When we set out to start trapping and neutering/spaying our backyard strays (ahem, let’s be honest, our outdoor house cats), we had some prioritizing to do. I don’t have a car, I’m allergic to cats, and the clinic is an hour away in traffic. First things first–“my” strays had to come first, and females were top of the list. At the time, we thought Basil was a girl and while we were willing to take in Margot if the trap gods smiled upon her, we knew that she was the more cautious cat and thought it would be great if we could spare Basil from going into heat even once.
So “poor Basil” never went into heat because POOOOOR Basil was a dude, and then it was Margot’s turn. Except…Margot was starting to look…big.
People suggested that maybe she was just getting fat, but her face and limbs and everything else stayed slender while her belly expanded and I knew I just knew. I talked to the clinic and they told me it was up to me–they performed spay/aborts all the time, but the risk to the cat’s life was exponentially increased if she was far along and did I think she was far along? Well, I didn’t know. When I was a kid I helped bring a surprise litter into the world, and Margot seemed about 2/3 of the way to birth. As the days trickled by (cats are only pregnant for 9 weeks), Margot began to resemble a skinny cat that had swallowed a volleyball. She was tired. She was queasy. She was crabby when Basil tried to snuggle up to her tummy. She ate CONSTANTLY.
I had a decision to make (sort of–we may not have been able to catch her in either case), and I decided not to spay/abort. Surely some would have done differently, but I don’t care. I knew this would mean another litter to spay and, hopefully, adopt out. That’s okay. I’ve got a network of humane societies and friends and our old family vet and hell, if all else fails, this blog, and even if I couldn’t socialize a single one, I was willing to handle the consequences at my personal expense. Cost and inconvenience be damned, I couldn’t legitimize risking Margot’s life…but I could legitimize slipping her a fatty sardine every now and then and whispering a promise that this would be the last time, the last time, girl, that you’ll have to do this.
One particularly hot day I nearly jumped out of my skin because Margot looked dead under the picnic table and then I called to her in a panicked voice and she looked up like WHAT OHMYGOD WHAT WHY WILL NOBODY LET ME SLEEP, I thought she looked particularly enormous. I gave her a hill of catnip and as she rolled around in it, I counted four swollen nipples. She was ready to pop.
After that, Margot disappeared. She didn’t come back for a day and a half. When she did, she was skinny. You see where this is going.
For about three weeks, I knew there had to be kittens hidden somewhere, but they weren’t on our property. Then, a few mornings ago, I saw this:
Then I saw this:
This followed shortly after:
And then the runt did this:
And then Margot tried to show her runt the food dish he’d start using just as soon as she could pry his greedy little paws off of her–I MEAN WHEN YOU’RE READY DEAR when you’re ready.
Then the runt tried to run off the edge of the porch, but awesomely nurturing big brother Basil intervened like so:
Then I fed Basil a reward and while he was distracted, the kitten nearly stumbled off…and I intervened like so:
Yup. I know. What is the girl with catastrophic cat allergies doing cuddling a kitten? Look, I just felt like getting covered in warty bumps and having my fingers swell up, OKAY?! And swell up they did. But ohmygosh. So worth it. Runt disagreed. Runt complained. Then I put him down but he was all, hey, that wasn’t so bad. Again?
And I was all, no, I don’t fancy having a hormonal mama cat claw my eyes out, but thanks, AND OHMIGOSH WHO IS THIS MUFFIN?!
Just the spittingest image of Margot herself, that’s who! This little girl, who we’re referring to as Miglet, was as precious as could be, as The Mother found out firsthand when I had her over to get in a cuddle and this happened:
I melt. I absolutely turn into goosh.
I know, Miglet. It IS uncanny how The Mother always smells like baked goods.
Well, the runt was not okay with being left out of this love fest.
Or maybe he was and we just forced our love upon him. WHATEVER SAME DIFFERENCE. Anyway, the shelter people said we were supposed to handle them as soon as possible to socialize them for adoption. WE WERE PERFORMING A NECESSARY SERVICE. Besides, who WOULDN’T adopt this guy?
There are four kittens total, but the other two aren’t pictured because they’re not walking yet. One looks like the runt, only with grey ears and paws, and the other looks like Miglet, but much lighter, with a smoky fog over her coloring–we named her London. The kittens aren’t even in the yard anymore–Margot moves ’em someplace new every few days. But they’ll be back. I have no doubt that once they move to solid food, we’ll be the diner of choice. And as soon as they’re on cat food?
We are spaying Margot so, so fast.
You’re welcome, girl.
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