Cat Sanctuary, the MJ Fredrick WayI’ve always been a cat person, and most of my cats have been cats I’ve…discovered.
I won’t talk about the litter of orphaned kittens my friend rescued from the vet and gave to me because my cat had kittens. That did not end well.
The first rescue in my adult life was on my first field trip as a teacher. A little black and white pregnant kitty came over when the kids were eating lunch. She was starving and the kids fed her bits of their burgers. The other teachers urged me to take her, since I had just moved into a house. So I took the little cat on the bus and back into my classroom—where she went into labor. She didn’t have the kittens until the next day—and the first kitten was dead—but I kept that little cat ten more years until she died.
Simba was next, I think, my husband’s rescue. He found him in the parking lot after working on the Labor Day telethon all weekend. He had a good long life, too.
One day my sister-in-law called. She had found a pregnant cat at her school and wanted to know if I could take her. We’d just moved into this house, so I took her. She was wary of us, and especially our other cats, but when she gave birth on my son’s bed, she let us help her after the first kitten died. We kept one of her kittens, who we still have, though the mama was hit by a car.
Gir was next, a proud little guy who was just so sweet. One morning my students came in and told me a kitten had been wandering around outside. I told them in the future, to let me know when kittens were around. They came back after school to let me know the kitten was back, and I found him just as he walked into the building. We had a faculty meeting that afternoon and he fell asleep in my lap. The next week was 9/11 and one of my strongest memories is little Gir being beside me, letting me love on him and cry on him. I cried like a baby when he died.
Yaya was after that, hanging out by my truck after the Christmas PTA program. A storm was coming, and I couldn’t just leave her there. I scooped her up and tossed her in the truck. One of my students was passing by with her parents on the way to their car and I mentioned my husband would kill me for bringing home another cat. (Of course I didn’t mean it) The next day, she sent her teacher to check on me. I still have little Yaya, almost 6 years now.
Then there’s Napoleon. Three days before my birthday, the doorbell rang and the little girl next door was there, cradling a TINY kitten. They’d found him in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. I don’t remember why they couldn’t keep him, so they brought him to me. He was too little to eat so we had to get him kitten formula. I bottle-fed him for a week, even taking a couple of half-days to come home to feed him. He was also covered with fleas, but too young for any of the flea treatments, so we had to bathe him every night. The water ran brown with dried blood. But now, he’s a beautiful, strong cat who is too smart for his own good. He knows how to open doors…not good! (He can't work the remote, yet.)
Skippy was next. I was getting out of my car at school and heard a cat crying. My friend Cindi arrived at the same time and dismissed the sound as a bird, but I crossed the street to the park and found a little orange and white kitten in a tree. I coaxed him down and he purred like a little motorboat. I took him over to school, but my principal didn’t want him in my classroom, so I asked one of my student’s dad to babysit. He brought Skippy back after school and told me the little guy followed him around the house all day. Don’t tell anyone, but Skippy’s my favorite.
The latest addition is Mama Kitty. I didn’t name her because my intention was to get her fixed and give her away, but…I got attached. She was another school rescue. The custodian found a litter of kittens by the boiler room and brought me to see them. They were VERY cute, but the mama was just so sweet, and her nipples were raw from nursing these little stinkers. The principal announced a kitten give-away, and I was told someone took the mother as well. A few weeks later, I saw her, though, and brought her home. She hates the other cats, but she’s actually really neat. She chases shadows and sleeps in clothes baskets and has an insatiable curiosity. I’m glad I kept her.
So yes, I feel like a single-handed cat rescue facility. I’m cursed with cat hair, and there’s always a critter moving in the house somewhere, but I love my furry friends.
MJ's latest release, Beneath the Surface, is coming from Samhain Publishing September 1.
Labels: MJ Fredrick