Day #18 of 30

Who knew?!

We have eight barn cats. Well, let me rephrase that. I have eight barn cats. My husband basically tolerates their presence, for me. He’s very sweet like that. Each of my (he he) barn cats have psychiatric issues, for real. But, for today, we’re going to focus on Whiskers, the spasticat!

Whiskers, is a gray-striped tabby cat that just showed up at our place late last summer and liked it so much she made it her permanent home. From the moment she arrived she was and has remained very skittish, you know, being a street-smart stray and all, she simply didn’t trust humans. She seemed to adapt to her kitty step-sisters and step-brother rather quickly and she was eating alongside them in no time. A few weeks later, I noticed that she was getting awfully plump and instinctively knew she was pregnant. No cat is gonna get that fat and that quickly from dry cat food. I provided her with a lovely birthing place up in the covered playground in our back yard. It was a very cozy box with soft bedding and I knew she’d feel safe up there with her babies, out of the weather and away from would be predators. I’d climb up there at least daily to take a peek at them and, of course, I did it one time too many which prompted Whiskers to move her brood. After some searching, I found them inside some tires in our garage and way too close to my car. Having lost two kittens years earlier after they’d climbed up underneath my car only to fall out onto the road as I was driving, I was not about to experience that again. I quickly moved the kittens back into their cozy birthing habitat and carried it to the kitty loft in the rear of our pole barn. Now, the tricky part was catching the momma and moving her, too. While she was eating with the other cats, I was able to manuever myself close enough to be within grabbing distance of her neck. She very quickly picked up on this, shrewd lil shedevil that she is, and moved away from me. I hung around a minute or two, just watching them eat, then started my manuever again with the Mission Impossilbe theme song playing in my head. At the precise moment that I was close enough, I reached down and grabbed the back of her neck and held on with all my might. With my arm held straight out in front of me and Whiskers’ struggling body dangling from my hand, I went running through the yard to the kitty loft where I tossed her up toward her birthing box as if she were a bale of hay. With utter indignance, she shook it off and then surveyed the new location. Thankfully, other than one more attempt to move her babies back to the tires, Whiskers was content and that’s where they remained for several weeks.

Once the kittens were weaned and about twelve weeks old, the boys went to live with my youngest daughter and I kept the girls. I named the black and white one Pistolina because we thought our male cat, Pistol, was her daddy. Funny note: After this litter, I took Pistol get him neutered, but it turned out he had already been fixed. I always thought that the process of neutering included ball removal, but Pistol still had his balls. At least they looked like balls. Neverthelss, Pistolina kept her name. Who knows who her father could be–her mother was such a slut. The other girl, a gray-striped tabby cat who looks exactly like her mother, I named Whiskers II. Interestingly, the two brothers were also a black and white one and a gray-striped tabby.

It was an incredibly difficult task catching Whiskers to take her to the vet’s office with her daughters for spaying. Since I’d captured her once before, she knew my tactics–on land–with dry cat food. But, this time, the feat would take place in the kitty loft, a much smaller area. Mwah ha ha. I placed a cardboard box up there in anticipation of the great capture. The evening before the group hysterectomies, which had to be rescheduled multiple times because I wasn’t able to catch Whiskers, I climbed up the ladder to the kitty loft and hung out, casually holding a can of wet cat food. Skillfully, I coaxed this hungry momma cat just close enough that I could reach the scruff of her neck. She managed to get away from me twice. The hunger must’ve been intense for her to come for the wet cat food that third time–and she was mine!! I got a handful of the back of her neck and was gonna be damned if I’d let go–come scratch, bite or claws, that bitch was getting fixed because we were having no more kittens! I quickly shoved her into the box and had to hold her close to the bottom while closing all the flaps. After some struggle, she relented, finally accepting defeat and I was able to close the box. While holding the top of the box securely and tightly to my chest, I climbed down the ladder and ran to the garage where I secured the flaps with package tape. I wasn’t allowing any chance of her escaping again. She was already displaying signs of being in heat, the horny bitch. And, off to the vet we went — at last!

Over the last 12 months or so, I’ve been able to pet Whiskers, but only while she’s eating. Ironic, isn’t it, seeing as that’s how I captured her butt on both occasions. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed those brief moments of affection, she is so fluffy and soft. She and her daughters are still very close and most times all three sleep together on a cushioned chair on our back porch. Without fail, though, whenever I open the back door, they jump off the chair and run into the yard before I take the first step outside. That is, except for Pistolina. She’s been warming up to me over the last several months and I can actually pet her pretty easily.

Earlier this afternoon, I was looking out the back door, glanced at the communal chair and saw Whiskers, sleeping alone. As I began turning the knob to unlock the door, I watched for her routine and expected departure from the chair. I mean, any other time, a simple knock on the door would have her running. But, she remained asleep. I turned the door handle and it made it’s usual metallic sounds, and she remained asleep. I opened the door completely and waited a few seconds for her to acknowledge my movement. She remained asleep. Well, this was new! No longer attempting to be subtle, I went out onto the porch, let the door shut, and called, “Kitty kitty.” Nothing. This was getting seriously weird. I moved closer to her and noticed her ears and paws were twitching and I called out, “KITTY KITTY,” in a louder voice. Still nothing. Oh my gosh, is she dead? Is that rigor mortis I’m seeing — not mere twitching? I called again, much louder. Nothing! Does anyone know cat CPR?! As the image of hubby having to dig yet another hole in the pet cemetary for this cat who was obviously on her way out began running through my head, I touched the cushion near where she was resting her chin to see if that would get a rise out of her. Still nothing! Having an aversion to touching dead bodies, I mean any dead body, I tapped the cushion near her head a bit harder to confirm that she was dead or in the process of dying while anticipating an emergency trip to the vet when — she flat bolted off that chair like a firecracker had been shot out of her butt! It scared the crap out of me! While I was standing there catching my breath and tryng to slow my racing heart, Whiskers proceeds to sit in the grass looking dazed and confused with a face that said “What the….?” Then, I said, “I didn’t know cats could sleep that deep!” She had no response, of course, and continued to sit there in the grass, still stunned as if I’d rudely awakened her after a night of heavy drinking.

Well, who of you knew cats could sleep that soundly? I sure didn’t!

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