Memories of Another 4th   1 comment

Holidays seem to evoke memories of other such holidays and what was happening then.  Today’s memory is of an event that occurred during our 4th of July holiday in 1994 when we were living in South Minneapolis.

That spring, a feral she-cat gave birth to two kittens under a neighbor’s porch.  We had been feeding her, and when the kittens were old enough to venture out with her when they were about six weeks old, she brought them to the kibble bowl on the front porch.  I’ve described in previous posts the prolonged, pain-stakingly patient and gentle approach that I undertook over months towards earning these ferals kittens’ trust.

In early July when Katie, the little calico, and her assumed-to-be brother, still unnamed, were about 13 weeks old, Mama Cat went into heat again.   As the rock and roll group, Lovin Spoonful, said in their 1966 hit:

 Cool town, evening in the city

Dressed so fine and looking so pretty

Cool cat, looking for a kitty

Gonna look in every corner of the city

Till I’m wheezing at the bus stop

Running up the stairs,

gonna meet you on the rooftop

On that hot summer night, there was much screeching and caterwauling going on as all toms out catting around sniffed the presence of a queen in estrus and took chase to Mama Cat.  For those of you who have ever been around such mating activity, you will recall how piercingly loud the activity is, and it sounds as though someone is being murdered.  No one sleeps when this is going on outside beneath open windows!

We owned and lived on the lower level of a duplex at that time, and around midnight, the phone rang.  It was our upstairs tenant, a young woman who was a cat fancier herself.   “Look out on the garage roof,” she instructed me.  We had a detached garage on the alley behind the house.

I went to the back bedroom window and peered out at the garage roof.  There on the very peak of the roof huddled two kittens, Katie and her no-name sibling.  They had no doubt been scared off by the commotion going on down in the yard and sought refuge at the highest spot they could climb.   As usual in those days, they took comfort in each other’s physical closeness in times of duress.

Alice, our tenant, chose to interpret it in another way.  “They’re watching over the house, Bonnie.  This property is home to them.  I think that these two kittens have adopted you!”

Mama Cat did indeed become pregnant again, and in the days that followed, she began hissing and swatting at her two kittens from the early spring litter.  She wanted them on their own so that she could concentrate on raising a new brood.  As she drove them off, the kittens bonded more strongly with me, and in August they joined the two humans and one very elderly cat in the house on 17th Ave.  The house that they watched over was theirs. The human who gave them warmth and comfort in their abandonment by their biological mother became their adoptive mom.   I vowed to love them, protect them, and provide for them from that day forward, until death draws them or me to other callings.

Seventeen years ago:

The Kittens Summer 1994

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Posted July 4, 2011 by StPaulieGrrl in cats

Tagged with , , ,

One response to “Memories of Another 4th

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  1. This is such a wonderful story! I have indeed heard the “caterwalling” of mating felines, but if you want the hair to stand up over your entire body there’s nothing like the cry of a mountain lion – especially if he’s on your roof and you didn’t know he was there! It’s enough to actually make you jump right out of your skin! I’m actually surprised they don’t use that sound more in horror movies as I’ve never heard anything scarier!!!

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