It is summer time in the country, Dear Reader, and the fish really are jumping! There is nothing like the lazy days, though I wouldn’t really remember exactly what those are anymore; however…and that’s a really big however – my clock is set for sunset every day where I take a little breather underneath the cypress trees with a nice chilled beverage just to watch the sun go down. I almost wish Laura Story had penned just how indescribable is the moonlight boating excursion that follows!
It was within this framework of my summer lifestyle that I now describe to you, Dear Reader, in which I began to notice my cat’s distended abdomen. I turn to my friend Google:
Unless a mature female cat is spayed early (prior to attaining puberty) or kept in a strict indoors environment well away from male cats, it is very likely that she will become pregnant at some stage in her life.
Socks had been catting around. Darn. When did she attain puberty?? And what’s even worse – other than the obvious snake and pest control, I couldn’t think of how I was going to fit a feline colony into my life.
For several weeks I took note of Socks’ bloated belly. Once her voracious appetite was somewhat satisfied, she seemed to lie around like E.B. White’s aging Charlotte the spider who was plagued with weakness as her offspring were knit together. This was one fat cat!
Fast-forward 3 weeks…
“Son, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…Feed Socks before we leave the house!!”
There are times as a mother that I feel like God put me on this green earth to free my son Elijah of the distractions to his morning routine. Get off the iPad. Did you brush your teeth? Eat. Eat faster. Let’s go.
So I finish filing a broken fingernail and waited for the final task of the morning routine to be completed. How long can it possibly take to feed a cat? You just pop a can open on the back patio.
I heard an outburst when Elijah barged into the French doors that lead out toward our patio. Besides the three best words I’ve ever heard following the word Mama, these were a close second: Socks is skinny.
Mama, Socks is skinny!
I dropped everything and ran outside. Socks’ stomach was hanging down like the low-lying left breast of a post-menopausal woman. As if that weren’t enough to convince me that we had kitties on the land, Doctor Mama kicked in and I examined all her parts. Yep, trauma. The trauma of childbirth. Catbirth. Whatever.
Days passed with the only discovery being Socks’ new hiding place deep within a crevice of a pile of 2 X 4s. No fur balls in sight. Only Socks’ skinny saggy body reassured me that the kitties would show themselves eventually.
Sunday On The Way To Church…
If you ever want anything to go wrong, just try to get everyone in the household dressed for church simultaneously and get into a compact car to make the same exact commute you make on weekdays. I wouldn’t call it the witching hour as I would dinnertime on weeknights, but it is always a challenge that presents unimaginable circumstances that test a Mama’s patience.
It was a miracle. We were all in the car. Dressed. Smelling good. Happy.
I had just moved a large limb out of the driveway following a thunderstorm the night before. No one was grumpy.
We put the car in reverse and began to back away. Suddenly the car came to a halt and we all jumped out!
During the storm, Socks had single-mouthedly carried all the kitties to safety from the woodpile to “refuge” underneath the Honda. That we hadn’t run over any of them was a greater miracle than getting everyone dressed for church and in the car.
Socks sat up with the straight proud spine and let us admire her litter as we counted one, two, three, four furry black and white new lives! But, by the time we made it home from church she had already hidden them somewhere near the fish house. Every time I intruded on her space, she would move them again. Finding the kitties every afternoon began to be our favorite game.
After being out of town, I noticed how much the kitties had matured when, yesterday, I was the winner. I found them in the green house.
In a voice two octaves higher than my own natural speaking voice, I begin to repeat: Come on! Come on! Come on!
We were all amazed that they responded and for the first time in 21 days, those little creatures stuck their tails up in the air and followed single-file to the front door of the lake house. All, but the runt who is the only one with the signature white foot markings of his Mama. Socks watched over the three while I ran back to the green house to gather him up. After witnessing this incredible coming out party, I tossed the “Free Kittens” sign I had made into the trash.
Wish a Mama luck as Elijah’s morning routine now consists of caring for 5 cats and a colony begins!
Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper. Follow Brandi on Twitter @BrandiChambless