Monday, January 25, 2010

Little Orphan Annie

Three years ago, a very disheveled, emaciated, but striking tuxedo cat appeared on the terrace wall, staring in at us. She would appear in the afternoon, hang around a few hours, then trot off into the woods. The neighboring property that backs up to our land is a cow pasture, and sometimes A's barn kitties come over, but they are well fed. This little cat seemed to need help. From her regular schedule, we quickly figured out she must be nursing. When we got close enough to inspect her, we discovered she was, in fact, a teen mother. After 4 weeks she was tame enough to rub against our legs and let us pet her, though she still 'talked' constantly, growling while eating a mouthful of food...

One afternoon Excy drove the tractor into the garage and saw 3 horrified little faces -- the tuxdeo and her 2 kittens. He shut the door and for 3 weeks we worked on taming the little family. When it became too hot to keep them in the un-air-conditioned space we moved them into the studio. MC, the studio cat, wasn't having any of it, though, and we were concerned the kittens would be harmed, so we moved them into our guest bathroom, where they lived for 6 weeks while I frantically searched for homes for them.

First to go was the little gray and white male I had named 'Hairy.'
He was the leader -- brave and brash, and cute. The more timid little boy unfortunately looked positively bat-like.

"Bless his pea-picken' little heart," was one of the more positive comments I received from various emails and computer posts.

When dad saw a photo of 'Killer' (she nabbed a baby bird that had the misfortune to flutter down by her), he fell in love.

After she got shots and 'fixed' to prevent future 'surprises' off she went to their house. He named her 'Annie' (as in 'Little Orphan') and put her in their basement guest quarters to get used to the house. Since she had been tame with us, I assumed she quickly adapt to having a 'forever' home.

Mom called later that day to say Annie had disappeared. For about a week, they'd put food and water in the bowls, go in and sit on the bed and talk to her, but there would be no cat. But the food disappeared. Finally dad pulled out the fold-out sofa and found the hole she had dug into the mattress. But she wasn't in it. By then she had figured a way into the ceiling duct. They had a semi-feral cat crawling around the house for about a month before she finally warmed to mom, a bit, and started appearing in the house in public. After a year, she got to where she would sit near them, be petted, and stay in the same room. I told them they needed another cat, a male kitten (so she wouldn't feel in competition with it), that she could play with, who would 'teach' her how to act like a normal cat. Dad, rightly so, didn't want to even think about the possibility of having another wacko cat in the house. But he finally came around to the idea, and Amos was introduced into the household this summer.

Amos is a wonderful kitten, Annie treats him like her 'kid,' and she was come a long way towards acting like a happy, normal, tame house-cat, and now everybody's happy.

I made this needlepoint of Annie for mom for Christmas from the photo.

P.S: We adopted 'bat boy' - named Lenny, out of my admiration for the late-lamented 'Lenny' from Law & Order. Fell in love with him while we were searching for a home for him. Excy just shook his head when I informed him Lenny was our cat, but he's the best little boy in the world, and has me laughing every day.


Jazz said...

They are beyond adorable. And frankly, Lenny is the one I would have taken. Damn, I miss having cats.

Eva Gallant said...

Great story...adorable cats! Amos is gorgeous, but I think I would have fallen for Lenny, too.

Deborah said...

Beautiful story and very cute kittes!!

Aunt Juicebox said...

Bat boy - rofl

The little gray and white one looks just like my cat did when she was little! Her hair grew out long though. I love that kitter with all my heart, but she's a mean one. No one else can get near her.

e said...

Tux cats are the best, and those kittens are adorable. Thanks for sharing their story and photos!

Tricia McWhorter said...

Our tuxedo cat, Mystic, adopted us about twelve years ago. He'd skulk into our kitchen when he thought we weren't looking and eat voraciously from our cats' dishes. If he saw us he'd skulk out as fast as he could (he never did run gracefully like other cats.) This went on for about six months. One day he appeared and was drooling. My daughters were terrified—rabies, they guessed. I didn't think so. Turns out he had an abbcessed tooth. For the first time he let me get near him, pick him up, and then swab his mouth with a mixture of peroxide and water. He's never left and has been the loviest cat we've ever had.

Jayne Martin said...

What a wonderful story. I've had cats all my life and almost all of them have found me. A home with a cat is just a house.

Kathryn said...

I love the cat stories! Especially with a happy ending. :)

I've a fondness for grey cats. I've had a number of different colors, but for some reason, the grey ones just melt my heart.

They are all so cute.

Anonymous said...

Oh my I am glad I am not your neighbor because I would have adopted a kitty and I fear my other kitties would be very angry! Beautiful kitties!!!