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A Kittery Tale: Sleep Deprivation and Emerging Personalities

Quantum is a proud, patient, borne-to-be-a-mother of kittens.  She is naturally good at what nature gave her to do.  She is sweet, attentive, and clean.  Since the kitteries have been born, she is even more clean than she was pre-kitterville and that was SO CLEAN! She never smelled of anything but love(?).  I mean she just really hasn’t had any odor about her since she came to be here. (Yes, her shit stinks.)  About four days after the babies were born, the room smelled like curry, or a mixture of Indian spices.  That sent me for a head spin because I rarely, if ever make food with those flavors even though I love it.

Our little feline schedule has taken a shift with the arrival of these five new furry friends.  Three girls, and two boys.  With an intense feeding schedule of every couple of hours;  Momma has a bottomless pit for a stomach and a penchant for constantly cleaning, I’ve been sent into a whole new level of care taking that has no regard for the time of day or night.  Who needs sleep?

Personally, I like sleep. No, I love sleep.  I am a light sleeper and am easily awakened by the slightest of noises.  I loathe being awakened and a whiny momma cat, is not a slight noise.  The whines and cries always seem specifically timed to occur when I am just about to drift into the deep onset of sleep. She sits there, staring at me, knowing this. She always cries in that moment when I feel as if I could fall into a dream abyss.  Immediately I am snapped back to the reality that this Momma needs/wants something.  Be it food, water, or a clean box… there is no limit to the requests that may come up at 3 am and I am an idiot for thinking I can ignore her.  She wins…every…single…time.

Week two has led to sleep deprivation. I am at the beck and call of this Queen.  I do the best I can at meeting her needs before I go to bed in hopes Quantum will let me sleep a full night; what a dumb human I am to expect that I could just go to bed, unencumbered for a nice stretch of rest.

If Momma ain’t happy…

It’s got to be tough to all of a sudden have five little critters to worry about.  It’s got to be annoying to have those little critters grappling at your swollen tits, with tiny claws and emerging teeth.  It must be tedious to clean and re-clean those babies after this tactile human handles them, and kisses on them with coffee breath.  I get it.  Sometimes  momma needs a break too.

Last week as I was settling in to go to bed, with the laundry basket of kittens next to me, Quantum hopped in the basket for a kittery feeding.  I noticed a different set of squeals.  I popped on the flashlight in order to take a look at the current scenario.  See, Quantum has ten nipples but only eight of them are in use.  None of the kittens like being on the bottom row.  The top row, middle two nipples are prime real estate and if they had their preference, only two would feed at a time on those succulent momma mammarys, leaving plenty of wiggle room and no competition.

Anyway, I turn on the flash light and the two boys are fighting over nipple realty.  Fluffs of hair are being scratched off as these two little furballs fight for space.  Momma looks incredibly annoyed and uncomfortable.  I decide to step in and remove the more aggressive kit.  I decide to also remove the kit that is on the bottom row and pull them into bed with me for a while so that the others can feed in peace and Quantum can have a little break in the feeding chaos.  She looks relieved.   After a few minutes I notice one of the kits has fallen asleep at the nipple, and I gently remove it, and replace it with one that hasn’t eaten yet.  I continue the rotation until everyone appears to be satiated.  Quantum appears to be thankful, and when everyone is back in the basket and cuddled up, she curls up behind my knees for the first time since the babies were born.

I feel like Quantum is trying to “train” me.  If she is unhappy with the smell of her box, she goes to the litter bag and claws at it.  If she is unhappy about her water quality, she stands by it and whines.  If she wants more food, she becomes incessant with her cries.  No matter the time of day or night, what Momma wants, Momma gets.

Quantum is pretty balanced in her care for each of the kittens, but I get the sense she has her favorites, and they are the boys.  I am partial to female animals, and in this case the girls are significantly smaller than the boys.  Once, I noticed Quantum was being pretty rough with one of the girls she was cleaning.  A little black one I call “My little Teddybear”; My Little Teddybear is basically the runt of the litter.  And I was feeling like Momma was having some animosity, like with one less kitten, feeding would be a  peaceful and roomy event.   I snatched up that little kittery and I tell Quantum that she needs to calm down and be just as gentle with this one.  I held it and kissed it and loved on it, and since then  Quantum has been more gentle with her.  My Little Teddybear is one of my favorites… something about how small she is, just adds to her adorableness.

“My Little Lion” is a boy, he is a champagne colored kittle.  He is the only one with a full body of light colored hair, he resembles a very light tabby.  He is the biggest and strongest.  He is headstrong and adventurous.  He was the first one I noticed to start self grooming at a week old and seems to instinctively know what “I’m gonna get your belly” means.  As I put my fingers down into the basket, he clumsily rolls onto his back and lets me tickle his belly, reaching his tiny limbs toward my hand and pulling them away.  It too much cuteness, if there is such a thing.

My Little Lion is a beast at the nipple and he gets annoyed when Momma wants to clean him.  He will kick, punch and scratch his way to the prime real estate and he uses the same tactics to escape from being bathed. If one of the girls is in his desired nipple position, he will basically try and suffocate them off of it by climbing on top of them, pushing them down to the bottom row, right off the nipple they were latched to. Sometimes the girls try to fight back, but most times they just wiggle free and try to find somewhere else to eat.  Occasionally they just curl up next to Momma and wait their turn.

I can’t even express how impressed I am with this weird relationship I’ve found myself in.  I’ve never really fancied myself as a “cat person” per say. I’ve always loved cats but I haven’t spent much time with them in general.  When I was about nine years old, a calico cat adopted my family.  It was an outdoor cat, and they fed it once and it stayed around.   I think about a year later we moved two houses down the road, and the cat followed us to the new house.  I named her “Cuddles”. She was fat and sweet.  Strange that I don’t recall what happened to her.  I wouldn’t have another cat friend of my own until twenty years later.

“My Little Pirate” is of the other little girls in the batch.  Her body is primarily black but she has some calico in there, and her face is split evenly down the middle with black on one side and champagne mottle on the other.  She looks so astute and her face structure is more delicate and angular than the other kitties.  She is quiet, and something in my room causes her to sneeze.  She is also adventurous but in a timid way.  She wants to see what is going on, and then she moves forward.  I just love her.  If a tiny ass kitten can seem like an old soul, My Little Pirate has that essence.

“Lil Baby” is My Little Pirates color counterpart.  Her coloring is similar, but her face isn’t as distinctive and her features are more rounded.  Basically she is too cute for words and reminds me of good ole Cuddles.  She is a cuddle kitty, but vocal.  She also seems like the type that may like to  hide.  I was sitting on my knees on the ground and I had a skirt on over my leggings.  The way I was sitting and the length of the skirt created a sort of a dark cave between my legs, and Lil Baby walked as far back into it as she could, toward the heels of my feet, and she just sat there and watched all the other kitteries awkwardly walking around.  This was our first foray on the floor, out of the basket.

Finally, in this mix we have “My Lil Panther”, which is the male counterpart to My Little Teddybear.  They look very similar, all black, but My Lil Panther has some white hairs around his mouth and eyes, and My Little Teddybear has the cutest pink black mouth and a heart shape on her nose.  My Lil Panther is strong and feisty.  If there is some tomfoolery happening in the basket, it’s likely that he is involved with My Little Lion.  I have a feeling those two will have no problems defending themselves in the future.   My  Lil Panther seems like the hard sleeper.  If he is tired, he sleeps as the other kits crawl all over him completely unfazed.

Every few nights, I take the kitteries into my grandma’s room, so that she can see them.  She loves them, they are amazing.   I know they are therapeutic by nature, and it allows Momma a food and poop break with complete privacy.

Claddagh Wonderdawg still isn’t sure what to make of all of this. She seems unimpressed that I am sharing so many kisses with these little things that resemble the rabbits and squirrels she like to chase in the yard.  She seems curious and frightened.  In the mornings, when she gets up and greets me at the head of the bed, she peers into the basket for a split second, sniffs it and backs away quickly as if maybe all of this is a dream, and tomorrow there will be laundry in the basket instead of a bunch of wiggling fur balls.  I tried to put My Little Lion near her, and she wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible. She refuses to make eye contact with the kittens.  She does however make eye contact with Quantum, and Quantum has an intense stare.  Overall, Quantum seems pretty chill about Claddagh being around her babies, and I think she wants Claddagh to be more engaged than she is, all around.

It appears to me that Claddagh is still pretty jealous of Quantum.  Like there isn’t enough love to go around, and now there is another body sharing the bed at night, and it’s been a long time since we’ve been in that situation with my ex-cat Poppy Rascal.  (That is a whole other story.)  I probably need to take Claddagh on a date.  Get some “one on one” time doing something that she enjoys, which probably includes french fries.  Then we can sit down and talk about it.  That’s just the way it goes with my animal family.  Sometimes we have to talk through things, and we are all usually better for it in the long run.

Stay tuned… the kits are starting to get active and I am sure this is about to get even more interesting.

 

 

 

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Quantum Express~ A Kittery Tale

On November 9, 2018 my friend Devon walked out of my garage to his car, and exclaimed “Do you know this cat?”

From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see what was on the other side of the door.  Immediately I thought “Well, probably not because I rarely see cats just roaming around my neighborhood.” However, much like Schrödinger, my curiosity got the best of me.

“What cat?” I exclaimed, jumping from my chair and racing to the door.  There I saw a slim, small violet Siamese cat with an injured paw.  She sidled up to the drivers side rear wheel of my car and peered at me coyly.   I knelt down and called her to me, to my surprise she walked forward to me.  She allowed me to scoop her up to look at her paw.  A small injury, but it looked  like it had been deep and healing a while.  The gash in her paw almost appeared as if she had been stuck to ice, and ripped away her pad.

She allowed me to take her inside, clean up her paw and add some Vertricyn to the wound.  She was cuddly and appeared to want to stay close.  How could I say no?

I immediately took to social media; the after hours Animal Shelter site on Facebook, and any other local group that I noticed posts of lost or missing animals. I took her to the vet to see if she was chipped. Negative.  I posted on Nextdoor, a social networking site for neighborhoods.  I called the Animal Shelter. I waited a day and then I went out and bought her food; litter, a litter box and a dish and a couple of toys.

This girl was so sweet, someone must be missing her. It was just before the holiday season, I thought to myself, “Well maybe she was being pet sat and sneakily escaped.  Maybe her person is on vacation or deployment and the cat sitter doesn’t want to worry her owners while they are away.”  I was constantly checking my post, and posts about cats in my area.  Pretty much, nothing.

About a month after the kittery had been hanging out, a woman on the Nextdoor site, insisted it was hers.  That she had left town on November 10 and had only recently returned.  I demanded pictures and descriptions.  Her cat looked nothing like the one I had been treating as my own for the past four weeks.  The markings were all wrong.  She felt dead set it was hers, so I took a risk and said “If you feel that strongly about it, here is my address, come on over and see for yourself.”   Fifteen minutes later she texted back saying that she was called into work (at the military base across town, where she lives) and that she would be sending one of her guy friends to come by.

Honestly I got a little panicked.  I didn’t know if this was a demanding boyfriend type guy or what.  I texted her to drop it until tomorrow and come for herself but she didn’t respond to the message.  Approximately 45 minutes later I got a knock on the door from a short, kind of effeminate Hispanic male and a  slightly taller Hispanic female.  Both seemed somewhere between mid twenties to early thirties.  They explained the situation on their end, and I went to get the cat for their inspection.

I brought the cat out in my arms, lazily purring.  Immediately the woman said, ” Can I pet her? ”  And I reply “Yes.” because I have only seen this cat friendly to people (unless hungry).  She is a lover.  The lady pets the cat and says “This isn’t our friends cat.  Her cat literally hates me.  She tries to attack me anytime I am near her.”  Her male companion proceeds to look the cat over and agrees, “this isn’t the missing cat.”

I tell them my end of the story, and of my growing attachment, and how I thought it would be weird for a cat from the west side of town to make it all the way over here and then not try to go home.  They admit that their friend use to live in the apartments across the street, but it had been over a year and a half ago.  We thanked each other for our time and patience, and they went along on their way.   I cuddled the kitty deeper, and decided a month was long enough to wait for an owner to appear, and then I had the weirdest thought.

What if the owner of this cat died, and the cat slipped out when EMS arrived to remove the body?  Cryptic, right?  I got a strong sensation this was the case.  This cat had been stray for a while, and it was looking for the right person to adopt.  I had proven to her that I care for her well being.  Her love was strong and instant.  All of a sudden I felt “chosen” , again; a feeling I haven’t had since I found my Claddagh Dog.

This cat needed a name.  From the first moment, she just somehow integrated so perfectly.  I continued to let her outside, in hopes she would just find her own way back home.  I’d let her out at night, when traffic is less… and every morning I would wake up to pee and think of her and she would magically appear at my bedroom window.  I would let her in, pour her a bowl of food and lay back down.  She would eat her food, and come nestle herself in the crook of my bent knees.  We would sleep a while, and when I would get up she would make the smallest squeak as to say “Don’t move, I like it here with you.”

Some nights it was a battle of the bed.  Claddagh usually wants front seat being the little spoon against my chest, and occasionally the kittery was first to call it.  Claddagh would seem disappointed, nevertheless would curl up at my feet at the bottom of the bed.

See, I am so blessed with my animals.  Claddagh is a dream come true Dog.  She is so perfect.  She had her issues in the beginning but most of that stuff is out of her system.  She has had a kittery before, she is gentle and observant. I trust her to be kind to the kittery, however I do not trust her alone in a room with a dirty litter box.  It’s good to know every ones boundaries.

This cat still needs a name.  What do I think of her, when I think of her?  Well, it’s like she just came out of nowhere.  Like, she manifested from some other dimension in Time Space.  Quantum.   Quantum Dream Cat.  Oh shit, you know that kitty is here to teach you something.

So,  Quantum came into my life, accepted her name and knows it.  If she is outside and I call her name silently, inside of my head, she arrives.  Admittedly I was a lazy owner,   taking for granted the fact that I don’t really know anything about this cat except the fact that she is extremely clean, loving and chipless.   She likes wet and dry food, and as she is getting more comfortable with her surroundings, she wants to be held less.  I still let her out for a few hours each night/early morning.  She continues to return.  Sometimes, she just jumps up on my window sill and watches me sleep, waiting for me to wake up and look at her to let her in.  Her voice is quiet most times, unless she is super urgent or agitated.  She doesn’t beg to be let in, she just waits.  Claddagh wants to hump her and I think it’s funny to watch the Animal Planet live from my bedroom.  Something tells me the kittery might be in heat, so I start to keep her in.

In all honesty, I love this situation but I am sort of weirded out.  All of a sudden I feel some spiritual “Level Up”.

Okay.  So. I know. I should have taken her to the vet the moment I took down all the posts and claimed her as mine.  I should have, but I didn’t.  I checked for a spay scar, and didn’t see one, so, that is totally a “my bad.”  I was handling Quantum quite a bit on a daily basis, and the moment her little teets no longer looked like little pieces of dried rice, I went to Google to confirm what I suspected.  Pregnancy.  Fuck.  But, what do you do, right?  So far as I know, there is no Feline Plan B.  Again, what have I gotten myself into?  Immediately I start a Google crash course in pregnant Siamese Cats.