This is a story about a friend who’s got a neon sign plastered right on her forehead. At least that’s what she tells me. I can’t actually see it. Apparently it’s only visible to stray cats! Let me affectionately introduce you to Caroline, her neon sign, and her feline friends . . .
My Neon Sign
Let me just pose the question “Does anyone else have the neon sign that flashes on their respective foreheads?” You know the one I’m referring to. The one that says “COME TO MY HOUSE! FOLLOW ME, I’VE GOT FOOD!” Or maybe it just flashes “I’M A SUCKER FOR CATS.” Whatever the case, my sign appears to be in perfect working order as I presently house five of the lovely four-legged responders. I am compelled to point out that I never went looking for any of my girls, they all found me either by accident or just plain good luck.
Let’s see, the stray we named “Pretty Girl” started my female adoption process. Before her, I strictly took in males and at the time of her arrival on our patio, nearly starved, we had two. Winston was my bad boy who ruled the Outdoors and Klismos was Klismos, King of All and Everyone. Needless to say, my boys were none to happy when this emaciated and obviously hormonal female showed up on the back porch with access to the food bowl. Self-preservation, the awareness of the fact that my boys were laying in wait on the porch, was the only thing that kept her outside the cat door on the patio.
The fact that she felt it necessary to remain outside the cat door just just meant that she had to talk louder, and more frequently, to be heard in her demands for food. Sucker that I am, I of course broke the cardinal rule of not feeding strays and took food out to her right away. I made two immediate observations (I’m pretty sharp that way):
- The poor girl was nearly starved…nothing but bones.
- She was either pregnant or nursing, neither of which was good considering observation number one.
After nearly two weeks of her coming and going from the back corner of our property in the densely wooded undergrowth, she began to accept our presence a little more (as we did hers). We determined that she obviously had no owner and thought it best to keep closer tabs on her. So we did. And what should we find one afternoon, but three rambunctious kittens out playing in the tall weeds and grasses just beyond our property line.
So yet again, my neon sign flashed:
“COME WITH ME, I’VE GOT JUST THE HOME FOR YOU!”
At this point, I booted Klismos and Winston off the back porch much to their chagrin, but hey, they still had the garage domain for shelter if they were not in fact inside the house. After clearing the porch, I installed the three kittens and Pretty Girl on the porch. As I kept an eye on them, several facts became obvious. The kittens were three to four weeks old, all were females, and part of the reason Pretty Girl was sooooooo hungry was the fact that she was still a nursing mama.
In order to give her a much needed break and give all four girls a nutrient boost, I supplemented her nursing with cans of tuna and jars of baby food. Pretty Girl finally started regaining some of her muscle tone and the kittens all appeared healthy, so I deemed it time to start vet visits (or, as I refer to it in the presence of my girls, “The Kitty Spa”).
Pretty Girl was declared disease free and promptly spayed since the vet surmised that she was six months old at the time of her pregnancy. Obviously, she ran with a tough Tom…
The kittens were also declared disease free and began vaccinations. As is the case with some cats, Pretty Girl did not respond well to the pain once she reached her individual threshold. She was a real B**** when she came home… even her kittens didn’t go near her for nearly two days. She eventually settled down and resumed her outdoor activities when she’d healed some, but I think the whole “kitty spa” trip seriously stressed her though, as she disappeared about two weeks later.
While she never returned to our house, I have seen her since. As best I can tell she is still fairly wild and appears to have taken up residence about two miles away through the woods. I surmise this because on different occasions I have observed her sitting in a gravel drive off the road calmly grooming and surveying the surrounding woods. I rest a little easier seeing that she appears to be healthy and knowing that she will never be a starving mama again!
While Pretty Girl departed for further adventures, the kittens decided that I made a great surrogate (or maybe the flashing neon sign on my forehead was mesmerizing). As is my normal experience when a batch of kittens is born, no one offered to adopt, so we made room for the three newest members of our household: Burleose, Toulouse, and Marie! I think the novelty of my neon sign may have worn off for the girls as they have grown, but I know that they still love their surrogate mom as is evidenced in their loud talking, lap-sitting and, of course, their MANY presents.