She Dragged Out the Baby Pictures

black cat washing black kitten

Mimi caught in the act: a young Jelly Bean enjoys a bath from his mom.

I can have no pride when mom is on a creative rampage. We caught her digging through boxes and cartons in the entertainment center and she wouldn’t even help us look, though you can be sure I would have gotten in her way if I had known she was looking up the photos she took when my babies were tiny. At least she didn’t choose another where I’m nursing them and my lovely figure is all distorted!

But these aren’t so bad. Sigh…I almost feel wistful.

black cat washing black kitten

Mimi finishes Bean's bath while Giuseppe plays with her tail.

I finally found the envelopes of photos from the first several months of the lives of the Big Four! I have some digitals, but my digital camera then left a lot to be desired, and I was struggling with the transition from film. I’ll have to post a few of them just being cute kittens, plus some very early photos of them on the bed and compare them with today!

Living With Your Grown-up Children on Mother’s Day…

one black cat washing another

Mewsette has to lean WAY down for Mimi to clean her up around the ears.

Well, I did enjoy having children until I moved here and saw the light—with a little help from my human mom, of course—but they always went away when I was done with them. Now it appears I’m stuck living with them for the rest of our lives. Sometimes they are so needy…

Of course, at other times, children are a comfort, and I couldn’t imagine my life without these four. Perhaps I now understand why humans tend to keep their children around for such a long time, and why they keep coming back.

Remember, you’re never too big for a little touch-up from your mom, but you can also use a little help from your children.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are mothers!

one black cat washing another

Mewsette returns the favor.

As the mother of all those kittens, and saved from a life of reproduction, Mimi has a few things to say about the benefits and drawbacks of being a feline mother. Read Mimi’s annual Mother’s Day address“Mimi, on “Mother’s Day”.

Mimi, on “Mother’s Day”

photo of black cat in the sun

Mimi on Mother's Day

Mimi’s annual Mother’s Day address

Sì, Mi chiamano Mimì, …

That’s my famous self-introduction, “Yes, they always call me Mimi…” Or, rather, that of the character after whom my rescue mom named me, the female lead in the Puccini opera La Boheme, the day I entered her household, forever.

Note that the accent is on the second syllable, in the French way.

Ha! I knew nothing of Puccini or opera before I came to this house, though I did lead quite the Bohemian lifestyle with many boyfriends and many adventures and assignations, inspiring my name, resulting in something like 24 kittens…hence the topic of my article today. I not only celebrate my own motherhood, but my adoption by my human mom, an event that changed both of our lives as motherhood will do even without the act of giving birth.

Participating in a university study…for Mother’s Day?

photo of black cat in bed covers

Lucy Helps to Make the Bed, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

First, she and I are going to embark on a very special Mother’s Day project including myself and all my kittens we’ve kept in touch with. We’ll all be participating in a study!

My human mom wrote an article about how she came to know me and ultimately adopt me in an article, A Nice, Nice Kitty. In that article you’ll read about a kitten named Lucy* from my second or third litter of kittens who my mom ended up adopting after finding good homes for the other kittens in that litter.

I didn’t live here yet, but Lucy was the kitten who was responsible for me joining this household. Lucy unfortunately had a disease called feline infectious peritonitis, or FIP, and no matter how much my mom loved her and cared for her, Lucy died at only 15 months old. My mom saw me carrying another litter of kittens in my belly—in fact, my last litter—and for many good reasons you can read about in the article mentioned above decided to take me into her house.

And for the sake of Lucy, who died so young, and for moms like my human mom, who suffer such sadness at the loss of kittens and cats of any age to this disease, we’ll be participating in a study of FIP at the University of California at Davis. We’ve just downloaded our forms and contacted the other kittens’ people, and we’ll write more about this as all of us do our cheek swabs and fill out our forms. (I’m still researching other kittens and family members before I send in the entire family tree, and discovered that the little clip of Lucy’s fur didn’t provide the right DNA for the test.~Bernadette)

I loved being a mother, but I’m such a lucky kitty now

I can’t believe I’ve gone from a loose little street cat to a happy, healthy and socially-conscious kitty participating in a university study! Unlike Mimi from La Boheme, I have gone on to live happily ever after, as should every kitty, and dog and bunny and bird and all the other animals who love to live with humans.

photo of black cat on sidewalk

Big Daddy comes for Mimi (actually coming to the door)!

But as for motherhood…I can’t deny it, I loved having kittens. I carefully chose the fathers, usually the two handsome black cats from Fifth Avenue, one tall and slender and silly and the other stockier and serious despite the little white spot on his chest, ensuring that all my children would be the same lustrous black as their parents with a mix of other physical and personality traits, and most were. Unfortunately, I loved my children so much that I also didn’t realize the world didn’t need more perfect little black kittens.

Motherhood is not for every kitty—not for most kitties!

close up photo of a black cat

Mimi tells her story

I’ve written an article listing 30 reasons why cats like me should be spayed—in fact, why all cats should be spayed except perhaps those lucky few whose people will monitor their activity and prepare for the proper adoption of the offspring.

Much as I loved being a mother I’m glad I’m spayed and can’t have any more kittens because I never realized how simply fun and enjoyable every day could be for a cat who was spayed and in a good home. Humans really recognize the royal nature of cats and enjoy indulging our every whim and we should really give them the opportunity to do that!

kittens in cat bed

The best I could do!

I’d like to tell you about the kittens I gave birth to in April 2006 including Lucy, Charlotte, Angus and Donal, and their humans, and the July 2007 litter—the Big Four, who most people who’ve been reading this blog know all too well. What mother doesn’t like to see her children become famous and successful?

Of course Lucy stayed here, and is gone but never forgotten. I see by reading mom’s e-mails that Charlotte, Angus and Donal, wish me a happy Mother’s Day, and I was so glad to see the happy photos of them come over.

She had helped to find homes for them, and she kept in touch with the people who adopted them, before she even really knew me. I like that about her, as much as I like the fact that she took me to be spayed.

blakc cat with rainbows

Lucy with rainbows in doorway.

*Bernadette says: I was very surprised, when I researched the libretto for La Boheme, that the next line in Mimi’s aria is, but my real name is Lucia.” The kitten I lost to FIP, and as Mimi tells you, the reason she came here, was named “Lucy”. As I moved Mimi and her babies from the box into the cage in the spare bedroom, I felt the strongest sense that Lucy was in the room with us, in fact turning around to look at the door, which was closed, but I had pictured it open with Lucy standing in the doorway, silhouetted by the sun on the landing. She had only been gone three weeks, it wouldn’t be unusual that I would forget she was gone in a distracted moment, but the way Mimi settled in, and the way she looked at me in that moment, I knew it wasn’t because I had forgotten. I never sensed Lucy again after that, nor felt that deep pang of loss, though those poor kittens and Mimi had to endure frequent hugs and kisses for months until I felt secure again. You’ll learn a little more about Lucy in upcoming articles, especially as we discuss FIP.

Happy Mother’s Day from Furball Fables

A friend sent this brief video around this morning and it’s so sweet I just have to share it.

Aside from the nieces and great-neices and nephews and generations of neighbor kids who’ve become my friends, I’ve only had furry feline “children”. I can’t miss the looks of love in their furry little faces, and someday when they’ve mastered all the hardware and software on my computer as I know they are plotting (surely they’re not just sleeping on my desk but are soaking in crucial information as they pretend to nap), I’m sure they’ll make a video like this about me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you cat moms, and moms of all the animals we love!