounds coming from the spare room. No one ever used that room for anything that was why it was called the spare room, so therefore it shouldn’t be making noises. She carefully went to the door and peered in. She didn’t immediately see anything, but the sounds, and they sounded like kittens, of all things, seemed to be coming from the closet. Rudy thought maybe she was hallucinating. Had she eaten something that gave auditory hallucinations? She didn’t think so, but there had been some yummy berry she’d sampled earlier this morning. Perhaps it was hallucinogenic.

She moved stealthily into the room, hugging the wall. As she peered around a piece of furniture, she spotted a blanket on the floor of the closet, all smooshed up, and it appeared to be moving, somewhat. She slinked closer and a voice said, “Please, whoever you are, don’t come any closer. I don’t want to scare the kittens.”

Rudy recognized that voice. It was Ginger. What in the world was Ginger doing in Rudy’s house with kittens? She knew that Ginger was about to have the kittens, but here? That made no sense at all. She had her own home, her own people. Wouldn’t you want to be with your people when you had your kittens? Never having had any, it made the most sense to Rudy.

She stopped and said, “Ginger, is that you? It’s Rudy. What are you doing in the closet with kittens?”

“Taking care of them, of course. If LT was going to help me, I had to have them somewhere where he could get to. My owner wouldn’t let him in the house and I did not want to have these kittens outdoors, particularly in the storm we had yesterday! There were branches flying all over the place, and hail. Can you believe it – hail! In any case, the kittens won’t be ready for visitors until at least tonight, so please leave us in peace. Oh, and if you see LT, please let him know I need him to take over for a bit soon? I need to grab a bite to eat and go outside.”

Rudy mumbled some answer or another and left the room, in search of LT, or Peep or someone who could fill her in. She found Peep lying in the living room and Peep explained the whole thing to her. Yes, the Daddy knew about the kittens and he was fine with them. Yes, LT had been helping Ginger with the kittens and he was the only one who’d been near them yet. The Daddy hadn’t even gotten close to them. Peep saw it all as rather matter of fact, and that helped Rudy to take it a bit more calmly. So what if a near-stranger decided to have kittens in her house? It made no difference to her. She never used that room anyway.

She found LT outside on the deck, sunning himself. “Hey, LT, Ginger said she needs your help in a little bit.” Rudy flopped down next to him, and nuzzled his head. “You’re really good, helping her with them. I didn’t expect her to come to our house to have them, though.”

LT was immensely relieved that Rudy wasn’t going to make a big fuss over, or have kittens, as the phrase went (he sniggered a bit at that thought). “I didn’t expect that either. She just showed up yesterday just before the storm and plopped down in the closet and started popping out kittens. Daddy is taking it very well, I must say. He told her they were beautiful, and they really are.” Rudy yawned and put her head down. This was too much for her to think about, so she decided that sleep was the best idea.

Late in the afternoon, there was a knock on the back door. Jay had just returned home, and he went to see who was there. An older woman stood outside the door, holding several pieces of paper. Jay hoped she wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness or selling something. He hated dealing with folks like that. He opened the door and asked if he could help her.

“Oh, I certainly hope so. My name is Lettie, and I live several houses down the street. My orange tabby, who is very pregnant, disappeared right before that terrible storm yesterday. I’m stopping at all the neighbors and asking if they’ve seen her.” The woman was obviously quite distressed.

Jay laughed. Perhaps it wasn’t a considerate reaction, but he couldn’t help it. He opened the door wide and said, “Come on in. When I arrived home yesterday I found my cat guarding an orange tabby in one of my closets. She has a new litter of kittens and they are beautiful. I’m not sure why she decided to have them here. Maybe she got caught in the storm, and my cats invited her in. Who knows?”

The woman came in and with a sigh of relief sat down at the kitchen table. “Oh, I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I thought I’d lost her in the storm. So many branches came down, and I was afraid she’d been hit by one and killed.” As her breathing calmed she asked, “May I see them?”

“If she’ll let you. She wasn’t interested in me getting too close yesterday, so I just admired them from a distance and complimented her on her beautiful family. I have to tell you that my male cat, LT, was standing guard, but he couldn’t be the father, because he was fixed when he was a kitten.”

Getting up, the woman said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. She’s a purebred, and I had been planning on breeding her, but she got out when she was in heat. The house had been surrounded by every male cat for miles around for days. I think I’ll going to have her fixed after this litter. I can’t put up with that again. The howling was dreadful!”

She walked into the room with Ginger, and standing a little ways away, she admired the kittens. “Ginger, your little ones are just so beautiful! You are such a good mother cat. I do wish you’d had them at home with me, though. I could have taken care of you, and taken you to the vet if anything went wrong.”

Ginger shuddered at the thought of going to the vet while trying to give birth to kittens. Well, it was a good thing she’d been here. “Hello, Mother dear,” Ginger said. “We’re all fine right here, thank you. I’ll bring them home when they can walk it on their own four paws. LT’s owner is taking very good care of us, but I do love you.” She got up, taking care not to step on any of the sleeping kittens, and walked over to her owner. She rubbed up against her leg and sniffed the woman’s hand. Lettie reached down and scratched Ginger’s ears. Jay could see that there was a lot of love between them, and was certain that when the kittens were old enough she’d return to Lettie with them.

Ginger looked back towards the closet and noticed that one of the kittens was awake and trying to find her. She leapt back to the closet and lay down with the kittens again. “I love you Mother dear, but right now, my duty is to my kittens. You understand don’t you?”

Lettie just looked at Ginger and the kittens and said, “Oh my. I don’t think I’m ready to be a grandmother.”

Photo courtesy of Robin McShaffry

No comments: