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Once we had made the decision to move to the country, I became very excited because Mark promised that when we found a place and moved there we could get two cats. While Mark had grown up with only a dog, I had grown up with a variety of pets including hermit crabs, fish, rats, hamsters, dogs, and my favorite, cats. We didn’t get cats while living in town because Mark specifically wanted outdoor cats and I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to keep outdoor cats at home while having such close neighbors on every side. So we waited and I missed having pets. Even after moving to the cabin we waited. Finally, after a couple months had gone by, we decided just to go for it instead of continuing to wait for spring to arrive.
Some friends of ours posted on Facebook that they wanted to get rid of their two cats. Though they were nice cats, they didn’t appreciate that they kept pooping in their chicken coop. Before we knew it, Mark and I were in the car to Grand Rapids to pick up our new cats.
Once the cats were lured, caught, escaped, lured, caught again, they were put into a Rubbermaid tote that Mark and I had brought along. With the lid latched down, we loaded them into the car and drove off. We hadn’t gotten far before the excitement happened. The cats had been quiet and Mark and I were settling in for the drive home when a canon went off. As one, the cats burst from bin and zoomed back and forth from the front windshield to the trunk as if they were pin balls caught between two paddles. It was utter chaos for two minutes. I thought my heart was going to burst from my chest in surprise and Mark got to laughing so hard that tears ran down his cheeks. The cats shook, meowed and tried to hide all the way home. Thankfully, there were no further mishaps though we did have a job trying to coax out one tightly wedged cat from beneath the seats.
Mark and I had no idea how to keep outdoor cats at home, especially after moving them from another home. This resulted in losing our cats on so many occasions that I stopped counting. One time, Mark had to go to our neighbor’s, climb a ladder and get the female cat we’d named Spinelli out of a tree. Another time, we drove more than a mile and a half to another house to pick up our male cat, TJ, after seeing their post online for a found stray cat. Eventually, we got them to stay home (at least more often then they left) and they were very enjoyable pets. Both cats are talkers and come when called. And if you call them and they are a distance away, they answer you and meow the whole way back.
We had been warned that Spinelli might be pregnant when we picked them up. At the time, Mark and I had shrugged and said we’d certainly find out. Sure enough, on Mother’s Day no less, Spinelli had five healthy kittens. I LOVED having kittens. I also enjoyed joking with Mark that he went from having no cats all his life to seven in a matter of months.
Spinelli was a good mama cat so there was nothing we had to do to take care of them. They all lived in our sauna building and as the kittens got older, I discovered new creatures appearing regularly in the sauna. Mama cat was hunting for her kittens—dead mice, moles, birds, rabbits, and ducklings. It was an adventure every time you went in there!
Summer came and the kittens started venturing out more. This meant going on walks was not a solitary event. Whenever Mark and I had gone for a walk before, Spinelli and TJ had come with us. Now, it was Mark and I on a walk with all seven cats. It was hilarious. Mark walked ahead and all seven trailed behind him in a line. Maybe they were part dog?
Unfortunately, the more the kittens ventured out, the fewer came home again. We gave two away to become safe house cats but we’re sure that all the others were picked off by predators. Out here we have owls, hawks, eagles, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, wolves, bears, weasels…anyway, we think it’s very likely they were eaten. Not long after the last kitten disappeared, TJ left. He had wandered a lot the whole time we’d had him—for weeks on end and so at first we didn’t think anything of it. Then months went by and he didn’t come back. We’ve given up on ever seeing him again.
These days, it’s just the one: Spinelli. I love my kitty and she is very cuddly and affectionate. She also stays home. This winter she developed the habits of greeting us when we come home, jumping into our cars for a nap, and meowing at the front door for us to come out and pet her…which we do. She’s still not allowed in the house though she had snuck in once or twice and I’ve had to chase her around only to catch her and find her purring loudly. Stinker. I’d like to have more cats and am hoping that she’ll have more kittens. If she does, I will have to devise new ways to keep them alive until they are big enough to fend for themselves!