Before I could walk, Mother Cat was part of my life. Cats are cats, but Mother Cat was a soul connection for me. I know, it sounds dumb. If someone else said it, I might think, “well that sounds dumb”!!! But, every picture of me has Mother Cat in the background somewhere.
Mother Cat was pretty much the town HO by the time I was six. You could count on her having babies at least twice or more a year. When we tried to have her fixed, the vet said she was too old. Yet, she kept having kittens. Butterscotch was the town escort and by escort, I mean the father to lots and lots of kittens. We had many Calicos. As you might imagine Butterscotch was orange.
At one point, we had 17 cats! We had a big screened in porch. They could come and go as they pleased. I lived in a neighborhood with reasonably large yards. Each lot had an acre and a half.
When we moved there, a cat came with the house. It was a Persian named Fluffy. Fluffy was old. The people were moving to Florida and didn’t want to uproot her. She was mean. If you tried to pet her, she’d bite you. She didn’t interact well with any of the other cats–ever. She lived up in our barn. She would come down to eat when all the other cats were away.
I remember Mother Cat would have her babies in the oddest locations. One time it was in the back of one of our cars. One time it was inside of a spare tire. Another time it was behind the barn. I would move them to her basket in the porch and she would promptly move them back to her location. I would move them back and she would carry them one by one back to where she gave birth. These were my kids, too. I watched them being born. Gross alert: I watched with horror as she ate the afterbirth! She had such a peaceful look as she nursed them. Occasionally, one of the “teenaged” cats would try to nurse again and get bopped on the head. One time I painted their nails. Don’t tell Peta. I would help teach them to walk. Of course, we had to wait for their eyes to open before handling them. I would be as excited as the last with each new litter. One time she had one on Good Friday and one on Easter. Her largest litter was six.
My BFF Sheila and I would name all the cats. Some were “hers”! By age 10, we had a theme song called, “We are the Buster and Boo Boo Kitties”!!! We talked Mazy talk. You probably would call it baby talk, but we called it Mazy talk. We had a whole shtick!
We would name every kitten. Some of the names over the years that I remember: Bootsie aka Boo Boo, Buster, Boo Boo#2, Cuddles, Peewee Flickertail, Mildred (after my aunt and it turned out to be a boy) Calico Kitty, Fleetwood, Mac, Stubsy, Fred (after the cute guy that worked at my father’s car wash)!!!
I also collected knick-knack kitty cats. I had about 50 glass cats in my room. I had bunk beds. My grandmother got me kitty cat quilts.
In ninth grade my parents got divorced. A lot of stuff changed. Mother Cat was getting old. I used to sneak her into the house. Cats were persona non grata in the house. The dogs were allowed on two levels of the house, but not upstairs!
Imagine how I felt when my father had “the crazy lady” move in and her dog and cat were allowed to live upstairs.
By high school, I drifted back and forth between each of my parent’s houses. Mostly, I stayed at my boyfriends house. About that time Mother Cat also went away. We lost touch. I don’t know what ever happened to her. I’d like to think she is still around. Do you know how old she’d be? OMG!!!!!!
One day, after playing with my friend’s cat the night before, I had a severe allergic reaction. I broke out in hives and my vision was blurred. I went to the school nurse and she cold pressed my eyes. Other than being very itchy, my eyes were okay.
Every time after that when I touched a cat, I broke out in hives and got itchy. Sometimes, it happened with dogs.
After several times of that, I stayed away from anything with fur. Poor Jonathan didn’t have a dog or cat. He had a bunny and a Guiana pig, but I didn’t touch them too much!
My mother swore I wasn’t allergic. How could I be? I grew up with cats! Well, I was/am, I can assure you. I get itchy when I’m around furry things. I like animals. I like cats and dogs. I paint dogs. I can’t hold them or I get itchy. Case closed.
If not for allergies, I probably would have too many cats. Perhaps I would be THAT cat lady. We’ll never know.
I do have a shopping cart!