I’ve always had cats, an integral part of my world and our farm. Two reside indoors now; Minnie Mae, a funny little cat, and Percy, a manly tabby and our most recent acquisition. Percy is the ultimate lapcat who lives for cuddles. How can you not appreciate that sort of affection?
We fondly remember Gabby, a lavender Oriental Shorthair, related to the Siamese and just as vocal, and her chestnut-colored son, Pookah, named for the invisible creature that steals things. We used to call him “the paw” because of the way he opened drawers or cabinets and pilfered whatever he liked, usually hair thingies. He and Gabby were mad over scrunchies, and colorful bands that hold hair in pony tails.
Pookah was a gorgeous cat and an excellent thief, but he sucked his tail. Not very manly. A kind woman living in Florida sent us Gabby years ago to comfort the children after the tragic death of their young cousin Matthew. Gabby came to us on a plane, an odd infant highly unlike the barn cats we were accustomed to.
At first we didn’t know what to think of this little gray monkey forever disappearing into the highest cabinets or crouching on the tops of doors and wardrobes. Nor did we understand her peculiar cry, but once we learned to know her, we were hooked. That’s how we came by Pookah, the big-eared kitten we kept from a litter of three after we had Gabby bred to a fancy Siamese, Cappuccino. He wasn’t manly either.
Then there’s Minnie Mae, the tabby kitten-cat my daughter Elise and I raised from early infancy after her stray, airhead mother inadvertently left her in our care. She was so tiny she barely spanned my palm and is still small for a grown cat. Minnie Mae is a whimsical creature with a series of purrs. Elise calls the chirrupy purr when she scampers across the room, her ‘bouncing purr.’ Then there’s her inquiring purr, when she has a question, which is fairly often being a thoughtful, observant cat. Her excited purr hums forth when she greets us after a long absence, say overnight. She sleeps outside hubby and my bedroom door and eagerly awaits the dawn.
When I was a child I listened repeatedly to a favorite record that I still have about the adventures of Dick Whittington and his cat. Dick would exclaim: “Here comes Ripple Dee Dee! Oh, cat, I love you very much.” And I do. All of them.
Below is the recipe we use for feeding orphan kittens (given to us by the wife of a local veterinarian who recommends it). If the kitten is very small, you will need to purchase a tiny bottle from a pet supply store for feeding, and until the kitten can bathroom itself, you will have to massage its rear end several times a day with a warm damp cloth to imitate the mother cat’s licking.
8 ounces of whole milk, 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp all purpose vegetable oil, 1-2 drops pediatric vitamins. Whisk together and store in the fridge, warming up small amounts as needed. An orphan kitten must eat every few hours. Introduce kitten chow at 4-6 weeks and wean from this milk-based formula.