My Furry Family
I'd always intended to have a family of rescue cats in my new home. After all, a house is not a home without a cat, so the saying goes (of course, that's something appreciated only by cat fanciers). But, as with everything else in my life, things didn't go exactly as planned...
Shortly after moving into the camper, I was out having dinner with friends at our favorite restaurant. It was a wonderful, pleasant late summer evening, and we were enjoying the outdoor dining area. The restaurant owner had come over to chat with us, whereupon a friendly, adorable kitten joined in. The owner remarked that she was a frequent visitor—and thus a problem, since health inspectors don't take kindly to such guests. He added that he already had too many pets, or else he'd have taken the little girl home.
Having a massive soft spot for cats, I confessed that I'd take her in a heartbeat if I wasn't living in a camper. But some days later, upon reflection, I realized that my living arrangement perhaps wasn't as restrictive as it seemed; after all, what's one little kitty in a camper made to sleep seven humans? The next week I returned to the restaurant with a pet carrier, and the rest, as they say...
The Furry Fab Four
Life with my new little daughter was just fine until, a few weeks later, I noticed she was gaining weight at a rather startling rate. I thought perhaps she was just getting "fat and happy," until I examined her more closely: her nipples had become enormous—at which point I got a sinking feeling in my stomach... yes, Katie was pregnant.
And so, early in the morning of 18 November 2014, my little slut of a pre-teen daughter gave birth to four tiny grandfurbabies (one of which died the next day). They came into the world in my bathtub, which I'd converted into the nursery.
I've been handling them every day since they were born—with Mommy's complete approval—which may explain why they're the friendliest, most affectionate creatures I've ever known.
Above left is Pris, a.k.a. Teeny-Tiny, a precious little girl with two different color eyes! She's also a runt, and is still frequently mistaken for a kitten. Above right is Zack, a.k.a. Zack Attack, a green-eyed goofball. Below left is Roy, a.k.a. Big Boy, since he was by far the biggest kitten, although Zack has since outgrown him considerably.
As all youngsters do, they grew up entirely too quickly, and before I knew it I had a wonderful feline family, exactly what I'd hoped to have—just a bit sooner than I'd have preferred. But as it happened, the timing was probably just right, as I might have otherwise lost my mind without them.
Their obsessively doting grandfather made sure they all had everything they could ever possibly need. While I was living in the guest cabin, they had the camper all to themselves.
It was quite the challenge selecting these images from the ~3,000 I've taken so far.
It all started on an evening I'd returned home from dinner at the same restaurant with my same friends, around the first of November, 2016. As I got out of my car, I caught fleeting glimpses of a little kitty-like figure flitting around in the dark... which was still there the next morning. It would seem the stray saw my "Sucker for Cats" sign over the driveway, and promptly adopted me as his grampaw.
It took a couple of weeks to gain his trust. At first I couldn't get within twenty feet of him, but now Bobby, a.k.a. Little Buddy, follows me everywhere like a shadow, and adores cuddling on my lap.
Around January 2018, suddenly Bobby's appetite seemingly doubled overnight. Then I discovered why: he was "sharing" his food with another kitty. I've now seen the stray on average once or twice a week, and I've even watched the two of them hanging out together like buddies. Bobby just wants to be everyone's friend!
Indeed, Bobby joined me when I visited his cousins in the camper, and he even hangs with the resident raccoons.
Shuffling the Deck
I'd thought Katie (a.k.a. Mommy) was happy in her new home; she certainly seemed to be once she'd settled in. But some time after her kids were grown, she appeared to develop a case of wanderlust. She began making attempts to escape from the camper, and in fact she got out three times. Twice I got her back in, but after her last breakout in the spring of 2018, she seemed to have reverted to a feral state—I couldn't get within fifty feet of her—so recapture appeared highly unlikely. Besides, if she was that determined to be outside, she'd probably never stop trying. At first I was heartbroken, but in time I came to accept it: clearly this is what she preferred, and since she's been spayed, she couldn't contribute to the stray population.
Then the strangest thing happened: after a few months exploring the great outdoors, she showed up at the cabin one day, all friendly and cuddly. I tried returning her to the camper, but that went very badly—she viciously attacked her own kids, even drawing blood from Pris. That would not do! So I put her back outside, and she immediately returned to the cabin. Now she and Bobby have become friends, and they both follow me around everywhere as if I was the pied piper.
Meanwhile, I'm thankful that her offspring showed zero interest in being outside—I could leave the door wide open, and they'd poke their heads out for a moment, then turn back in. Here's the gang greeting me in the morning:
Curious note: Every morning they greeted me standing in the same order, that being (left to right) Roy, Zack and Pris; Roy would look around while Zack and Pris lectured me.
Claws and All
My kids are not declawed. I consider the procedure cruel and unnecessary. To those who complain their cats destroy their "nice things," I have the following to say: 1) if you value your "nice things" over your cats, then you don't deserve to have cats; 2) if the cats are that destructive, then you're not giving them enough attention, proper training, or objects they're allowed to destroy. People are sometimes amazed that my house isn't torn up, and I just tell them cats can be trained, despite so many disbelievers. And if you cherish your cat, then you won't have their fingers cut off at the first joint (that's the anatomical equivalent for humans); declawing is also known to adversely affect some cats' emotional health.
Copyright © 2017-2020 by David K. Smith. All Rights Reserved.