I found the tiny white kitten cowering under a chair. She was terrified and hostile and didn’t take kindly to my attempts to coax her out. After getting several scratches to my hand and a bite to my arm, I finally got her into the kitty carrier.
Thus started a 21 year relationship with “Tiffy” ( as my daughter subsequently named her) and the uneasy ground rules were set.
I had found her in a house I had visited, in response to a call to the AA help line. The lady of the house was not capable of looking after herself, let alone a cat and she said the kitten had turned up in her garden a the day before, abused, injured and afraid, so she had taken her in and fed her. The lady was sent to the hospital and I had no choice but to take the cat home.
My daughter, Sunshine, had repeatedly asked for a kitten and she was thrilled when I brought Tiffy home. Unfortunately like children, pets do not always turn out to be what you had hoped. Still Sunshine persevered, feeding Tiffy and caring for her as much as the cat would allow.
Certainly Tiffy did not like humans, especially men. and she certainly didn’t like me. Almost as if she resented me for rescuing her and as another female I think I presented a threat to her dominence….she haugtily rejected all my advances to be friendly or even touch her. She would not even come to eat the food I put down unless I left the room. It was months before she would let any of us stroke her and even then she would suddenly turn on us during a cuddle and attack us viciously, hissing and spitting and biting. . …. a trait that she carried to the end of her life although never as bad as those first few years.
The vet treated her injuries and said he could not tell us how old she was. This was November and he said bring her back “in the spring” to be sterilised before she came into season. when it gets warmer.
One cold dark January night I caught her canoodling on the front doorstep with the black cat from up the street. I thought I had caught them in time but several weeks later as she lay in front of the fire, I saw movement in her abdomen and realised she was pregnant..
I felt like the mother of a wayward teenager who had concealed her pregnancy until it was too late.
Still I couldn’t turn back the clock, so, like lots of mums in this situation, I accepted the situation. I lovingly prepared a “nest”for her and her kittens. but firmly said the kittens would have to be adopted.
I was the reluctant owner of one cat, I certainly didn’t want more!
On 20th March 1989. My children and I returned from my 39th birthday lunch at a local restaurant, to find a lump in my bed. Throwing back the covers we discovered Tiffy, having given birth to three kittens, about to deliver a fourth.
Having rejected my lovely “nest” and ruined my mattress, she looked at me in triumph, as if to say…..Humph, I said I would get back at you! But unknown to her, she was presenting me with a birthday present. hahah.
I never cease to be amazed at the miracle of birth and motherhood and instinct. There were three white kittens and one black. Tiffy immediately knew what to do, as she licked the membrane off the kitten and then ate the placenta. ( to give her hormones and energy) the other three kittens were already finding their way to her teats and she gently encouraged the last and smallest one.
I left her on my bed for 24 hours, before she condescended to move to the nest. There she transformed from grumpy, wild, tiger to mum of the year. Gently caring for the little ones and protecting them, feeding them, cleaning them and generally fussing. She would go out occasionally for toileting and hunting, but would always come to me , (the arch-enemy,) as if to say”just look after them for a wee while“first.
There were two female white kittens, My children named them Ruby and Daisy, a white male kitten my son named Marbles and a black male kitten we called Rambo, because he always pushed his way to the front.
The kittens were much more cuddly and playful for the children and of course I should have known that my plan to find good homes for them would never happen, as the children got far too attached, and of course like lots of mothers of wayward teenagers before me, my resolve also weakened and secretly I became attached too.
So this is how I came to have three white cats. We kept Marbles and Daisy and my mum took Rambo and Ruby. So the children could keep in touch with them.
SO OF COURSE, UNLESS WE WANTED TO DISAPPEAR UNDER A MOUNTAIN OF WHITE CAT FUR, I NEEDED TO VACUUM EVERY DAY!
the be continued.
A year ago , surprise, surprise, I was arriving in Paris.