Today’s Cat Tale is about how Pickles and Hillary came to live with us.
In the 70s we had a cat named Everest but this story isn’t about her. She will have her own story.
In the 90s and the 00s we had a cat named Kitaska. She was an extremely sweet cat who chose me. But again this story is not about her except to say that she died several years ago at the age of 17.
About a year after the death of Kitashka the Mrs and I began thinking we wanted another cat. After weeks of deliberating I learned from a coworker that there was a cat in need of a home because it’s owner was going to be leaving the country. I never got that cat. While backing out of the driveway to go look at that cat, my neighbor waved, I rolled down the window, and he asked “are you still looking for a cat”. He was temporarily watching a cat that belonged to his wife’s daughter, but they did not want it anymore. I walked into their house, walked back to the guest bedroom and saw Patches lying there on the bed. She was very gentle and very friendly and came to see me immediately. I took her home to see if the Mrs wanted to keep her and she never left. Patches is a sweet old girl. She’s either cross-eyed or blind in one eye and when she goes from the carpet to a hard surface she feels around with her right front paw as if she’s walking out onto glass.
This story isn’t about her either, except to say that Patches has always been my cat and the Mrs wanted a cat of her own. You see, Kitashka, even though she chose me, was always a lap cat for the Mrs when I wasn’t home. The Mrs is a shut in and having a lap cat was very important to her.
Then I learned about four orphaned kittens who were living in the backyard of a coworker of a coworker of a coworker.
I showed the above picture to the Mrs and she decided that she wanted the one who is now called Pickles (far left) and any other one. (We already had Patches and #2 son had a cat named Luna. I did not think we could handle six cats.)
So we went to the house of the person with the kittens in the backyard. The kittens were living under the patio deck and were so hungry that they would come out and eat food scraps but would not let you touch them. They could barely squeeze through the crack between the concrete and the wooden deck. The fellow had a couple of raccoon traps which we put some food in and we managed to capture Pickles and capture the kitten that we would soon name Hillary. We then transferred them each to a cat carrier and brought them home.
Once home I put the cat carrier in the bathroom by the laundry room to allow them to acclimate to the colder house temperature. When I brought them kitten food and water they hissed and backed as far to the back of the cat carrier as they could. When they realized it was food though they came forward and ate like they hadn’t eaten in days. The next day we bought a playpen and kitten toys and put them in the playpen with a sheet over the top.
In the playpen
If you listen to the audio you’ll hear a reference to a name of Freckles. This was to be Pickles original name but for some reason we forgot it and we kept calling him Pickles. The name stuck. You may also notice we called them she. This was before we took them to the vet and found out they were both boys. Notice the pyramid-shaped cat tent. Sir Edmund Hillary got his name by being the first to climb to the top of it.
We worked hard to socialize the kittens immediately. Everyone in the family took turns holding them and loving them on a continuous basis. Yet somehow I continue to be the cat whisperer. As with Patches and Kitashka before her, both Pickles and Hillary love to be with me. Both he and Patches follow me around the house like puppy dogs always wanted to be with me. But Hillary is my boy.
A comment on the snowflake blanket in the picture above: Hillary still likes to nurse on that blanket. It must remind him him of his mommy. Even tonight as I was dictating this, Hillary was lying on my chest and nursing feverishly on that blanket.
Sir Edmund Hillary
Pickles and Hillary
One Year Ago
No one wants to get inside the boxes on the cat condo these days.
You can see the whole clan as the are now @ https://contrafactual.com/2013/11/03/food/
Footnote: The person that I got the kittens from wanted the black one and the other one that we did not take. But we learned later that he did not want them as pets. He wanted them as outdoor cats to keep the rodent population outside down. They disappeared. 😦