At our house, we have a new twist on the classic fairy tale ?Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.? But for us it?s ?Black Beauty and her Seven Kitties.?
Although it wasn?t in our game plan this summer to help a momma cat raise her seven kittens, it just happened.
Our son, Joey, was even kind enough to loan us his office space upstairs so this large feline family could be safe and out of harm?s way from predators outside, and our own two cats inside.
It?s a strange arrangement, but only temporary, until we can find everyone a proper home so they can have a loving family of their own.
Actually, the kittens have been enjoying their accommodations. Joey?s collection of books have doubled as a mountain range for the kittens to explore and conquer. I doubt if Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky ever thought his books would be entertaining to man and cat alike.
Still, the books, which often are a challenge for people, have proven to be a challenge for kittens as well.
Who knows? Maybe there?s a new market for kitten toys that includes large books. We could call it, ?Kitty Literature? or ?Kitty Lit,? for short.
One thing we have noticed about these literary geniuses is that they are frightened by ?Dante?s Inferno,? but are partial to ?The Chronicles of Narnia.?
And while they seem to move quickly through small paperback books, they are unafraid to tackle even the largest of novels.
All-in-all, they are wide-eyed with wonder as they scan the mountainous library.
As much as we have grown to love those well-educated furry little creatures, in just over two more weeks, we must find them all homes.
It?s either find them homes or husband Randy is going to throw us all out. Seriously, though, they are going to make great indoor, outdoor or even farm cats for some lucky family. Each one is healthy and adorable.
Yes, we do have one ?runt? in the litter, but even he is putting on weight quickly.
Somehow we couldn?t let them live with us for eight weeks without names, and I didn?t want to copy Dr. Suess? ?The Cat in the Hat? by calling them Thing One, Thing Two, etc.
Consequently, each of them has a name, but when they are adopted those names will probably change.
For now, though, the three tiger-striped males are Ivan, Dmitri and Dexter. The other male is Simon, who is all black with the cutest blue eyes. From what I have read, their blue eyes will usually turn colors before they are 6 months old.
The other three are females, and two of them look like Holsteins. For their names, we enlisted the help of Randy, who grew up on a dairy farm.
He suggested Bessie and Big Babe because those were the names of two of his family?s favorite milking cows. Turns out, though, that Bessie?s name was actually Missy, according to Randy?s sister. Nonetheless, we stuck with Bessie. The other female is also black with a little white bow tie and she was named Silence because she is so quiet and unassuming.
Ivan is the largest kitten, and was the first to eat a meal alongside his mother. He started nibbling between 3 and 4 weeks old.
By the next day, Dmitri and Simon were also face-first in the food bowl, squeaking and eating and worried they weren?t going to have enough.
Within a week, everybody was in the two food bowls?paws, tails and all.
At first, Dmitri was shy and reserved, but he?s coming out of the shadows and enjoying an active social life with his other siblings.
Some people might wonder what kind of a crazy person I must be for having all these kittens in the house. I am not sure myself, but ever since I can remember, animals have occupied a special place in my heart.
Somehow seeing this poor mother cat and her seven little babies struggling to survive in the heat was more than I could bear.
I would love to keep them all, but like I said, we already have two cats of our own and I think they want the run of their house back. It also wouldn?t be fair to them. These are going to be some hearty little guys having survived birth and their first few days in temperatures of 105-plus degrees.
The day we finally brought them inside, the temperature hit 113 degrees. Even our veterinarian later told us that some, if not all of the kittens, might not have made it in such oppressive heat.
It?s been a fun experience for our family to have watched these little guys get their start in life.
We have sincerely enjoyed their company. We also know each one of them likes people because of the way they interact with us. They enjoy rubbing their little faces on us and touching our cheeks with claws carefully sheathed?well most of the time?and they are litter-box trained.
As I mentioned earlier, our little connoisseurs of comfort will be ready for new adventures and new homes before the end of September, which might be a good thing because of their accelerated reading abilities.
After all, we wouldn?t our furry intellectuals to discover George Orwell?s ?Animal Farm? in one of the stacks.