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Impurrfection; A Cat's Life on the streets

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IMPURRFECTION

A CATS LIFE ON THE STREETS

 

JACK W. REIDENBACH

COPYRIGHT 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

                            DEDICATION

 

 

THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO KATHLEEN SULLIVAN, CINDY MAHFUZ AND ALL THE OTHER DEDICATED WORKERS AND VOLUNTEERS AT ANIMAL RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, WHO PROVIDE CARE AND COMFORT TO ALL OF THE NEGLECTED AND ABANDONED FELINES.

 

                                                                    AND

                                                                  

A SPECIAL THANKS TO ROSEMARY, THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, FOR ALL YOUR ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT IN HELPING BLACKIE, AND THE REST OF THE ANIMALS THAT HAVE CROSSED OUR PATH.


                                                                
and

 

                                                               SNOOPS

                                                      8/2001 - 1/3/2009

                                         WE WILL LOVE YOU ALWAYS

 

                                                                    

 

                                                   'IMPURRFECTION'

                                            A Cats Life on the Streets

 

 

 

 

 

PREFACE ''''''''''''''''''s'''..      1

 

CHAPTER ONE

            The Beginning '.''''''''''''........      4

 

CHAPTER TWO

            The Big Move '''''''''''''''..       9

 

CHAPTER THREE

            Losing Friends '''''''''''''''      12

 

CHAPTER FOUR

            A Family of My Own ''''''''''''..        15

 

CHAPTER FIVE

            A Mothers Nightmare ''''''''''''       18

 

CHAPTER SIX

            Friend or Foe '''''''''''''''..        21

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

            The Hospital Experience ''''''''''.        27

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

            A New Beginning '''''''''''''..        32

PREFACE

 

Are their special reasons when it's okay to abandon your cat? You know the one that has lived with you in your home, been a part of your family, shared in your happiness, and listened when you were troubled. Well, we all have our reasons for doing what we think is right or in this case for what we think will be best for the cat. But make no mistake about it; abandoned domestic cats are not going to return to their natural instincts and be able to fend for themselves. They've come to depend upon us for their survival.

 

By placing them in an unfamiliar area, they may experience serious emotional distress, which in turn will lead to harmful physical effects, including starvation, dehydration, disease and infection resulting from confrontations with other cats or wild animals. Just imagine yourself lost in the woods, with no food, no water, no shelter and not knowing where to go. Are you nervous? Is your stomach tight? Are you becoming stressed? Are you afraid? I think that one word, 'yes', will be your answer to all those questions. You can probably multiply that fear and anxiety a hundred fold for a cat abandoned in an unfamiliar area. Because of this emotional and physical stress their immune system becomes compromised and they will become more prone to disease. There life span will probably be reduced to only two or three years.

 

Serious injury or death by traffic accident is also common among abandoned cats. They can be easily startled in an unfamiliar area and end up running out into traffic. Other problems include injury or disease as a result of encounters with other cats, dogs or raccoons. Does that sound like the best life for your cat, or for that matter, any animal?

 

There can be no acceptable reason for abandoning your cat. With patience, tolerance, flexibility and education, any problem can be identified and resolved with a solution of responsibility. Abandoning your cat does not give it a chance to live; it only provides it with many opportunities to die.

 

By having your cat spayed (girl) or neutered (boy), you reduce cat overpopulation by reducing future generations of homeless cats. Remember, in seven years, a cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 kittens. This is why it becomes very important for our society as a whole, to focus on effective cat control measures by concentrating on programs that emphasize spaying/neutering, licensing fees, visual pet identification and 'chip implant' identification.

 

Most, if not all animal rescue shelters are overflowing with cats. Thousands of cats are euthanized by animal control agencies every day, every week, and year after year. This merry-go-round of brutality will never stop for these animals unless society quits finding an excuse to look the other way, and steps up and takes responsibility for the cats in our care. Each and every family that takes a cat into their home is agreeing to the responsibility of providing that animal with a lifetime of food and water, within a safe, caring, and loving environment.

 

                                                         CHAPTER ONE

 

                                                       THE BEGINNING

                                               

I remember when all of us kittens were real young; Mom told us a story about where she grew up. She lived in a house, a real house, with a man and woman who she told us took pretty good care of her. She had plenty of food, water and many cozy and comfortable places to sleep. She even had her own little doorway so she could go outside whenever she wanted. She also said she had a special guy, but she never talked much about him.

 

Everything seemed fine. But then one day the man and woman started arguing with one another. Mom didn't know what the problem was, but they argued more and more every day. The more they argued the less attention they gave to Mom. Mom said the arguing started about the same time she became pregnant with us kittens. Then one day the man left, and Mom never saw him again. The woman never paid much attention to Mom after the man left. Finally, just a few days before we were born, Mom said the woman put her in her carrying cage (Mom said that was like a box with a door on it), then put her in the car, and drove her far, far away. Mom told us the woman finally stopped by this big rock pile, took her out of her cage, and left her their all alone.

Even though Mom was very sad, and said she didn't know exactly what to do, she did know she was close to giving birth, so she found a quiet place underneath an old trailer and waited for us kittens to be born and keep her company.

 

 Hi, my name is Becky, and I would like to tell you a story about our families experience with love, friendship, birth, tragedy and hope.

 

I was born one day, underneath an old trailer next to a big pile of rocks. All I remember as a kitten was that my mom took good care of my brother and sister and I the best she could. She had to constantly search for food for herself, then she had to take care of feeding us, while all the time making sure that we remained safe from the trucks and tractors that were always working out by the big pile of rocks. If that wasn't enough, she also made sure we were always comfortable and well protected from the forces of Mother Nature. She did a real good job, a real good job. Mom told us she wished that all of us kittens could have grown up living with a loving family in a nice house. But she told us that was not going to happen. We were on our own, but not to worry, if we stay together we'll be just fine.

 

One day when I was very young, while Mom was out looking for food, my brother and sister and I were all playing. But when we finished playing, Mom still wasn't back, so we all decided to go look for her. We looked everywhere, and we even meowed out for her, but she was nowhere to be found.

 

 Mom always told us never to go across the big road next to where we lived. She told us there were big things called 'cars' that went real fast up and down the road, and we could easily be hurt, or even killed. But we all decided to go over there and look anyway. That's when we saw mom.

 

She was lying in the middle of the road, dead. We all just stood there looking at mom, and watching all those cars going over her one after another.  It was heart breaking and I was devastated. Then when one of the cars came to close to us, we ran back to where we lived. We were very sad and very lonely without Mom. Mom was the best. But she's never coming back, and that means my brother and sister and I are on our own. What are we going to do now?

 

As time went by my brother and sister and I had to learn how to take care of ourselves, while at the same time, watching out for each other. We had to be very careful and stay out of sight, but we also had to keep searching for food so we wouldn't go hungry. Believe me, it was not only difficult, but it was very, very scary. More and more people were doing things around where we lived. There seemed to be even more trucks and tractors than there were before, and they were always moving and shoveling the dirt back and forth. MEOW, it was a dusty mess. Then when it got dark we had to watch out for dogs and raccoons, and anything else that might try to hurt or kill us. We never seem to have a chance to just relax and take it easy.

 

As the days passed life was hard. My brother had decided to go off on his own. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was determined.  So we rubbed noses and then he walked away. I never saw him again. I think about him all the time and I still hope that he made it into the arms of a loving family, just like Mom wanted for all of us kittens.

A couple of weeks after my brother left, my sister began to get very sick. She never seemed quite as big or as strong as my brother and I. She didn't want to eat, she couldn't move around very well and her eyes and nose were running continuously.  Although she tried so very hard, her smaller and weaker body just wasn't strong enough to defend against the illness. She was so very, very brave. I knew she was in pain, but she never complained. There was no one here that cared and no one here to help. There was nothing I could do except stay close to her in case she needed me. Then as I awoke one morning, I found my sister dead next to me. I did everything I could for her, but it just wasn't enough. But I know Mom would have wanted me to stay with her to the end. So that's what I did. She was my sister and my friend, and I know she would have done the same for me.

 

 I left her underneath that old trailer, next to the big pile of rocks; because that was the only place she was ever able to call home. But I also knew that her and Mom would find each other again, and be together always and forever.

                                                      

        CHAPTER TWO

 

                                                        THE BIG MOVE

 

Time continued to pass and now I was totally on my own. As I was out looking for food one day, I met this real nice older cat who told me her name was Carrie.  She said she was dumped off on the side of the road by her human family because they didn't want her any more (nice people, uh?). She told me that there were a lot of places to hide around the outside of the big office building down the street. It even had a big puddle of water (lake), so we could always have something to drink. She was living there, and she told me a lot more cats, that had been dumped off by their families, were also calling that place home. There were even people there who would sometimes leave food out for all the cats.  

 

Well there was nothing left for me here, so I decided to follow Carrie down the street. Maybe I could find a little place of my own, and even make some new friends. But I intended to follow Mom's advice, and that was to always be very, very cautious. Did I ever mention to you that she was a great mom?

 

Well when Carrie and I arrived at the office building, she introduced me to a couple of her friends, who were also older than me, Goldie and Celine. They took me all around the outside of the building and showed me a bunch of different places I might want to call home. Even though it was a nice place with lots of trees and bushes, Celine did tell me that there are quite a few dogs and raccoons that come by all the time to check out the garbage cans, so we have to be careful. Although there were a few cats that liked to keep to themselves, most of the cats in the area were very nice. Everyone seemed to know that they had to stick together if they were going to survive.

 

Goldie told me that most of the people who were always around the building didn't pay much attention to us. But there were a few people who were nice enough to leave food for us once in a while. The only problem was that there was not always enough for everyone, so you had to keep an eye out for them every day. 

 

Well I decided that this was the place I would call home. I found myself a little area that was underneath the receiving dock (that's where the big trucks come in during the day to deliver packages) where I would be safe at night. Then during the day, I thought I would just hang out with the other girls, playing in the bushes, climbing up and down the trees, running around the park cars, or maybe even laying in the sun over on the grass.

I soon found out that I really couldn't play around as much as I would have liked. During the day there were always people doing things around the building.  Then at night, I had to always be on the lookout for dogs and raccoons. I realized that surviving left no time for anything else.

 

It was safer to search for food and water at night. Eating was a combination of whatever I could find in the garbage with whatever food the building people would leave. Depending upon how fast I was feeling there was also the occasional mouse, bird or lizard. The lake offered plenty of water, but that too was safer to get to at night.  For Carrie, Goldie, Celine and I, staying safe and surviving on what was available took the place of any real fun, but we stayed together and kept very cautious and alert of everything around us.

 

But then, things began to change.

 

                                                      CHAPTER THREE

 

                                                      LOSING FRIENDS

 

One day, Carrie began to get sick. She didn't want to eat or drink anything. She grew weaker and weaker with each passing day. There was no one out there that cared, and there was nothing Goldie, Celine and I could do to help. All Carrie wanted to do was to stay quiet and hidden behind the bushes.

 

Then one morning when we checked behind the bushes where she was usually sleeping, we saw that she had died in her sleep. My friend Carrie, who helped me find a new place to live, introduced me to many new friends, and taught me how to survive in my new surroundings was now gone. She should never have been exposed to the cruelty of life on the streets and she should never have had to suffer this kind of death just because someone didn't want her anymore.

 

That same day, some people from the office building saw her dead body, and picked her up and through her in the garbage dumpster. She was a good friend and a very nice cat. Her life should have been filled with family love and her death with the tranquility of family understanding.

 

It wasn't very long after Carrie's death, when Goldie and Celine and I ran into trouble. We were walking through some bushes, just as it was getting dark, when we were attacked by a couple of big dogs. Goldie and I went one way and Celine went the other way. They both ran after Celine, and before she could get to a ledge or a tree, they grabbed her. Her screams were terrifying, and sent shivers through my body.  Then there was silence. Some people from the office building saw what was happening and came out and chased the dogs away. But it was too late for Celine. Her little body was all torn apart. It was awful, just awful. They picked her dead body up and through her in the garbage dumpster. Like Carrie, she was a very nice cat and a good friend. She should never have been exposed to a life of uncertainty, or a death of such brutality. Goldie and I were both scared and shaking. We didn't know what to do, so we just stayed hidden for most of the night.

 

In just a short period of time, I lost two good friends. It was something that didn't need to have happened. But I realize now that 'luck' is an important part of surviving on the streets. It's about being lucky enough to stay healthy even though your food is comprised of garbage, mice, birds or lizards and your only water source is usually contaminated; it's about being lucky enough to find a safe and comfortable 'home' to shelter yourself against the elements; and it's about being lucky enough to maintain the strength and speed to protect yourself from all predators, including those who will euthanize you in the name of overpopulation.  

 

Well, Goldie and I still have each other. We will do what we have to do to survive, but I can't help but think that we may just be 'dead cats' walking.  

 

 

                                                        CHAPTER FOUR

 

                                                 A FAMILY OF MY OWN

 

As time went by, Goldie and I were doing okay, but always keeping a watchful eye out for those dogs. There were always new cats coming in and out of the area all the time. But today I met a new guy named Dandy. He was good looking and very nice to be around. Goldie also thought he was real nice.

 

As time went on, Dandy and I fell in love. Our relationship turned into something special, because after a while, I became pregnant with my first litter of kittens. I was very happy, but also a little scared. Surviving out here on the streets was hard enough on my own. But soon I'll have a family to take care of as well. 

 

Well all I could do right now is make sure I took good care of myself until it was time for the birth of my kittens to take place. Unfortunately, Dandy wasn't interested in having a family, so he moved away. I was sad, but I had to be strong. Goldie was right there with me, and was very supportive. She eventually told me that she had been spayed (that's when cats have an operation to prevent them from having any kittens), that's why she could never become pregnant. 

Well a long time went by (about nine weeks), the weather was turning cold and damp, and even though food was still scarce, and the threat of dogs and raccoons were an every day and night concern, I knew I was ready to deliver my kittens. So I found a place deep underneath the receiving dock where it was quiet and safe. The next day, just when the sun began to rise, I became the mother of 2 little guys and 2 little girls.

 

MEOW, they were really cute. Giving birth was really quite an experience. But I was tired now, and decided to just relax and get some rest. My little kittens were very good and stayed right there next to me. But I can't rest too long because now I have a family, and it was my responsibility to feed, clean, comfort, teach and protect them until they were able to take care of themselves. My family depended on me know, and I wasn't going to let them down. 

 

Like most new kittens, they were blind at birth, and wouldn't be able to open their eyes for sometime (about 10 ' 12 days). Plus they will not be very steady on their feet for a while either (about 4 weeks). So during that time I'll be doing a lot of nursing. Then later on (at about 5 weeks) I'll start nursing them less, but at the same time start showing them where the garbage area is at, and where the people from the office building leave us food.  

 

Eventually they will be all done nursing (about 8 weeks), and ready for a steady diet of whatever the garbage or the office people have to offer. Whew, I have a feeling I'm going to be one tired Mom for a while. But hey, I want to make my mother proud and do a great job. Did I ever mention to you that she was a great mom?

 

Time has really gone by fast, but my kittens are finally able to eat on their own. They have really been a paw full. But now there really starting to get around on their own and I've got to keep my eye on them all the time. I've been teaching them when and where to go for food and water, but at the same time to watch out for dogs, raccoons and people. But I've got to admit, their all doing very well. Even Goldie told me, Meow, there a good bunch of kittens.

 

 

                                                        CHAPTER FIVE

 

                                             A  MOTHERS NIGHTMARE

 

The problem with living on your own is that things can change very fast. One morning, not long after the kittens stopped nursing, both the little guys became sick. It seemed so sudden. Neither wanted to eat, there nose and eyes were running, they were not breathing very well and they didn't have the energy to move around. It was just agonizing to have to watch them in such pain, but I just didn't know what to do to help them feel better.

 

The smaller of the two little guys appeared the worst. As nightfall approached he was barely breathing. You could hear him faintly moaning and gasping for each breath. It seemed to go on for hours. Then during the early hours of the night, his frail little body lay next to me with his last breath now gone. Now there was only silence, thankfully his suffering was over. It seemed a cruel and senseless death.  I was his mother, but I couldn't even help him.  I was his mother, but I just couldn't save him. I failed him as a mother, and I was heartbroken.

In the morning, one of the people from the office building saw him lying in the bushes and picked him up and threw him in the garbage dumpster. He was such a good little guy. He deserved to have a much longer and happier life. How different his life could have been, if there had just been someone available to help.

By that afternoon, my other little guy was getting worse.  His breathing was slow, and he could hardly move. I was afraid he too would end up like his brother. He spent the rest of the day and all night in what I know must have been a lot of pain. The next morning, Goldie and I decided that I should carry him out to the sidewalk. We thought that if he was sitting there when all the people were going in and out of the building that someone would recognize that he was sick and find him the help that he needed. One after another, people kept going by him without paying any attention to his meows for help. He was there for so very, very long.  

 

Then when our hopes were all but gone, a woman stopped and looked down at my little guy. She was so awesome. Goldie and I could just feel the love and warmth of her concern. There was no doubt in our mind that this was the 'kitten angel' that we had hoped would arrive. She looked down at my little guy and said, 'you look like you need some help, and I'm going to make sure you get it'.

 

After saying that, she went over to her car and got this box out with a door on it (Meow, that's one of those cages that Mom told me about). She came back and picked my little guy up, put him into the cage and drove away. I just had a good feeling that she would be the 'angel of life' for my little boy's future.

 

Well my two little boys are gone, but I still have my two little girls, and my best friend Goldie. We will go on as always now, being cautious, watching for the dogs, raccoons and people, and searching for food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            CHAPTER SIX

 

                                                         FRIEND OR FOE

 

A few days had passed since my little guy was taken by the 'kitten angel'. It was a weekend day, that's when the office building people were not usually around. It was unusual, because a car drove up to where we usually find the food from the office people, and a man got out that we had never seen before. He put some plates down, and filled them with enough fresh food and water to feed me, my two little girls and Goldie. It was very good.

 

After he watched us eat, he filled the plates with more food, and then left. We've never eaten this good. Then he came back the next morning, and did the exact same thing. It sure was nice to have all that food just for us. We all thought to ourselves, I wonder if he will be coming all the time? Goldie thought he looked like a nice person. If he ever comes back, maybe I'll go up to him and see if he wants to be friends. I told her she had better be careful and cautious. It's very hard to trust anyone.

 

 

Well, we had not seen the man for a while, and it had been very, very cold. But again, on a weekend day, sure enough he pulled up in his car again, got out and put down some plates, and then filled them with food and water. Then he went back to his car and we went over to eat and drink. When we were done, the man came back over with some more food. As he filled up the plates again, Goldie decided she would get a little closer to him and see what would happen. As she got a little closer, he bent over and petted her. She really thought that was nice.

 

But then he went back over to his car and got one of those cages out and placed it on the ground next to the food. When Goldie went back over towards him again, he grabbed her by the back of the neck and put her in the cage. I told Goldie to be careful, I told her. I was very, very scared. Then he took the cage with Goldie in it, put it in his car, got in, and drove away. What was he going to do with Goldie? Why did he take my best friend? This was terrible. Goldie was my best friend and it was lonely without her. Now it's just me and my two little girls. I told them that we have to be careful if he comes back again. We don't want to end up in that cage, because we may never see each other again.

 

 

 

The days continued to be cold and rainy, and food became harder and harder to find. It's challenging enough trying to find food when it's raining. But when it's raining and cold, the chill never seems to leave my body.

 

Well it's another weekend day, and as usual, that man has come back again. He's getting out of his car with the food and water, but this time he's bringing the cage with him. He put the plates down and filled them with food and water and then placed the cage on the ground next to the food. Then he went back over towards his car. My girls and I have had very little to eat since the last time we saw him, so we were very hungry. We cautiously went over and started eating. That food he brings is just delicious.

 

I was so hungry that I didn't notice the man walk around behind us as we were eating. When he did, he bent over behind one of my little girls and picked her up by the back of her neck, just like he did Goldie. He then placed her in the cage and shut the door. My other little girl and I ran away quickly. We were very scared. He then picked up the cage, put it in his car, got in and drove away. I just don't understand. Now he not only took Goldie, but one of my little girls as well. Why is he doing this? What's going to happen to my little girl?

 

That was one of my little kittens he took, and I couldn't help but to think it was my fault. I should have done a better job of protecting her. Well now I only have one little girl left. I have to protect her, I have to protect her. We both went back over to eat some of the food he left, but I really wasn't feeling very hungry. But I knew my little girl needed food to keep up her strength. So I made sure she ate, while I kept watch for any intruders.

 

Lately, it seemed to be raining every day. Food was still a problem for my little girl and I, and I could tell she was getting sick as well. But another weekend day was upon us, and as usual that man drove up in his car again. He got out of his car, with the cage, and set it on the ground next to where we always eat. Then he took a can of fish food out of his pocket, opened it up, and placed it just inside the door of the cage. The smell was overwhelming.  Before I knew it, my little girl went right into the cage and started eating the food. I didn't even have time to MEOW to her, before the man closed the door, picked up the cage and put it in his car. I wanted to do something, but there was nothing I could do, so I quickly ran away. I was heartbroken. The man came back over and put some plates down on the ground and filled them with food and water. Then he went back to his car, got in, and drove away with the last of my family. Why would he do this? What's going to happen to her now? I just don't understand.

 

 

I was all alone now. Everyone I ever loved is gone. Mom killed, my brother gone, my sister, Carrie and Celine all dead, and Goldie and all my other kittens taken away. I was very sad, and life was now lonelier than ever. I failed to help my friends, and I failed as a mother to protect my kittens. What was left for me now?

 

The rain had finally stopped, but the days were cold, and the nights even colder. The wind felt like it was going right through me. I continued to have a hard time finding food and water, and now my eyes and nose were running. I was even beginning to feel a little sick. I wasn't sure what I was going to do if I saw that man again, but I knew the weekend was approaching, so I kept a close eye out for him. Sure enough the next morning, he pulled up in his car, got out, and went over and put some plates down on the ground. He filled the plates with food and water. Then he went back over to his car and got the cage out, and brought it over and set it down next to the food. Then he stepped back away from the food. I was cold, hungry and tired, but at the same time I was trying my best to be cautious. I hesitated for a while, but then I slowly walked over to the food and started eating. As soon as I did, he kneeled down and grabbed me by the back of the neck. I fought and wiggled, and tried to scratch him, but I didn't seem to have enough strength to break loose. He put me right in the cage and shut the door.

 

 

Well, I guess this will be the end of me. Whatever happened to my two little girls and Goldie was going to happen to me as well. You know, I tried so hard to take care of my family and my friends. But I failed everyone, including myself. I don't think Mom would be very proud of me either. But I know that surviving out here on the streets is more about luck than anything else. So I guess my luck has just run out. I'm tired, hungry and I don't feel good. Whatever happens will happen.

 

 

                                                     CHAPTER SEVEN

 

                                         THE HOSPITAL EXPERIENCE

 

Well we drove for a long time. I was kind of surprised because the man in the car kept talking to me in a nice tone of voice the whole way. You know a nice gentle voice. When we finally stopped, he got out of the car and took the cage I was in with him. He walked into a big building where, MEOW, there were a lot of people sitting around. Some of the people had dogs sitting by them, others had cages like the one I was in, and some had cats on their lap. They were all barking and meowing, and I was really, really scared.

 

Finally the man picked up the cage I was in and took me into a little room where we were by ourselves. I thought to myself, maybe this is the end. Maybe this is how Goldie and my two little girls ended their lives? I needed to be brave, because I know they would have been. The door to the room opened, and in walked this woman with a white coat on. The man and the woman talked for a short time, and then they opened the door to the cage.

 

I was really too hungry and too tired to fight, so I let the woman pull me out. She looked in my eyes, up my nose, and in my ears and mouth. She felt my body, looked at my tail and put this little round thing that was connected to her ears (stethoscope) on my chest. When she was all done, she and the man talked again. Then she went out of the room but wasn't gone very long. When she came back, the man held on to me while the woman took a couple of long pointed things and stuck them in me. Actually she was very gentle so it really didn't hurt.

 

Then the man left and the woman took me into another room where there were a lot of BIG cages with other cats in them. There was an empty one, so she put me in it. Only one of the cats was very talkative. She told me her name was Tess. Tess said that all the cats, including herself, were just being boarded (like a hotel visit) until their families returned home and picked them up. Tess said the other cats were mad because their families didn't take them on vacation with them, so they didn't feel much like talking. She asked me what I was doing here, but I told her I didn't know.

 

Tess told me that this is a Veterinarian Hospital. She said this is where dogs and cats come to get the medicine they need to keep from getting sick, or to be cured and cared for after they've become sick. That woman that brought you in was a doctor, and all those other people walking around back here are the doctor's helpers. The helpers make sure you have plenty of food and water, and give you any of the medicines you need to make you feel better. I told Tess I thought they were going to hurt me. She told me; don't worry, there here to help you. I told her that they poked me with some sharp long pointed things. She told me those were called needles, and they were giving me the shots of medicine I needed to stay healthy, and also checking my blood to make sure I didn't need any other special medicines.

 

It wasn't long before one of the helpers came in and gave me plenty of food and water. They also had a little box of what looked like sand. Tess told me that was kitty litter, which is like a little bathroom for cats. I told her that was pretty neat. Once a year when Tess's family goes out of town, they bring her here. She's been coming here for the last ten years and she said the people who work here are very warm and caring.

 

Well so far everything has been okay here at the hospital. I've been given plenty of food and water, and I'm even starting to feel better. Here comes one of the helpers. She's opening up my cage, picking me up, and MEOW, where are they taking me now. Were going into another room and she's putting me on a table. One of those women with the white coats on is poking me with one of those needle things again. MEOW, I'm not sure what's happening to me right now, but for some reason I'm getting very, very sleepy.

 

MEOW, I don't know how long I was asleep, but I still feel a little dizzy, and my stomach is a little sore. I didn't even know I was that tired. Now one of the helpers is picking me up and taking me back to where Tess and the other cats were staying. After they put me back in my cage, I told Tess, I really didn't know what just happened to me? Tess told me I was spayed. Oh no I said, you mean I can't have anymore kittens. She told me, no you can't, but take my word for it, that's a good thing. The world is overpopulated with cats living in the wild. Female cats can have as many as 18 kittens per year. Even though half of them will die from either disease and/or starvation, the females in the other half can start producing offspring within a year, like you did. It's a never ending flow of homeless cats. The suffering has to stop. The ones that manage to survive not only have to continue to battle starvation, but keep from getting hit by cars, killed by other animals or picked up by animal services, where they very well may be euthanized (killed). So you see being spayed is a good thing. MEOW, Tess is really smart, and she sure is helpful.

There have been family members picking up their cats every day. Tess was the last to go. Her family just picked her up. Before she left though, she did tell me not to worry. She said that she had a good feeling that I would be all right, and she hoped that she would see me again someday.

 

Well I'm not sure just how long I've been here, but it seems like a long time. Being in this cage, not being able to move around makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I wonder what's going to happen to me next.

                                                     CHAPTER EIGHT

 

                                                 A NEW BEGINNING

Well here come the helpers again. They're taking me out of my big cage and putting me in that carrying cage that I came here in, and taking me into another room. There's that man that brought me in. MEOW, he seems happy to see me. I think he's saying to me that it's time to go for another ride in the car. Yep, I was right. He's taking me out to the car, putting me in next to him, and now I guess were going somewhere else. He talked to me the whole time we were in the car, but even though it sounded nice, I really didn't know what he was saying. But this time, I really didn't feel scared.

Well it looks like we're at wherever we were going. He's stopping the car and taking my cage out. He's taking me into this little house where MEOW, look at all the cats. He takes my cage and puts it on a table. Through the holes in the cage, I can see cats, cats, and more cats. Wait a minute, can it really be, I mean is it really possible, or is it just wishful thinking? I think I see Goldie, and my two little girls as well, and MEOW, there's my little boy too. Oh my goodness, what happened to his eye? Yes, yes, it is them, it is them. MEOW, I can't wait to get over there and talk to them. My best friend and my kittens, Am I lucky or what?

 A girl walks over to my cage and looks inside. After her and the man talked for a minute, they both turned toward me and he said to her, 'this is Becky (hey, now I've got a name), and she is two years old. She's the mother of Blackie, Christy and Midnight, those three little kittens that I brought in during the last couple of months (hey, my kids have their own names too)'.

The girl leaned over and looked in the cage and said 'my name is Kathleen, welcome to our animal rescue home. You sure are a beautiful black and white cat. You'll be very safe and comfortable inside this building, and you'll be able to feel like your outside, because all the windows have screens on them, and there's even a big screened in porch. Will all take good care of you as long as you're here, and you can stay as long as you like. Maybe someday you might even get adopted'. Somehow I understood what she meant. MEOW, I have a new place to live, and with someone who cares and someone who wants to help.

It looks like Kathleen is getting ready to open up my cage, and I can't wait. Okay, she's bending down, she's opening the door, and MEOW, and I'm out here. The first stop is to find my kittens, Blackie, Christy and Midnight, and my best friend Goldie. I saw them all when I first came in, but I don't know where they went now. Let me see what this place looks like while I'm searching for my family and friends.

 

MEOW, there are a lot of things to climb on, look into and jump over. The space I'm in now seems like your outdoors. I can feel the wind, see the grass and bushes, and I feel just like I'm outside, but without all the dangers. That spider web looking stuff must be the 'screen' that Kathleen was telling me about. It looks just like those spider webs I used to see on the bushes when I was a kitten. Mom had told me that they were very sticky, and to never try and walk through them, or I would be cleaning myself all day.

 

MEOW, here is another big space. I don't feel like I'm outside, but there are plenty of big openings with that screen on them, where you can sit and look out, feel the breeze and smell the fresh air. Here's another space, just like the last one, with more big openings where I can look outside, feel the breeze and smell the fresh air. Everywhere I look, there are places to sleep, hide and play, and even though I can't get out, I also don't have to worry about dogs, raccoons or anything else trying to hurt me. I'll be warm when it's cold, dry when it's wet and comfortable when it's hot. Plus, all of these spaces have those same litter boxes that they had at the hospital, only bigger. I don't even have to go outside.

 

There's also a small space where two big square things are making noise. One is wishing and washing back and forth, and the other is turning things around and around. MEOW, there's one more small space, where according to my nose, there must be a lot of food. But, I have to admit, even with all this space to roam and play, there's cats and more cats everywhere.

 

I've never seen so many different cats all in one place. There are cats with long hair, short hair, pointed ears, rounded ears, with stripes and without stripes, and MEOW, their all so colorful (it is suspected that cats can see a blue/green/yellow blend. NO reds). Looking at all of these cats reminds me of those beautiful stripes I used to see up in the sky, just after it rained, and the sun was coming back out.  It was so very, very pretty.

 

MEOW, MEOW, there's Blackie, Christy, Midnight and Goldie. MEOW, they see me too. It's nice to feel you guys and girls rubbing up next to me again. I was sure worried about all of you, and I really missed you. I love you guys, and I'm so happy that were together again. Is everybody okay? How have you been? Are things okay here?  

We've got a lot of catching up to do. Goldie told me that they all spent time in the Veterinarian Hospital. They all had their blood checked and were given their shots of medicine. Christy and Midnight were both spayed, and Blackie was neutered. But because Blackie had been so sick, she said he almost died, he was in the hospital the longest. She said because his left eye was so infected, the doctors had to remove it. But then they sewed up the eyelids and he looks just fine. As a matter of fact, we are all doing just great.

Well first I told Blackie that he was just as good looking with one eye, as he was with two; then I told Christy and Midnight just how beautiful they've become since we've been a part; and then I told Goldie how much I've missed meowing with my best friend. I never thought I would see any of you ever again. I love all of you, and I am very thankful that we're all safe, healthy, and back together again.

I asked Goldie what it was like living here with all these cats. She said it was a little crowded at times, but it was comfortable, safe and there was always plenty of food and water. She said that the people who take care of us here are wonderful. They give us medicine if we're not feeling well, provide us with plenty of little toys to play with, keep our home very clean, and even spend time petting and playing with us. She said there's even a chance that you might get adopted, because people often come here when there looking for a cat to join their family.

 

But she did point out that they usually go to the other building first, because that's where all the kittens live. She said that most people seem to prefer having a little kitten rather than one of us older cats. But she did tell me that every once in a while we do get a few people in here that want to give us older cats the opportunity of family life. There's only been one taken since I've been here though. But hey, there's always a chance, so there's always hope.

Well now I have a new home, here at the animal rescue shelter. I have my boy, my two little girls and my best friend here with me. I wish Mom, my sister, my brother, and my other little boy were here as well, but time was not on their side. The rest of us were just fortunate enough to survive long enough to be saved by people who really care. I was just lucky, and I believe that luck is what it's really all about.

Even though I wondered what the future would hold for me now, I couldn't help thinking to myself; Mom was probably smiling right now. I don't think she's disappointed in me, I think she's proud of me. I think we're all going to be all right Mom.  I think we're all going to be all right.

Did I ever mention to you that she was a great Mom?

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