I saw a post on Facebook looking for a home for a couple of kittens. The kittens had shown up at the grandmother's house of one of my prior students and she was not able to keep them. I half jokingly replied that I would take them if she was unable to find them another home and well, I ended up being the lucky owner of two kittens.
I set up the time to pick them up and after swim lessons we headed out. The kids were a bit confused and kept asking where we were going and I kept having to say, "Be patient, you will find out when we get there." After a few wrong turns we made it and were met by my student and her Memaw, which confused my kids even more. They slowly made their way out of the car, looks of apprehension on their faces, they were greeted with a bin and once they peered inside the looks of apprehension turned to looks of pure joy. I know that we already have quite the collection of animals, but there is something special about a baby animal. Squeals of, "they are so cute, they are so tiny!" filled my ears and made my heart full.
We were told that the kittens were females so all the way home names were considered and thrown out until the names Hoosier and Natalie were decided. Hoosier is the grey kitten and it was decided would be RJ's, and Natalie is the black and white one that would be Lily's. However, when we got home after further inspection it was determined that the kittens most definitely were not female. Hoosier seemed to be a name that would remain appropriate, but Natalie needed a name change. Lily thought about it for a little bit and came up with 'Pickles', perfect.
These little guys are pretty funny together, they napy together and play together, their favorite toy being an empty Budlight box. One of them will crawl into the box and bat his paw around and the other will chase the paw until they are tired and ready for a nap. They both are very calm and put up with being dragged around and 'cuddled' by my kids (as well as the kids who have come over to visit), and this cuddling is not always gentle.
I cannot say that my husband was surprised that we picked up two more animals and I cannot say he was overjoyed, but I think that on some small level he enjoys them. I know that he is not a cat person, but these two are pretty funny together and I know that deep down they amuse him. I am beyond lucky to have a husband like him, he has given me more than I ever imagined I would have with this life full of animals. He has given these two kids of ours a pretty amazing, simple, childhood.
We lost Gus the other day. He lost a bunch of weight these past few weeks and even though we brought him inside to feed him he just could not pull through. Gus spent his last few days inside our home next to the wood burning stove all bundled up in some blankets. I hope that he was comfortable and knew that he was loved. I do think that he waited for us to say goodbye. When we got home Tuesday afternoon he meowed a few times and then ten minutes later he was gone. He got some last minute petting and love in and then went to join Shannon's dad in heaven.
It is rather ironic that Gus passed so soon after my father-in-law. It is a well known fact (and became a huge family joke) that Bob was not a fan of cats. My niece, Miley always made sure to buy Papaw a cat gift when it came to Christmas or his birthday. Two of the best cat gifts he received were a plush cat toy that meowed and a t-shirt that was covered in every kind of cat.
I like to think that Gus is sitting next to Papaw, purring and enjoying some peace now that he does not have Dublin harassing him. Dublin would make his way up to the front porch a few times a week to bark at Gus and then steal his food. Gus always held his own, but Dublin never lost interest.
Each time I walk past the front door I catch myself looking out for a glimpse of Gus or to check on whether he needs more food. I know that soon I will no longer do that, but he will forever be our "Front Porch Cat".
Ever since Gabby died I have not had my morning escort when it is time to feed the animals, until recently.
Most of my mornings these days, I am greeted by a sleepy cat when I walk onto the back porch. Nugget will lazily stretch, slowly get up from her bed, and then wait for me as I ready myself for the cold air that will blast me in the face as I head out the door.
Nugget has picked up where Gabby left off by staying close to my side while I feed the animals. She follows me out in the snow, will often roll around in it, and check up on me to make sure all is going well. Once I head back to the house she knows that it is time for her to eat and she waits patiently for me to feed the dogs and she will then follow me onto the porch.
Nugget did not always do this and she never did this when the weather was actually warm out; we noticed this sometime at the beginning of January during the freezing weather and snow. Whether she knows it or not, she is doing her best to fill in the void that was left in my heart when Gabby died. Now if only she would start obeying basic commands!
Nugget has had a rough past few months. First she has kittens, then she has surgery so she will not have more kittens, and constantly she has had to deal with Dublin stealing her food.
Yes, not only does Dublin harass poor Gus, but he also does everything he can to eat Nugget's bowl of food before she gets a bite.
I swear, the moment I walk off the porch his big paws are up on the counter and he is sniffing for her bowl. This had to stop and in all my attempts to move Nugget's bowl or try to block Dublin from getting to her bowl, Dublin would always manage to make out with a snack.
The other day I decided to put up a shelf just wide enough for two bowls and a small cat. It is about 5 and a half feet off the floor and requires Nugget to do some jumping (but cats are good at that) and so far has prevented Dublin from finagling a bite of Nugget's meals.
I promise that Dublin is fed and that he is fed well, but I do know he has some stiff competition when it comes to who eats the most. Ellie has always been the first to the food trough and now that Gabby is around (and giving Ellie a run for her money) Dublin has two competitors in the arena.
Hopefully, my shelf solved Nugget's problem, now I will just have to figure out how to make Dublin more protective of his dinner plate.
Nugget was about 8 months old when we realized that she was pregnant. Since we had gotten her as a kitten over the summer, I figured I would have a chance to have her spayed over the winter and avoid kittens.
Well, we ended up having a tiny cat who looked like she had swallowed a volleyball. Nugget was very pregnant and it was my fault for procrastinating.
Nugget had her kittens the last weekend in April 2013. We had been away for the weekend and when we got home Shannon asked if anyone had seen Nugget. "She must have had the kittens because she does not have a belly anymore." Then the search began for the babies and they were found in the basement up on a shelf.
I was able to pick up all 6 of the kittens and bring them upstairs and found them a safer place to sleep. I noticed that they all seemed to be attached and that I basically had a "ball of kittens" in my hands and was unsure how to separate them.
Shannon did a little online research and found that most likely the kittens had tangled umbilical cords. With some patience I was able to cut each kittens cord and found that they had all been wrapped around one poor baby's foot.
Nugget took the kittens back and nursed them, but in the morning the little one with the injured foot had not made it. However, Nugget had 5 healthy babies who were fascinating for RJ and Lily to watch. They wanted to hold the kittens so badly, but I told them that at the beginning they were only allowed to look.
Once the kittens were a couple of weeks old RJ and Lily made a beeline to the basket everyday. The first thing they wanted to do in the morning was hold the kittens and the last thing they wanted to do at night was give them a kiss. RJ and Lily did a great job helping the kittens learn how to become good pets.
When it was time to find homes for the 5 kittens the hearts of 2 children were broken, but they were proud that they helped make these kittens good pets (basically by good natured daily torture).
I made Nugget an appointment to be spayed so that Nugget would not have more babies. Unless you are planning on breeding or keeping the animals for yourself, it is your responsibility as a pet owner to have them spayed or neutered. Nugget's appointment went well, but I found out that Nugget had already gotten herself pregnant again. If I had neglected to get Nugget spayed there would have been more kittens and possibly kittens without homes. So, just like Bob Barker always said, "Get your pets spayed and neutered."
Gus came to live with the Clem Family on a lovely spring day in 2012. His family dropped him off and tried to help him acclimate to his new living situation, but Gus was not happy. Gus had found R.J. and Lily's club house and decided that if he could squeeze under it he would have a perfect hiding place. Sure enough Gus was able to fit and we could not get him out.
Uncle Matt tried very hard to coax Gus out with some treats and he sprayed him with the hose, but Gus would not come out from under the club house. He had found a nice safe place and that was where he was going to stay.
Libby and Shannon worried about Gus daily. It was difficult to see if Gus was still under the club house since it was dark. Weeks would pass and Libby would call Aunt Anne and tell her that she was afraid that Gus might have run away or died, this made Aunt Anne sad. As soon as Libby would relay the unfortunate information about Gus someone would see him run across the yard and quickly scamper under the club house. This charade went on for about three months until one day Gus moved out from under the club house.
Gus must have had enough with the spiders and decided that it would be nice to have one of the Clem family pay attention to him. He relocated from the dark basement locale he had initially chosen to a sunny, breezy, elevated area on the front porch. Gus had made it. Gus was a country cat.
Motherhood can be a lonely place and these days unforgiving. I could not care less about how others feel I am doing as a Momma, as long as my kids are thriving I am good. I do not need to keep up with the activities and parties because I just do not care. However, I do care about how my mom sees me as a Momma, am I doing a good job in her eyes? I know I am, she has told me, so has my dad.
The loneliness of motherhood did not start right away for me, the warm fuzzies of having an infant put them at bay for a while. The loneliness for me started when I finally went back to work. I spend the day teaching high school students and come home where I do not get a chance to stop.
There are days where all I want is five minutes of silence, but I never get that five minutes. There are days where all I want is for all the household chores to be finally caught up, but we know that will never happen. There are days I wish I could just go off on my own for a day or two, but then I realize how much I would miss my kids and husband. There are days I wish I was not constantly needed, but I am thankful that my children come to me for their needs. There are many days that I get tired of hearing 'Momma' yelled over and over, once is enough; I heard you the first time. There are days where all I want is one 'thank you', but I never get that 'thank you'.
Mom, I know that one day this loneliness will go away and it will be filled with a different kind of loneliness, but I now understand how much you did and sacrificed and gave. I see some of my students and know that I was so lucky to have you as a mom, just like my kids are so lucky to have me. You were selfless. You did what had to be done to be a good mom even when it took away from your wants and needs. I know I did not appreciate what you did back when I was younger, but I do now and I am so thankful for you.