Monday, October 13, 2008

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Our Fur Babies


My Keke
A year ago, our daughter discovered two cats living under a tree across the street from her house. She works with a group who catch, neuter, and return feral cats to their previous homes. These two though were being beaten up by other male cats in her neighborhood. Our daughter asked us to consider allowing the two cats to live in our garage. She told us they would die living outside with no protection from the weather. We agreed to take the cats if she would help. Our daughter did everything necessary, including setting up a little warm house for them and putting in a little cat door into the garage.
Tigger, an average size light ginger cat, was very afraid. Little Keke, a black and white tabby, was friendly immediately. They loved roaming the little park beyond our backyard. There were suddenly no birds, mice, or squirrels in our backyard. This past summer, Keke and Tigger both sat with me on our swing out back. Tigger wouldn't get up on the swing, but he began to run in front of me and lay down in my path. I would lean over, pet him, and walk on. Tigger would keep running ahead of me and laying down. He wouldn't allow me to pick him up.
Finally, at the end of the summer, I brought both cats into the sunroom for the veterinarian to examine with the intention of making them part of our feline household. I was really afraid of their getting hurt. (We live in Delaware where a kitten was tortured to death in the Spring.) The vet finally gave them the okay, and they joined Autumn and Moon with the whole house as their territory.
Tigger now comes to me and cries to be petted. He still rolls over but won't get onto the chair or anywhere more convenient for petting. Keke is a total joy. He's fearless and adorable. He ignores Moon's hissing and growling and does whatever he wants, including chasing Moon or Autumn. The vet judged Tigger to be six, and Keke four, by their teeth. I can't believe Keke could be four. He's the size of a six-month old kitten and soooooo affectionate. Little Keke slept with me last night and he gives me cat kisses on my hand and does the cat nose rub. There are many homeless kittens and cats waiting for homes. They take very little care if they stay indoors. No fleas, no disease. Each cat needs at least one kitty litter and they're not difficult to clean. Cats live on average live from twelve to sixteen years old and they give love and affection differently, but as much as dogs. If they have a special corregated cardboard to scratch, they leave the furniture alone and they rarely scratch their family except by accident or if you are playing "cat" with them. Cats are independent, as smart as dogs, but they learn to respond to their names. They are endlessly curious and it's very hard not to think of them as "our furry babies".

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