Our development is located in a farming town which, although large in terms of square miles, is still small in population. It has no shelters or foster groups and Animal Control refuses to deal with cats. We have heard that according to some state or county code, anyone who feeds a cat for more than six days becomes legally responsible for it, however I haven’t found were that is written yet.
On October 11th, 2006, my wife and I went out for an early evening stroll around the neighborhood. A couple blocks from our house, in the dim light, I could see four small, very skinny kittens laying low in the graveled front-yard of a vacant house. Feeling concerned, my wife went to knock on doors while I kept watch. Although some of the neighbors had seen them hanging around for days, no one knew to whom they belonged or did anything to help them.
We felt that it wasn’t right to just walk away and leave them there, and we wondered about their mother. Just then, she appeared several houses down walking toward us. She stopped at an open garbage can and sniffed it for food. Her legs were so thin and her belly was bloated.
My wife ran home and brought back some cans of food. The mother was tame and hungrily ate her fill. But the kittens weren’t. So, I sat very still until a couple of them were brave enough to approach the food. Once they were eating, I could touch them. But, only if they didn’t look up.
We went home and came back to that same spot at 4:30 A.M. when all was quiet. Only this time we brought a large pet carrier and placed the food inside. It took awhile before all four kittens felt safe enough to enter at the same time and eat. Then, we simply closed the door and took them home. We named the momma Daisy and the kittens Frankie, Johnny, Tippy & Jack.
After that night, we ceased our evening strolls through the neighborhood.
Daisy was very protective of her boys at first, but after they reached a certain age, she would no longer let them near her. That didn’t stop Johnny from trying for a long time though. Now, she just quietly bat-bat-bats at any cat that gets too close.
Frankie was named after Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Together with his brother Johnny, they are “Frankie and Johnny” – you know, like the song?
Frankie is the most got-to-have-it-now cat I’ve ever known. If you have a bowl of cereal or are holding a glass of milk, he’s just got to have it now. You have to watch him every second or he will reach up and try to tip your glass while you’re holding it.
If you have a plate of food, he’ll quietly move in very close and oh-so-slowly reach out and gingerly hook a piece of meat with one claw. It’s funny to watch.
Johnny was named after the 1958 song “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, although in hind sight, I suppose we should have named him “Johnny B. Bad” because he sure is a mischief maker. For example, if you open any kind of bottle and don’t carefully guard the cap, it will disappear in seconds. If you ignore him when he wants attention, he’ll nip you on the leg. Sometimes he reminds me of Dennis-The-Menace. But, we don’t call him a monster, instead we say “you’re such a Johnster!”
He loves to play with water (I guess he never got the memo about cats hating water). Since his momma, Daisy, won’t let him cuddle-up with her anymore, Johnny will cuddle-up with anyone else who will tolerate him. He’s quite the character.
Tippy is somewhat timid and shy. When you pet him, he rolls repeatedly from side to side. He has a very cute “meow.” He drops the “ow” sound, so it comes out “mie.” We named him Tippy because he has a white bulls-eye on the tip of his tail.
Jack is a hard one to predict. Sometimes he’s a trouble maker like his brother Johnny. Sometimes he is timid like his brother Tippy. He loves to chase the red laser-pointer dot in circles until he’s totally dizzy.