The Little Christmas Catten That Wasn’t

I have mentioned before in this space the perils of visiting my Mother-in-Law, Virginia, who is active in cat rescue. And yet, Sylvia and I went over to her house twice this month, to visit with her and Phil, and her son Bill and his son Alan. And (and this is going to totally blow you away), there were cats available for adoption there!

Big cats, little cats. I had been fooling around with this little kitten which was in a cage, but had also noticed this odd little catten (4 to 5 months old). You really couldn’t help but notice him, because: (a) He was incredibly friendly, and (b) He seemed to have The Staggers or something — he would just sway as he walked around, or as you petted him, all the time purring. More about this later.

I still had no designs on this cat; I want to make that clear. It was The Woman who tempted me: “Aw, Tom, look at the kitty! Can’t we take him home?”

I put up a staunch, but ultimately futile resistance: “Sure, I don’t mind.”

Virginia filled us in with his story, which is something along these lines: he had been poisoned by the men at an auto shop of some description, and Virginia found out about it somehow, perhaps because one of the guys there ratted them out; that part of the story isn’t clear. But he got the litter of kittens to her, super-young, and she was raising them fine, but then she took them in to be neutered (the problem being that people who are adopting cats want a super-young one, and Virginia won’t let them go without neutering them first), and the thing is, the vet will neuter at 1.5 pounds for males and 2.0 pounds for females, but they don’t get their first shots until somewhat after that, and this time, the kittens rolled snake eyes: while they were at the vet’s, they caught the incredibly evil Cat Fever, also known as Infectious Enteritis, also known as Feline Panleukopenia — it’s death on kittens.

And indeed, all of little Tony’s siblings (the catten’s name is Tony) started dropping like flies. Virginia took Tony into the office of a lady vet that she knows, and asked, “What’s your success rate with kittens and Pan Leuk?” “Well, zero.” “Do you mind trying to save this one? I’ve got a feeling about him.” “Ok, but I offer you no hope.” “That’s fine.”

After two days, the vet had to fly off to Hawaii, but her dad is also a vet, so Tony was transferred there. Later, Virginia learned that she called from Hawaii: “Dad, how’s the little cat with FP doing?” “Well, he’s stomping around his cage, dragging his IV around, and meowing like hell. Actually, he’s doing fine!”

The other story about this catten that Virginia told me was that when he was younger, and she would be vacuuming, all of the other cats would run away from the vacuum, but he would leap up on it and ride it — “He’s got the heart of a lion, that one!”

We were planning to have Virginia bring him over on Christmas, but then we thought that we wouldn’t be able to pay proper attention to him while opening presents, and also the carpet cleaners were coming on Tuesday, so he’d have to be in a cage, and in the end we put off bringing him over until Wednesday.

He strutted around our living room happily while Virginia was there, and let me put him in my lap and pet him, but about five minutes after she left, he said, “I’m just going to wait in the cage until Virginia comes back, OK?” And then he just really didn’t want to come out of there. If I went over to the cage, and talked to him softly, then he would purr loudly, and if I petted him, same thing, but if I took him out of the cage (something that I only tried every three hours or so), he would allow himself to be petted for a short time, and then take off for the cage.

The adult cats have stopped by to hiss at him and then bravely run away; this did not make him feel any more secure, I’d imagine.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting sequel, featuring pictures!

(Post #13 of 16 Posts in 16 Days)

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