Finally the Daddy came out with an overnight bag and said good-bye to Rudy and Sparky. He told them the yarn lady would be over later to give them squishy food and cat treats and headed out the door. Sparky sat on the gas fireplace and watched the pick-up drive to the street and turn left. She called out that the coast was clear and Rudy turned on the computer. It was so slow…why didn’t he get a new computer with an eight core processor?
So, where would be the best places to find information? She knew lots of very good websites about cat health and nutrition, but cats devouring their young was probably not a common topic. Rudy decided she’d do the best she could. First the Cornell Feline Health Center. Cornell had one of the top veterinary schools in the country, and Feline Health Center was the place to go with your ailing cat if no one else knew what to do. She browsed the health resources, finding only one possible topic under behavioral issues – ‘Help, My Cat’s a Killer; What Can I Do?’ It turned out to be an article for pet owners who thought it was a problem that their cats hunted things like birds, mice and lizards. That was no help, although it was interesting that a study showed that belled cats did have significantly lower hunting success.
She looked for a FAQ on kitten parenting or perhaps a way to contact the Center. There was the Camuti Consultation Service, but it cost $55 and involved a phone conversation with a vet. She could pull off being a human via email, but it would never work over the phone. She giggled, picturing it. “Hello, Camuti Feline Consultation Service. To who am I speaking?” “Meow.” Yeah, that wouldn’t help. Ah, but there was a ‘Contact Us’ button that led to an email address. Rudy composed an email and sent it off. Hopefully someone would get back to her in an hour or two. She expected company later this morning. The five cats who did not live in this house wanted in on the research, as long as Rudy did the typing. Well, hopefully they wouldn’t all come at once.
Throughout the day she surfed one website after another. Several addressed the issue to some degree, saying that very young mothers might eat their kittens, or that mothers might eat a sick kitten to maximize milk supply for the remaining kittens. A couple even said that intact male cats occasionally killed kittens to stimulate breeding in the female, but that usually didn’t involve consumption of said kittens. Fine, that was good information, but it didn’t address the central issue of whether or not it was *right* for a cat to do it. Although it was completely obvious to Rudy and from their facial expressions of the other cats that the male cat thing was not acceptable to any of them.
For the most part the other cats sat and watched or listened as Rudy did her research. As any cat arrived she repeated what she’d said last night about not discussing it amongst themselves, other than suggesting possible websites to visit or search terms to use. Even with that stipulation there were some tense moments. One cat or another suggested avenues of research that were clearly slanted, for example ‘cat cannibalism’ and ‘kittens as food source’. She was pretty sure the last one was supposed to be a joke, but no one thought it was funny.
Even though Rudy had declared a couple nap breaks during the day, by sunset her paws were cramping and her shoulders sore. They had visited countless websites, most of them useless in Rudy’s estimation. She limped into the kitchen and jumped up to her favorite spot where the Daddy left her stuffed fox and a little quilt and settled down for a well-earned nap. Hopefully tomorrow she’d hear back from Cornell or one of the other websites where she had left inquiries.