“I don’t have time to stop for a photo,” she says, then jumps five feet up and to the left onto the refrigerator to get a good look at the street.
Kelly is about 17 years old, and is without a doubt the most talkative cat I have ever known. She has a word for jumping up on something, another for jumping down, and a whole sentence for when she runs into the room, stops and tells me a story, then runs off still talking. And she never walks. The only time she is still is when she curls on my lap, and even then she is constantly adjusting.
Of course, when she’s testing a new piece of crochet work, she has to run it through its paces.
For all that, she is a shy kitty and tends to stay in out of the way spots along with being always in motion. Petite and slender with long legs and tail, Kelly has barely changed at all since she came to me, though I’m sure she’s increased her vocabulary.
“Hold still, let me get this little spot behind your ear.”
All four of the siblings regularly bathe each other, as well as their mom giving them a little touch up now and then. It’s just a sweet and spontaneous action, like saying hello.
Here Giuseppe holds Jelly Bean in place to help him keep up appearances. I’m sure JB is as clean as can be, but G just has to let him know how he feels.
Of course, as often as it’s appreciated and returned in kind, it’s also turned into a wrestling match.
At a Ukrainian dance and marketplace event I attended today I saw these matryoshka dolls painted up like kitties (and one little piggie in the back)!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, these are the wooden dolls that open up and have other dolls inside, each one opening to reveal a smaller doll.
I didn’t have the chance to open one up and see how many kitties were inside—would it be seven by some coincidence?—and they were packing up after the performance when I got back to the table (I was also photographing the event). They are so nicely done, and are actually imported from a village in Ukraine by the business owner, a Ukrainian immigrant herself who also makes a few items. There were so many vendors there and I wanted everything I saw so I’m glad I didn’t manage to go shopping. When I get in touch with the woman again, I’m going to get the kitty in the back with the balalaika! Or, maybe the kitty in the front pulling petals off the daisy.
I did purchase a vinok, the flowered tiara-shaped headdress with colored satin ribbons hanging down the back. This new one matches a few of my flowered skirts that my other one doesn’t. The event was at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, so I put it on there and wore it home, and while my kitties were glad to see me, Mewsette, who greeted me at the window, looked at me when I came in, and looked at my vinok, then looked back at me. “I’m glad to see you, but can you take that thing off?” I wear hats all the time, I don’t see what the problem was, but I did eventually take it off.
“Boys don’t have kittens, so you don’t have to get them fixed.”
Interesting concept, and taken farther than issues with unspayed and unneutered cats, boys do have babies, they just don’t give birth to them. But that doesn’t leave them off the hook for issues of animal overpopulation, not to mention the nasty behaviors unneutered cats indulge in.
Even before Mimi, the house where she lived before she came to me had many cats, few of them “fixed”. It wasn’t that the humans didn’t believe in it or were uninformed, they just never got around to it, though they kept adopting cats and keeping kittens from their litters. At least one other female cat who lived there was also producing a litter or two per year, in the neighbors’ yards no less, and several males were strutting their stuff around the neighborhood.
“But they’re mother and son—isn’t that incest?!”
I kept on their back about getting their cats fixed and helped them find homes for the kittens, usually easing them into shelters, knowing these kittens were likely destined not to be spayed or neutered wherever they ended up. Eventually, a cat or two disappeared, they found homes for several of the ones they had, and they had all but Mimi spayed or neutered. And, eventually, we know Mimi ended up over here.
But a neighbor one street over had, I found it hard to believe, four unneutered male cats in one house. They all went outdoors, of course, and at least two of them regularly found their ways to Mimi. I can’t imagine living in a house with four unneutered male cats who had roaming privileges; I know that people who breed and show cats will have a stud or two and they are usually pretty well-behaved. The owner of these cats, however, though it was really cool that his cats were the studs of the neighborhood and beat the crap out of all the other cats and the occasional dog or raccoon. He had no intention to get them fixed because they didn’t have kittens so he didn’t have to worry about it. I pity the walls of his house.
“I just can’t bring myself to do that to another guy.”
Not to mention anything up to 18 inches off the ground anywhere in their territory, including my storm doors, eliciting responses from some of my cats and from other outdoor cats, and so the pis–ng contest went on for years.
This black cat was one of Mimi’s suitors. I’ll agree with her that he’s a fine specimen of a cat, and I can see where her kittens inherited their size. He went looking for her and pretty quickly realized she’d moved and found her here. She was still nursing the kittens but was in heat again, spaying was risky but I was absolutely certain that the two of them would rip a hole in one of my screens to get at each other. They didn’t, though even after she was spayed he still came around, looking sullen out on the sidewalk and mooning about her over in the neighbor’s driveway where they used to meet.
Several years ago, a friend of mine adopted a male cat and decided that, since she lived way far out and there probably weren’t any cats near, she really didn’t need to get her cat neutered. I did tell her that was a mistake for various reasons, not only because her cat would wander pretty far to find what he wanted, often to his own detriment, but that she’d be in one way or another contributing to feline overpopulation, something she was actually concerned about.
Before she could act, to her surprise, she found a cat nursing a litter of kittens in her barn. So her guy didn’t have to go anywhere, but apparently had room service—an unspayed female finding him and moving in.
She spent the better part of the next two years trying to catch all the half-wild and feral kittens on her property and working with the Homeless Cat Management Team in Pittsburgh to spay and neuter them all.
Neuter and spay, it’s the kindest way.
And neutering surgery is much less complicated than a spay, so it costs less, sometimes as little as $25.00! There’s very little recovery and little chance for infection or other aftereffects.
Visit Shelters, Assistance, Spay/Neuter for information on low-cost spay and neuter in Pittsburgh and around the country and assistance with managing feral colonies.
Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette are ready for action. Whether or not they’ll do what I ask is another matter.
“Could you clean your litterbox?”
Off they go to play.
Mewsette enjoys a nibble on the Boston lettuce I’m about to turn into a salad. Looks like a complete meal to me.
“No dressing, please. Thanks for the fresh water.”
Mewsette likes her salad greens plain and natural. I’ve known cats who liked salad greens before, but usually just for a nibble on something fresh and green. Mewsette is a serious consumer, at least as far as my cats go.
The funny thing is she wasn’t eating on that cabinet and I didn’t offer it to her, I only set the lettuce down for a moment so I could pick up a few other things and go to the sink, but she must have smelled the lettuce and jumped up for a snack.
Her list of other approved foods is an interesting collection, chick peas, roasted edamame beans, cooked oatmeal, macadamia nuts (I know they’re not good for her, I just don’t get that trail mix any more), any pasta cooked or raw, cherry tomatoes. I really can’t find a pattern, but I keep an eye on her.