It’s no secret I’m a bleeding-heart, sunshinerainbowbubblekittenpuppybabylifeloving love monster. So it should be less of a surprise that when confronted with an adorable pregnant cat, stray or otherwise, my heart melts a little.
Seven years ago that melting heart led to my pet cat, the wildly adorable (and aptly named) love-obsessed, dog-like Fat Louey.
He comes when you call him, likes to have his belly rubbed and scratched, and guards my house with the furor of a thousand purring philosoraptors.
And wouldn’t you know, as soon as Fat Louey came of age he organized a feline-version of the Big Brothers program? Seriously. I came home one day and noticed he had taken on two adorable mirror-image kittens (one male, one female) as his mentees. They shadowed and mimicked him perfectly. Unlike Fat Louey, they were scarred and rather melodramatically unwilling to receive love: They’d let you pet them until they started purring, which scared them into running away.
The first time I let Big Scruffy (the male kitten) into the house, he flipped out and tried desperately to escape with a flying leap… Into a large mirror. Little Scruffy decided nothing was more fun than rolling around on her back and playing with my floaty window sheers, talons bared.
Fat Louey meanwhile, wielded his Mentor Program Director title as fiercely as his house-guarding, swiftly delivering the Fat Louey staff of fire if they got out of line: He didn’t approve of Little Scruffy’s window dressing toys.
Back in May of 2011, Little Scruffy showed signs of being a soon-to be Mama Scruffy.
Warning: Entering Sad-face area:
Little Scruffy was so young, her little body literally couldn’t handle the kittens. She couldn’t really sit because her belly was so disproportionately large. She became sick, and sadly when the kittens were born each faded slowly after the next within ten days. I was depressed for exactly ten days and yes, there was a kitten burial site. My man humored me , and we both refrained from giving eugoogilies.
Notice: Leaving Sad-face area.
Fast forward from that sad time in kittyland, while I waited for the right time to spay her, Little Scruffy got pregnant again and had kitten litter number 2! Apparently sixty seconds was too long for Little Sexy Scruffy: Mind you the last litter was had in mid-May and the gestation period for cats is 60 to 70 days. She Fass.
The second litter was wildly eventful.
It was a sunny Friday afternoon when I drove home to meet my love-bucket. We were prepping for an evening with friends watching movies on the patio under the stars in two hours. As I pulled into my driveway, my exceptionally fine, usually serene and chipper honey ran frantically to the car, a wide-eyed expression of concern on his chiseled chocolatey visage. Sorry, focusing.
“She popped!” he yelled. I wrestled with a mixture of surprise, amusement, confusion, impatience and concern as I took in his uncharacteristic freak-out two hours before we were supposed to host a mini-party. Calmly trying to hide the giggle under my voice I asked, “Um… Honey what do you mean?”
As he helped me carry in the groceries (see how I refrained from commenting on his sculpted, glisten-y arms in the sun there?) he explained she’d had the kittens. Fully understanding (or so I thought) I started to freak out a bit too.
“What? Where? Where is she? All of them?” Things slid slowly downhill as we fed on each others’ freak outs.
“Yes. No. They’re in the boom boom room. The back room. ‘Cause that’s where you had them before. And I needed a towel. There was a towel.”
Ahem. What the boom-boom room is, is none of your business. Continuing.
Holy crap! I thought as I paced the house, indoors and out, processing the deluge of emotional, physical, and environmental craziness we were both unexpectedly thrown into. I started talking to myself and no one in particular.
“So what happened?” As he followed, and started answering and/or talking to himself or no one in particular the story got odder:
“Well I was outside setting up the speakers and I noticed out of the corner of my eye, there were these two little furry balls under the tree…”
“The WHAT? Under the tree? Which tree?”
“Yes! Under the apricot tree. And they were doing little kitten things, climbing and squirming and pawing at each other and stuff so I had to put them in the back room and…”
Noticing the still-round Little Scruffy lurking in the distance I interrupted.
“Wait, where was Little Scruffy?”
“I have no clue. I tried to get her into the house forever, for like fifteen minutes, but she wasn’t having it.”
By this point I’d had enough background thought to recall he was nursing an injury (he’s nicknamed himself the one-armed bandit until further notice.) And, had a doctor’s visit I had yet to hear about. And, time was swiftly running away from us. I called on the LorT for my sanity, and we both pressed pause on the seeming disaster that was our afternoon. After a shockingly peaceful, loving exchange with the promise to catch up on my day later, we pressed play and went into overdrive. I tried to reset myself.
“Ok. So she had two kittens? That’s it? Last time she had five. She’s probably not finished. Whoo boy.”
He buzzed about like a one-armed Tazmanian devil and I did the same, setting up sound, projector, movie, drinks, straightening, etc. Hilariously, we managed to keep a mommy eye out and both of us morphed into kitten-safari hunters whenever Little Scruffy showed signs of entering the house, circling her like prey and shushing each other.
Then, standing near my back porch, I heard something that froze me.
Tiny, high-pitched kitten mewling.
Cue safari mode.
After an exceptionally useless and long game of Marco Polo with the unfound kitten, we pinpointed the sound. It was coming from a two foot wide planter bordering the East side of the house.
This planter is filled with rows of rose bushes, decorated with dense spider plants at each base. It seemed impenetrable. Yet somewhere in there was a baby kitten. I know that’s redundant but she was so little!
Somehow, the one armed bandit and I managed to fashion a kitten portal out of two cumbersome wooden planks and a shovel. Clinging for dear life to this haphazard kitten rescue mission with all three of our arms, we got a visual on the tiny furry ball and I sounded the battle cry.
“Honey, get him now! Go now!”
Releasing his hold on the rescue portal, he managed to lift the kitten out with one arm, yayyy!!! But, it meant the best hold he could muster was a ginger, seemingly painful two fingered kitten-booty squeeze… The kitten was howling but safe.
Our shenanigans pissed off mama cat, who surely and rightly thought we’d lost our darn minds: She stood a few feet away watching and kitty-growling at us.
Lucky for us, her anger meant she was finally able to be lured into the house. After a brief and comical vaudeville-esque kitten chase around the dining room table, we got her into the boom boom room with the three newborns, where she soon bore the other two.
Finally free, we finished setting up for the party, enjoyed the evening and reflected: “Ya know, since Fat Louey and Big Scruffy were in the back yard that must have sucked big time. Can you imagine trying to give birth while they’re trying to play with you, and chase the kittens? Jesus. No wonder she dropped them all over the place.”
That my friends, is what a kitten scavenger hunt looks like.