Over the years many cats have called me Mamma. I hand-raised one when I was 18 from 4 weeks old, Josephine, and she lived to be 22. I haven’t stopped since.
A number of years ago, I lost 2 cats to road accidents within days of each other, and now all my cats (5 of them) are safe inside. My oldest two are now 17 and 19, and my younger cats are 7, 6.5 and 6, and have never been outside. They are happy playing indoors and watching my bird feeder from the window. Lots of toys and games keeps them active. We have loads of different birds that come to the feeders year round and we put suet out for them in the winter.
The current crew are:
Maggie, 19 (pictured above)
I’ve had her since she was 6 years old. She was severely abused by her owner after his son left to live with his mother. She did not even know she was a cat and was in constant hiding for almost a year. She had been kept in a closet. Over the years, she has slowly become the most affectionate and devoted of cats, although she never did learn to groom herself so we do help her with that … or maybe she just likes the extra attention? Maggie is a tabby.
Danae came to me from the OSPCA shelter. We went to look for a dog and came home with Danae. She was about a year old. She had been abandoned outside in the winter and she lost her ears and the tip of her tail to frostbite. She is very vocal. She is also a sweet girl, very affectionate and snuggly. Her favourite thing is to watch the birds and talk to them. Maggie was recently diagnosed with heart disease. Since she has been on medication she has regained much of her activity level. We are very thankful. Danae is a tuxedo cat.
Hunter, 7.5 years old
We lost Maximus and Francis on the road, and only had our two old ladies. Francis in particular had always been a hunter of mice. I told myself “God will send me another hunter.” And sure enough come spring, Hunter arrived all skinny and frightened at my door. She was about 6-7 months old. We gave her a bath and brought her to the vet… she was pregnant! How exciting! Kittens! We had not had kittens in decades. I didn’t even think it was possible for her to bear them as she was so tiny, but she had 4. We found homes for three of them, but kept the runt for her as she is so devoted to him. (His name’s Raven). Hunter is the shyest of my cats, but she is extremely attached to my husband. She does not come to me often but may almost always be found sitting on or near him. Hunter is the only one small enough to get through the cat barrier into the library. This is now permitted, which is just as well, as there is no stopping her. Hunter is a black domestic shorthair with a little white chest spot. She still snuggles her kitten and mothers him.
Raven is Hunter’s kitten. He is as big as she is tiny. She weighs about 7-8 pounds and he weighs 23! He is one huge cat, with a matching heart and personality. He’s the only one that is overweight, although he is, even at that weight, not obese. He is lazy, though. He is bird watching fan number two. He has also adopted Barry as his person. Raven love love loves boxes… any box big or small. He gets into a box and it is HIS. No matter the size he will somehow squeeze into it. He has the tiniest little meow for such a big boy. Raven likes to put his kibble into the water dish then fish it out with his paw and eat it. Raven is also a black short haired cat. His white spot is in his left armpit.
Gaia is my precious. I know “no favourites” is the rule, but she is more daughter than cat to me. I hand-raised her from birth. She was abandoned by her mother on my freezing cold garage floor along with a sibling that did not survive. I made a pouch for her out of two t-shirts sewn together and I wore her wherever I went for almost six months. It was my choice to stop wearing the kitten pouch, or she would be there yet. She is rarely out of my sight. She is love personified. She came to me at a time that was emotionally very difficult for me and she saved me as much as I saved her. There are not enough superlatives to describe Gaia. Gaia is birdwatcher number 3. Gaia loves high places. Top of the book cases, on the fridge on top of the china cabinet… Gaia sleeps with me and is also my food taster. Gaia is also a black domestic short hair with a secret white dot on her chest and a little patch of white on her lower belly. She has the clearest green eyes and silken fur.
The old ladies do love the catnip toys, especially Danae. The favourite one for the black cats is an interactive flying feather toy. I sweep it about and they take turns catching it. They are very respectful of whose turn it is. I keep a box of toys out at all times and any cat can take the toy they want and play. They also play together with and without toys. I move different toys through the box. I also have a garden window in the kitchen which is sort of forbidden territory but since it is temptingly close to the bird feeders outside, well cats have been known to venture in there.
I learned my lesson the hard way, and if this blog helps one cat owner avoid the tragedy of losing their cat to a car accident, I will be happy.
— Martha Franklin, Happy Safe Cat Owner