A few years ago, my daughter, Shannon, and her family moved in with me. They brought their young, large and loveable short haired yellow cat named Gary. My granddaughter, Alaina, named him after Sponge Bob Square Pants’ pet snail, Gary, and she called the stuffed animal he played with Sandy.
I immediately warmed up to Gary and allowed him to casually slip into his position as “king of the house.” Meaning, wherever Gary wanted to lie, he would lay. Even if it was a chair I wanted to sit in!
I live in an area of Wheeling where there are a lot of woods, and people dump their unwanted felines. There are always stray kittens and cats wondering around. Through the years, Alaina has fed them, played with them, and created little box houses for them; but eventually they would disappear, and we would dodge the bullet of explaining “no more cats” to her.
Time flies when you’re cleaning the litter box. Here we are five years later and the couple who lives across the street from us took in a cute little black and white stray kitten last summer. They allowed Alaina and the other neighborhood children to play with the kitten and when they were trying to name her, Alaina even suggested they name her “Oreo”. Oreo was an outside cat. Oreo had grown attached to Alaina and would come across the street to play with her. Alaina (and probably my daughter, Shannon) became concerned that the nice neighbors didn’t seem to be feeding Oreo. So, Alaina began to make sure she had food and water. As the summer months turned into fall, we became concerned because Oreo was never going inside at night. Nor did it appear that they were feeding her. One day the nice neighbor lady approached my daughter and said that she had noticed that we had been caring for Oreo. Shannon assured her that we weren’t trying to steal Oreo, we were just concerned that she was hungry and Alaina, of course, loved playing with her. Nice neighbor lady said no problem, and she didn’t mind if we took her as our own.
We didn’t want the responsibility of having another cat, but we also didn’t want Oreo to spend nights in the freezing temperatures of the winter and we couldn’t stand to call animal control. It was quite obvious that we had all fallen in love with her. So, after doing a bit of research about introducing a new cat into a home that has been ruled by another cat for years, we finally decided to invite Oreo into our family. She was such a sweet, gentle female kitten; Gary adjusted well; he didn’t seem to mind her; they seemed to get along just fine; all were happy. And then we discovered Oreo was pregnant! No good deed goes unpunished.
We didn’t think we were going to have any problem getting rid of the kittens. Before Oreo delivered, people were begging us to have one. I’ve had cats all of my life, but I’ve never experienced having a pregnant cat and having kittens. We were all enjoying the process thoroughly. We waited anxiously. The day she delivered, everyone was out of the house and she hid under Alaina’s bed. She had three kittens, two black males and one gray tabby female. We watched and cared for them all the while trying not to fall in love with any of them because we knew we were getting rid of them. Two cats, just right…five cats, too many.
When the time came for the kittens to be adopted, we were only able to get rid of one of the black ones. After a while, when it became apparent that the kittens were not going anywhere, Alaina named them; Thumper for the gray tabby and Oscar for the pure black one.
They have become a part of our family now. They continue to grow, and life will never be the same with our herd of cats. They race through the house like little tiny Cheetahs at 2 a.m. When we go to the bathroom, they sit outside the door waiting. They all follow Alaina around wherever she goes. They swarm the kitchen when I’m trying to fix my breakfast in the morning and try to convince me that their own dishes need to be filled after they have already been fed!
I never knew how easy it was to become a crazy cat lady.