Mama Kitty

For the past month, we’ve had a visitor.  Not someone that we could readily invite into the house and make welcome, because the visitor is one of the neighborhood cats.  Though this cat has become a bit more different than the others that come to our backyard and romp and play in front of the windows, the cameras, and us.

‘Mama Kitty’ is a female orange and white tabby. We’ve called her that because of her distended belly that I originally thought indicated she was pregnant.  Over the next couple of weeks I pretty much determined that she’s not actually, she just has a very prominent ‘apron’, something older female cats can get after having more than a few litters.  It doesn’t make her any less affectionate, or clingy.  But that seems to have become a bit of a problem lately.

We’re not certain if she’s a stray, or she lives somewhere nearby, or she might have been dumped or abandoned recently.  This is the first year that we’ve seen her around.  For the first couple of weeks, she was aloof and when one of us would come into the backyard when she was in it, she would shy away and run off.  My wife was actually the first one to have physical contact with her, by being forward and determining to walk up to her and then allow her to make the next move, ie getting a rub.  After that, she warmed up to us both and would greet us with mews and asking for rubs when we encountered her around the property.  Which has been all well and good, though we’ve been careful not to feed her.  For the most part, come nightfall she would make her way through the backyard fence (the previous owners of the property specifically made allowances in the fence for animals to go back and forth) and possibly go home.  She wouldn’t reappear until the next day unless it was raining.

Tuesday evening, she didn’t go home as usual.  She stayed around the perimeter of the house after dark, and I could hear her going to the various windows on the ground floor and mewing incessantly.  I didn’t actually go to bed until almost 2 am on Wednesday and she was still around the front of the house, making noise.  By morning, she was gone, however.   Except that didn’t last very long.  By the afternoon she had returned, and I heard her talking at the windows off of the living room.  During the course of the day, I spotted her beyond the fence at our neighbors to the north, where she was unable to get to the backyard due to another neighborhood cat blocking the entrance through the fence.  About an hour later she was back at the window, meowing for either attention or the vain hope that she’d be let in.  Already having one cat, and being unsure of her disposition, letting her in isn’t and won’t be an option.

Trying a different tactic, I posted on a local ‘Lost and Found’ group on Facebook that encompasses the county that I live in.  The post I made gave the basic details I’ve listed here, along with these two pictures and a couple of others I’ve taken of her in the time she’s been around.  While there have been about a dozen shares, widening the reach of the post, there haven’t been any hits locally, anyone saying “Yes, I’ve seen her and know who her humans are.” or anything else in that vein.  Since it was raining most of today, she hasn’t been around.  So I suppose in a way, that’s not a bad thing.

With the weather getting colder, it’s caused a bit more concern for us as to her welfare.  We know that there are several feral cats in the neighborhood, and there are others that live in and around the houses as well, but frequent our backyard and property.  Mama Kitty seems to be of a different category.  We’re hoping for a happy ending here.  Or just a happy result.


Kitty Clock

I’m a cat person.  Always have been.  My current kitty, Rochester, runs the house here, even though we insist that he’s just a part of the family.  He actually keeps us running almost on time, even though sometimes I think his internal clock needs a tune-up.

When my wife had a cockatiel, whatever kitty was in the house had to be moved to the ‘office’ (downstairs bathroom) so that the bird could have -his- time with us.  I honestly thought this bird was going to outlive us.  My wife had purchased him around 1988 and typically cockatiels live about 15 years or so.  Oliver lived to be 29.  So he outlived the cat I had when I first moved here (Jeb), and was making good inroads on Rochester when he finally passed on in 2017.  I still miss Oliver, as does my wife (obviously).  She’s taken to Rochester though, and has stated she doesn’t wish to get another bird, because with a lifespan of that magnitude, it’s quite likely she wouldn’t outlive it.

When the cat needed to go to the ‘office’ he would get a treat to soften the blow a little about having to be cooped up for several hours.  This became a routine, but when Oliver died, it seemed cruel to discontinue the practice just because there wasn’t a reason to do it.  So the routine became, when my wife would come downstairs after her shower, Rochester would get his treat.  Usually that would happen at approximately the same time every day, though of course there would be times when she’d get upstairs later, or she’d forget, or something else would occur.  Rochester of course, can’t tell time through the means of a clock.  So he has to rely on his internal chronometer, as well as gauge what’s occurring in front of him to determine when he gets treated.  Which of course doesn’t always work out well.  Lately, when it gets to be somewhere in the vicinity of 9-11 am, Rochester starts to get vocal, and make rounds in front of the bathroom door.  Naturally this happens on Wednesdays and Fridays as well (my normal days off), and I have to explain to him (in English) that “it’s not time yet”, like he can understand me.  We go back and forth about this, and I’ve learned not to cave in, because if I do, he ends up controlling the experience and I definitely don’t want him telling ME when to cater to him.

So it becomes a dance of sorts.  He knows that he gets a treat a day, so when he gets it isn’t so much important as that he gets it at all.  I’ve observed him over the course of many weeks, and when he gets the treat, he’s ok.  Of course, there’s some subterfuge as well in him, as he’ll sometimes caterwaul at my wife when she comes downstairs if I upset the apple cart a little by treating him early.  So we’ve taken to communicating about whether or not the little guy has gotten his treat, so he doesn’t get double-dipped.  That’s happened a few times in the past as well, and since the treat we’re using are Greenies™ we know they’re not going to be bad for him.  In moderation.  Anything is going to be bad for you if you overdo it.  So we make a point not to if possible.

Rochester is my buddy, just like Jeb was before him.  And Tabby, the cat that I got as a birthday present when I was 10 years old.  They all have their own quirks and personalities.  Even the feral cats that populate our neighborhood and visit us during each day.  Cats are great companions.  So long as we ‘treat’ them right.  *wink*