Since I have two furry cat companions on this quest, I thought I should introduce them. They “assist” me with some exercises and keep me on schedule. As with many things, there’s a story about how they came to live with me.
When We Met, Her Name Was “Stripey”
I live in a large apartment complex with many buildings. In my building, I have a neighbor with two cats (sisters) named “Stripey” and “Selena.” They also have three small children who “accidentally” cut the whiskers of “Selena.” The neighbor didn’t believe in vet visits or getting the cats fixed. When “Stripey” turned one year old, she gave birth to two kittens. The papa was an enormous, very fluffy orange cat. I know this because I interrupted the kitten-making process.
Six weeks after the kittens were born, she was in heat again. I would hear poor “Stripey” in heat screaming the lyrics to Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” at the top of her lungs. While I do not speak cat, I’m pretty sure that it. So I would go outside, pet her, and apologize for not doing more than pet her and sympathize.
She would come over every day and hang out with me and take naps on the couch with my stuffed Cerberus. By this time, her kittens made it to their new homes. She stayed anywhere from twenty minutes to three hours, and I didn’t blame her. Those kids made a lot of noise. I let my neighbor know about her visits. She said, “If you want to keep her, you can. The kids are probably too young for cats anyway.” I told her I’d think about it.
Then, “Stripey” came over and refused to leave. When she heard their voices outside the window, she hissed. Something happened. I don’t know what, but she lived with me now. I let the neighbor know, and that was that.
Her Name Now is Hera
The first thing was to rename her “Hera.” She regularly snuggled with Cerberus, so she needed a Greek mythology name. She would be an indoor cat, so it also needed to be her prison name. If you are going to be named after a goddess, you go with the biggest baddest one.
The second thing was making her first vet appointment. In the meantime, I started feeding her proper food and water. We played, and she slept a lot. She began looking healthier and filling out. Plus, she hadn’t sung any of Nina Simone in a while. So, I think you see where this is headed.
“Oh yea, she’s pregnant. We didn’t do a full scan, but there are at least two, and they will be here in about a month.”
To quote Gone With the Wind, “I know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ babies.” So I started my research, and basically, the cat does everything. You, as a mere human, exist in case anything goes wrong. The websites list all the horrible things that can go wrong and what to do. So, I made a couple of spots that seemed comfy and put the emergency vet number on the fridge.
At Least Two…
On a Saturday night at 8 pm, Hera looked at me and bellowed out two blood-curdling meows, and ran to the maternity ward I made in my closet. However, the first kitten panicked her when he got a bit stuck, which made her run, and he ended up coming out in the middle of the office floor. He was all gray with a white stripe down his nose.
Number two son nearly arrived in the corner next to a bookcase, but she finally settled under my desk where the rest were born. He looked precisely like number one son, except his white stripe smudged to the right. The following two boy kittens looked like Hera; one with white socks and one with no socks.
There was a bit of a pause. Hera was able to catch her breath for a few minutes before her first daughter came out. She was an orange calico with three of her four paws wearing white socks.
The last two kittens came out back to back. Hera’s second daughter was a white calico, and the last kitten in there looked exactly like the first girl, except she had all four socks. The last one took the longest to move, and I worried the most for her, but three hours later, Hera and all the babies were alive and well.
The Magnificent Seven
The “Magnificent Seven” adventures could fill a whole blog, but all you need to know is that Hera rules as a mom. She taught them everything they needed to know before going to their forever homes. I decided to keep one of the kittens so Hera would have company. I let the kittens determine who should stay. It turned out the youngest girl picked me. She always greeted me first and the only one who purred when I pet her.
I placed them into good homes in good school districts. I made sure to give them nicknames until I was told their real names. Their names in birth order: Gary, Winston, Loki, Rudy, Nut-meg, Fiona, and the one I kept is Penelope. I wanted to keep with the Greek mythology names theme.
All of them are happy and healthy with their baby factories closed.
When Hera’s kitten factory closed, we learned she’s NOT a fan of the vet. This resulted in me sending them a basket of cookies with a note saying, “Hera apologies for the physical and emotional damage that she caused during her last visit.” Of all the kittens, Nut-meg truly is her mother’s daughter. It took multiple tries to get her to the vet, and she was heard yelling, “You’ll never take me alive, coppers!” as she evaded capture by her humans.
Hera and Penelope
I’m not sure if Hera and Penelope are excellent sheepdogs or if I’m an excellent sheep. Either way, I’m fully trained. It’s taken about a year, but Hera purrs more and is willing to cuddle. Penelope purrs if air has oxygen in it. She finds everything delightful, purrs like a German tank, and the vet described her “as adorable as she is soft.” Penelope has a motto of “Better under the bed than dead.” She retreats there when she is slightly concerned about whatever might be happening.
If you follow me on Instagram, 80% of my posts include one or both ladies. You can follow their adventures there if you want, and the following blogs will return to my health quest. They will make guest appearances, and Penelope will tell you about her love of broccoli and salad smells when we get to the food discussions.
This series will discuss intentional weight loss struggles and may be difficult for anyone with an eating disorder.