COLUMNISTS

Little furry survivor finds way into Susan's home (and heart)

Susan Manzke
So, this crazy cat lady has a new addition. Good thing it is only one and not five.

When my barn cat had kittens this past August, I didn’t expect them to survive. She’s Car-E’s mother and not a very good one. I mean she left Car-E in the wheel well of my car when she abandoned him.

The five she had arrived one stormy night on my front porch. She immediately took them to a more secure location. Six weeks later, one by one, they hopped back on my porch for supper with their mom. Too soon, one by one they started to disappear again.

I asked people to adopt one or two to help them out. A few thought about it but no one showed up here to take one home.

No way could I adopt 5 kittens … 4 kittens … 3 … When only one was left I grabbed it and brought it into the house.

This kitten has no name. I’m not sure if it is male or female and I’m not guessing. When Car-E first came to me as a rescued kitten it was suggested he was female. The vet informed me that guess was wrong. Car-E is male, now a neutered male.

An appointment has been made for my new adoptee with the vet but not until November 22. Because it may have health issues (worms and/or fleas) I have to keep it separated from Car-E and Cruella. This is exactly what I had to do when I adopted Car-E.

My new charge is confined to my small downstairs bathroom. The door is closed so there is no sharing of the cat box or food. Only I can go inside to use the facilities, making sure no cat escapes or enters.

Most days Cruella spends 90% of her time upstairs. She has a cozy corner under a dresser where she sleeps.

Car-E roams the house. One minute he’ll be upstairs bugging Cruella, the next he wants to check out the basement. A little while ago Car-E was outside the bathroom door, trying to figure out what or who was in there mewing.

The lone survivor of the latest batch of kittens has luckily been invited into the Manzke farmhouse.

I had to relearn how to tend to a kitten. The little guy has to eat multiple times a day, not just breakfast and supper as the adult cats do. Small dabs of food go into its bowl midday, noon, and midafternoon. To get this past the other pets, including Sunny, I have to be fast opening the door. All my critters would eat at these mealtimes, too, but of course, that would not be good for them. They have their own diets after all.

Just a short time ago, I was holding my new kitten. I forgot Car-E was lounging in the kitchen. Without knowing it I took it close to Car-E. The big cat walked across the table but didn’t notice the little furball in my arms.

When the little guy mewed, Car-E backed up in shock, knocking things to the floor. It was quite a sight to see the shock on his face. For Car-E the kitten could have been an alien from outer space.

Another time, when it was just me, the kitten, and Sunny my dog, I brought them closer together. The kitten hissed as Sunny backed away. The dog’s expression said, “Oh no, not another cat!”

Good thing for all my cats, inside or outside, Sunny mostly ignores them. He never chases cats. The most he’ll do is to snatch a cat treat off the floor before a cat can devour it.

So, this crazy cat lady has a new addition. Good thing it is only one and not five. I do wish those other four had found forever inside homes. The life of a barn cat can be a short one. My three adult barn cats have been here for many years. I feed them morning and evening. Hoping they are ready to keep the mouse population down.

The new kitten purrs and cuddles, making its adoption here an easy one.

Now I have to find a name for it. Send a note or an email with your suggestions. I will decide on one after the visit to the vet.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.