Eight feral and stray cats have found their way to our house. During the summer of 2008, a stray cat (Mama Cat) had a litter of four kittens under a bush in our front yard. We discovered the kittens when they were about a month old. I affectionately refer to it as “kitten summer,” because I was working on an advanced certificate in Urban Studies for a pay increase. The program was mostly online, so kittens afforded me a delightful break from tedious school work. Our dog at the time, a beloved, but selfish, Yorkshire Terrier named Bodhi, was not impressed with our attention toward the kittens. Since I am severely allergic to cats, keeping the kittens was not an option. But since we were able to acclimate these cuties to humans, we were able to find loving homes for all of them.
Two years later, on Mother’s Day, we saw Mama Cat again – this time with two kittens. These kittens were apparently born under a different bush in our front yard. When we first saw them, they were too old to domesticate. So we contacted a local rescue agency (Heaven Can Wait), who provided us with three traps. It took about a week to trap, fix, and release Mama Cat and her two boys. Afterwards, Mama Cat never returned to our yard, although for a few more years we would see her roaming the neighborhood. The boys we ended up naming Queso (cheese) and Cracker. About a year later, we returned from vacation to find Cracker missing; it broke our hearts. But Queso is still in residence. He divides his time between our back yard and the neighbor who lives behind us. Suzanne – the owner of three house cats – is able to coax Queso (who she calls Mikey) into her house only during morning hours, when he likes to be groomed. During the evening, he pretends not to recognize her.
Around 2013, an older kitten showed up at our doorstep. Although blind in one eye, “Buddy” was a charmer. Our neighbor across the street adopted him to be the brother of her two existing house cats. We love hearing about his crazy antics, as he continues to amuse.
On Thanksgiving morning, my daughter-in-law saw a kitten dash by our back door. Given the day he arrived, I named him (not knowing the sex) Mayflower. This kitten was an absolute delight, who within a day allowed my husband to pet him. He absolutely adored our new dog – a five-month-old Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless) named Layla. They became devoted playmates. It was clear that Mayflower wanted to be an indoor cat. We posted pictures on Facebook and placed flyers with his photo on all the mail boxes in our neighborhood – with no response. I contacted a work friend who is a cat person, and Liz offered to foster Mayflower until he could find a forever home. However, we preferred to keep him in the neighborhood, so he could continue his play dates with Layla. We finally contacted Suzanne who had been out of town, and after reaching out to her Facebook friends, she found the perfect (purrfect) family.
On Christmas Eve, Suzanne brought two British scientists to our house. They immediately fell in love with our little darling, taking him home that afternoon. While it was sad to see him leave, it is heartwarming to know that Mayflower – now known as Einstein – has a forever home.