This spring we found that our two cats, which we had taken in the year before, had given birth.
Both of them. Days apart.
The result? 10 kittens.
We quickly starting hitting up anyone and everyone we knew to take a kitten once they reached weaning age. We had told the kids that they could each keep one.
The mothers, who had been raised together, kept both litters in a single box we had provided.
They lived in harmony, kittens nursing off of one and then later, another.
We didn't know whose kittens were whose.
However, one morning, the peaceful living conditions ceased to exist. Miss L came in the house and told me that there was something "really bad wrong" and that Mr. B's cat was making a weird noise.
I went outside to see that, in fact, she was right. The noise WAS really weird. Apparently the two adult cats had decided that they liked each other NO LONGER.
A couple of hours later Steven spotted Miss L's cat carrying kittens across the yard. Later we tracked her and recovered two out of four kittens that she had moved.
So, at this point, we had one mother and seven kittens that we were caring for. There were two kittens and one mother that were MIA.
We found homes for all the kittens except for the two that the kids decided to keep and we were down to three cats: Mr. B's momma cat, and two male kittens.
A week later, Miss L's MIA mother and her two kittens returned home. They kept to themselves, preferring the deck to the security of the shed.
A couple of months later, after returning home from vacation, Steven discovered that Mr. B's mother cat had given birth, once again. This time we had four kittens-one male and three females.
I knew that this vicious circle had to end.
Since Mr. B's mother cat was still nursing her kittens, I scheduled Miss L's cat an appointment to "be fixed". I took her to the vet and the deed was done.
That evening my dad came over to our house. He asked about my day and I shared with him about the cat and the trip to the vet.
He laughed. In fact, it was kind of a mocking type of laugh. Then he said, "You know, it will probably get ran over next week."
Now, before you think my dad is completely hard hearted- or psychic- please know this: What he said came from years and years of experience.
You see, only in the last 15 years has my dad even taken any pet to the vet. Even then, it was only because his dog had been hit by a car and there was a fear that it wouldn't live without some veterinary intervention. And, incidentally, he was kind of fond of THAT dog.
Growing up on a farm, we were used to having barn cats come and go. In fact, every dog that I have ever owned has died prematurely. And by prematurely, I mean, not by natural causes. Trust me, there is nothing natural about tire tracks.
My current dog, Daisy, which I have had since 1998, has outlived any other dog I have ever had and even she was hit by a car early in her life. She, however, lived to "tell" about it. Once I was married I left home and the highway, and followed Steven to the 'Lotta Rock Ranch', which was located off the beaten path. This alone might account for the fact that, this year, Daisy turned 11.
So, I could appreciate where he was coming from and laughed at the luck that he has always had. I knew what had come to shape his philosophy about animals: "If it doesn't make you any money, then you don't spend any money on it."
Because, most likely, it won't be around for long.
That conversation took place about a month and a half ago.
Miss L's cat, the one that we spent $60.00 on and had "fixed", has, officially, been missing for about three weeks.
I haven't seen any "tire tracks", but I haven't seen any cat either.