A "tail" of eight kitties: Brookview (pt 1 of 4)

United States
June 7, 2007 11:43am CST
This is the story of our 8 cats and how they came to us. A bit of a word to the wise: I sound like any parent when I'm talking about my 2x2-legged crew, so if you find that sort of thing nauseating, stop reading! Our 3 youngest cats are Puffy, Lord Greything, his brother Little Lord Greysox, and Brooks Black Kitty. They all came to us at Brookview Townhomes, an affordable housing complex in Claymont, Delaware, USA, which was sold and targeted for demolition while we were living there. May the assistant manager came knocking on our door one beautiful August aftenoon with a box of little squirmy things. They turned out to be 4 kittens, not a week old, that the cleanout guys found under a couch in a vacant unit. I was already known to management as the kitty lady, because I had noticed a feral cat trapped in a vacant unit and solicited their help in rescuing it more than once. May asked if I would hold the kittens for the SPCA, and I said I'd hold them, no promises about the rest. She didn't really care, as long as she didn't have to deal with them in an already crowded office. The word "squirmling" appeared as if on a huge billboard in my brain when I looked inside the box. Not quite standing up yet, eyes just starting to open, these little things were unhappy with life and yelling about it at the top of their lungs. This inflamed the oddly tender maternal instincts of our 120 lb Black Lab-German Sheperd-Great Dane mix, Larry, so he and I played a few minutes of keepaway while I figured out where to put them. I still had the kitten nursing bottle from Paris (her story is in the next chapter), but no formula. Luckily, my good friend Dot was off that day, and ran to the pet store for me. Kittens this young should be fed every 3-4 hours, so she got me some more bottles, too. The next 3 weeks are just a blur, one long, endless night of waking every couple of hours to the chorus of pathetic little howls coming out of the huge dog crate the Squimlings lived in. We gave them "reference" names, because we didn't plan to keep any. We had 6 of our own already and knew we'd be moving in the next year. We thought they were tiny things that needed big names to puff them up, so the schiziod little calico girl became Little Miss Wild Thing. The two gray boy's names evolved from a frequent feeding time conversation my Honey and I would have: ME:"Pass me the gray one." HONEY:"The big gray thing?" ME:"No, gray with socks" Hence, Little Lord Grey Thing, and Little Lord Grey Socks. The third boy, a gorgeous brown and tan with spots on his belly, was simply Number Four, because he was last in line for everything. As the weeks passed, we were able to find homes for Miss Thing and Number Four with friends who had just bought a house and wanted to be sure they'd have no rodent problem. The Squirmlings were all superb hunters of absolutely anything that moved, perfect cats for the job! We couldn't find anyone to adopt Grey Thing, the alpha kitten of the bunch who outwieghed his littermates by 25%, and Grey Socks wasn't ready for adoption. Socks was the runt kitten, a tiny thing that probably would have died if nature had its way. It took many, many extra feedings to keep him going, if he ate too much at once he'd throw it all back up right away. I spent that entire winter with a small gray tumor that would sometimes be in my lap, on my knee, sometimes on my shoulder, or on warmer days, sprawled across my feet. He spent the nights perched on my hip, and would patiently hop off when I rolled over, until I settled, then back onto my hip. I felt like his personal space heater, which I didn't mind. Spring came around, and an opportunity arose to get Grey Thing adopted. Honey and I looked at each other and said, no way! They were 6 months old and part of our family. We had figured out how to arrange things so the cats had room to romp and play, as well as space the dogs couldn't access, so life was fine. That was when we decided to give the 2 remaining Squirmlings actual names. Grey Thing has the softest feet in all catdom, like an old-fashioned powder puff with purple paw pads. That's how he became Puffy, and we kept the Lord Greything just for fun. We tried to name Socks Tommy, like Sir Thomas Grey, but he refused to answer to the name. Socks has 4 different nicknames to which he answers quite readily, so we assume he didn't like it. The other kitty who joined us at Brookview was born feral and lived in the attic of the abandoned units behind our building. I trapped him and got him shots and neutered, then returned him to his attic. I continued to feed him and try to get him to trust me over the next 8 months. Fortunately, by the time we had to move out, he would trust me enough to walk into a crate when I coaxed him, so he came with us. Outside, I had just called him Black Kitty, which he answers to, and we added the Brooks for where he was born. He has adjusted well to life indoors, although we still can't pick him up and hold him. Slowly, we're working these things out. He shows no inclination at all towards the outdoors, which is a blessing. All of our cats are fulltime indoor cats. Roadkill is too heartbreaking, and this is the only 100% effective cure I know for it! Next chapter: The White Wilmington Ridgebacks
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3 responses
@jhl930 (3603)
• United States
3 Feb 08
Aww it sounds like you really got lucky whenever you got those two kitty cats....alot of people would have just sent them to the animal shelter or something and it is really nice to see that there are still really nice people out there that would gladly give a couple kitty cats a good home...I really hope that you have fun with your new kitty cats and I hope they really enjoy their new home from now on...Ive always heard that good pets will go toward good people and I really guess that its true!
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@Destiny007 (5819)
• United States
7 Jun 07
Isn't it funny how often temporary things can become part of the family? We just have the one cat and it keeps us plenty busy just trying to keep up with the litter box and protecting my wifes knick knacks that she has around the apartment. Our cat favors my wife, and is very jealous of when she tries to do any needlework or even get on her computer. She demands a certain amount of lap time and doesn't much care what my wife is doing at the time. I can't imagine having 8 of them running around, that must keep you hopping.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 07
Yes, it's always a risk when you take someone in to "rehome" them, especially when you ask for references from prospective adopters. Picky people wind up with extra kitties! We had to give up a bedroom for the cats use, and it is quite a bit of work, making sure we don't have any breakdowns in litter discipline, but they are just so darn funny when they start to romp. It all balances out. Of course, the only knickknacks we can display are behind glass, they'd never survive otherwise! Thanks for stopping by, Des!
@mummymo (23707)
9 Jul 07
What a fantastic story sweetheart - I knew you had a huge heaart and this post only confirms it! I have one cat and she is the most arrogant cat in the world - she will snuggle up with us but only if and when she feels like it, she sleeps on my bed and if I move she gets quite annoyed with me for disturbing her - but it is okay if she wants to walk all over me when I am trying to sleep! We called her a few names that she refused to acknowledge and one day I thought she is the same colour as the liqueur Tia Maria and she instantly came to me , that was it Tia stuck and of course Maria is her middle name! I really admire the way you love and care for your pets - I really love animals but I am honest enough to say that although I am morew than happy to care for my cat and my kids I don't have the patience to walk a dog several times a day and to give my entire life over to my pets! You are doing a great job sweets - I am so proud of you! xx
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