All thoughts of self-care and introspection disappear when I’m protecting my children. No, not the girls; the kitties.
Monday we were supposed to take Tiger Lily and Felix to the vet to be fixed. Finally they would be able to go outside without our worrying about them getting pregnant or knocking someone else up. Their access to the outdoors also meant we no longer had to have litter boxes on the back lanai, and I could finally reclaim my creative space. With the dry season upon us, I knew I’d want to be out there every morning to write. And while we all occasionally enjoy playing with the cats, it seems cruel to coop them up on a porch all day, even a large one.
But we made the mistake of deciding Mama needed to go to the vet too. She’s got some kind of rash on her tummy and the inside of her back legs. We successfully negotiated both kittens into the cat carrier, but Felicity would have none of it. She hissed, clawed, bit and somersaulted away from it. BG dropped her and in the ensuing mêlée the kittens escaped. They slid into the vegetation and BG went away to bandage his wounds. Later, feeling really stupid, we attempted to figure out ways to lure them back. Felicity returned about an hour later, made amends, and wandered in and out of the house and lanai all day. At times she cried pitifully; was she calling her children?
We worried about the little ones because they had never been outside. Were they lost? Would they find their way home? Would they even want to come home? I thought back to Sunday night when we discovered the knots they made with the string we’d left out for them. BG was a bit exasperated and had to resort to scissors while the kitties “helped;” so cute. Where are you little trouble-makers now?
We saw Tiger Lily briefly in the backyard, and Felicity went outside to greet her. They nuzzled, but she scampered away as soon as BG approached. We left the back screen door propped open all night, hoping they’d show up.
At 6 am yesterday I woke to insistent yowls. Rolling over, I discovered Felix staring at me through the bedroom lanai door. I rose quickly, stepped out, crooned to him softly, and deftly shut the screen door. Felicity was right outside and wanted in too. Great! Now we had two of them. And then, Tiger Lily appeared out of nowhere, tentatively coming up the stairs. “Come on, Darling. Come in.” I opened the door and she slipped in, immediately seeking shelter under the daybed.
We’re back in business…almost. Something was different. The cats looked at each other cautiously. I opened the dry food bucket and scooped the usual one scoop each into the two breakfast bowls. Typically the three cats shared the two bowls, but Felicity immediately guarded both, batting the surprised kittens when they approached. I pulled one bowl further away, and invited the kitties to dine. But Tiger Lily got there first and hissed at Felix every time he got close. With Mama whacking him and his sister hissing, he looked up at me. “Okay, I’ll get you your own bowl.”
The females didn’t like that either and I had to physically stand between Felix and the girls. By 6:30, things were stable enough that I could make coffee. Returning, I saw they were in separate corners of the lanai, watching warily. I sat down in my usual comfy chair and to my surprise, Felix jumped right into my lap, something he’s never done before. He’s Faye’s kitty, and she drags him around constantly. But she wasn’t awake yet. Felix stayed in my lap for two hours while BG took Faye to school.
Meanwhile Felicity allowed Tiger Lily to approach and settle in next to her perched on the top of the daybed, a favored napping spot. I realized that if I expect them to stay outside in the future, I’ll have to create a high safe-feeling nest for them out there. Everyone slept. I’m betting that the kitties hadn’t slept since Monday morning when they had to be on their guard in the new strange environment of the outdoors.
Finally Felix got up and slipped past his mother and sister. But Tiger Lily stirred and growled at him. I’d never heard her do that before. He investigated the litter boxes, all clean with no one having used them in the previous 24 hours. I took the opportunity to check my computer, but Felix came back and settled right on it. I guess he was still feeling insecure, so I abandon the thought of writing, and noticed with surprise that I wasn’t annoyed with him.
Eventually Felicity came over to investigate. I invited her onto the chair next to me and she jumped up. I stroked her while Felix stayed put in my lap. Soon she lept to the railing ledge, and Felix jumped after her. I held my breath, but she allowed him to play his familiar catching game with her tail as she flicked it. All seemed to be fine.
Postscript Wednesday: All feline relationships are back to normal. They were sleeping in one big fur ball this morning. I realize people that who don’t like cats won’t care about this post. And people who have cats will be ho-hum, been there – done that. But I guess I’m like a first time parent, wanting to show off my baby – can’t help myself.
My sister warned me not to get pets. She said they take over your life. She’s right. My thoughts go to later this week. Now that the kitties had a bad experience with the cat carrier, how on earth are we going to get them to the vet? Clearly I have a lot more to learn about cats, my first pets ever.
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