Twelve years ago tonight, The Pink Flamingo was standing by the door to my balcony when I heard this frantic infant kitten screaming. Being the sucker I am, for rescuing a cat in distress, I drove through the complex, looking for the source of the cries. I found a tiny little infant, one eye barely open, screaming, alone on the cold cement of an empty unit.
Naturally I rescued the kitten. Calling Dr. Franklin, he told me what to purchase to feed her. That’s where I made my first real mistake. Never give an infant animal powdered mommy milk. It will kill them. I forced the baby to eat from the bottle. It forever to quit crying. I rigged up a new baby kitten ICU in a small Igloo, with a pencil taped at the top for air. I filled it with warm, snuggly, soft rags and fabric, and kept the little angel warm and quite.
The first step was to survive the night. According to Dr. Franklin, when a mommy cat abandons a baby, it is because there is something wrong with the baby. He said the baby probably would not survive the night. We were lucky. First thing the next morning, we went to see him. They worked on bottle feeding, and did a physical, x-ray, and some blood work-up. The mommy must have dropped him, Dr. Franklin said it was a him.
The poor little thing needed a strong name, so he was named after Doc Holiday. He was going to need a tough reputation if he was going to survive.
We ate every four hours. I then learned to put warm water on a Q-tip and rub his little bottom in order to stimulate what a mommy cat would do. He hated it. But, he survived. He grew stronger, and opened both eyes.
When Doc was about five weeks old, I discovered that his mother had moved her other kittens into my carport. Weird, but she did. I was able to rescue two of them. One Morgan Earp, went to a good home. I kept a beautiful long hair gray.
We couldn’t find a name. I kept going through a list of names. This went on for a week. Finally, I was sitting on the sofa, watching the news, talking on the phone. I said, “Oh, look, there’s George W. Bush.” The kitten looked at me and meowed.
She became Georgie W.
She was my beautiful, beautiful Georgie W.
We knew she was a she. I took her for surgery. I took Doc in to be neutered, only to discover he was a she!
As they grew older, I discovered Doc was very well named. She had Doc Holiday’s disposition, mean and nasty. Her favorite sport was harassing the dogs. She still terrorizes Rums, and he’s 8 years old.
The mommy cat imprinted somehow, in my carport. Over the years, I was able to rescue a few of her kittens. Then she disappeared. One of her daughters took over as the alpha female. About two years after I rescued Doc, her “niece” had a beautiful little kitten I kept trying to catch. Then she disappeared.
I really wanted to save that kitten. I never could.
One morning, I drove down to the parents – a 20 mile trip. That afternoon, my mother discovered the kitten was huddled against a flowerpot by her carport. Evidently the little thing had hitched a ride under the hood of the Durango, and survived. She was named after my great-grandmother – Alma Perkins. When Alma was about a year old, she managed to get out of their house. It was traumatic. She came back the next day – you guessed it.
Six weeks later 5 beautiful kittens were born. One day Alma managed to get out of the house, and disappeared. Her body was found inside the tool shed. My parents still have 3 of her offspring: Fred, Belva, and Miss Scarlet, who is a drag queen.
In 2005, I rescued descendants of this same family. Right after rescuing them, I broke my elbow, and was unable to work with them like I should. One, I still have: Mommy Cat. Over the years she gifted me with B(r)at Masterson, Hoss Cartwright, and my beautiful Miss Piggy, a long-haired calico.
Miss Piggy was a precious little calico. When Miss Piggy was about two months old, George W. became ill with pet food poisoning, and lost her battle. A few weeks later, I lost Miss Piggy to the same illness. Another kitten, Redford, also died from the poisoning. They were eating Iams kitten food.
Moral of that story – only Meow Mix.
I have never mourned the loss of a pet the way I did Miss Piggy. About a year after losing her, my mother’s yard guy rescued a calico kitten. He brought her in to me on my birthday, the day we arrived home from Thanksgiving in Memphis. She was in bad shape. Dr. Franklin did not think she would survive she was so malnourished.
Named after Beverly Sills, “Bubbles” is a diva. She now weighs, last spring, something like 24 pounds. She is funny, beautiful, and a sleeping cat.
Three years ago, one of the women who lived here in the condos moved. She simply let her beautiful, long-haired calico out, and the poor thing had to fend for herself. She became the boss of the complex. During the horrible winter of 2011, after worrying that she would not survive that night when it was 29 below, I finally managed to coax her indoors. It took a few times, and some Fancy Feast, but finally, about a year ago, I brought her in and closed the door. That night I found her stretched out on my bed.
I name her Madam de Pompadour. She is the snootiest cat I have ever known. It has taken about a year, but she’s finally starting to adjust to the fam. She is also part of the cat family from the carport. What is so ironic, is the fact that she looks almost exactly like Miss Piggy with the same facial markings.
About the same time last year, Doc began losing weight. Because of financial problems, I couldn’t afford to take her to the vet. I was so upset that she was going to die that I did not even send out my usual Christmas cards and Pink Flamingo Kitty pin-up poster. She went from 18 pounds to 7 in six months.
When I could finally afford to take her to the vet, she was literally starving to death with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. She’s now on this vile smelling powder, that I must out smart her to take. She goes through a container of it every six weeks or so, at $164 a pop. We had a relapse a few weeks ago, so the dosage was increased. She’s doing better.
About the time, the first of March, when Doc was being hospitalized, I was in the carport, feeding what was the last of the cat family. This fuzzy little kitten, who has spent the previous night on the neighbor’s roof, came in to eat. She let me pick her up. I put her in a carrier and took her directly down to the vet.
Evidently someone dumped her. I just recently discovered she was indeed dumped. A friend is still caring for her siblings from the next litter. Miss Leontyne Price, aka, Precious Little Baby Kitten, aka Baby, is now 9 months old. She is a magnificent mottled tabby, at least half Persian, with very long hair, a smashed in face, and the temperament of a Persian. Doc has found it very annoying, because Baby thinks Docie is her mother. Doc has about the same maternal instincts as I do – none. She tolerates Baby. In fact, this afternoon, while I was changing
clothes, Doc cornered her in my empty bathtub, and worked her over the way a mommy cat would.
This may be Doc’s last birthday. She’s holding her own, but I know it is a matter of time. She’s recovering from her recent relapse, not eating as much – a good sign, and is jumping up on counters. That’s a good sign. Her temperament remains the same – mean and nasty. Rums is still terrified of her. Like I told her today, she still has it!
On a tragic note, last Thursday, my parents Hondo Kitty was murdered by the neighbor’s dogs. Hondo was 14 years old.