So most of you know that last August, we took in a stray calico, and said calico had three kittens.
Two of those kittens were spoken for before they were even born.
The third, we kept.
Calli (short for Calliope, and the stray Mama) is an absolutely sweet angel – provided Mom’s cat Gracie is not involved. Gracie is a spitfire, and kind of has illusions of grandeur for a small breed. She’s a grey tabby striped Singapura mix, so far as we can tell. Her eyes are a giveaway, after all – that and her love of getting on the highest thing in a room in order to survey her domain, like a fluffy striped vulture. (For reference, and I might be dating myself here, but think of Snoopy doing the vulture-glare.) Calli, having had to fend for herself, is ALSO a spitfire, and a fighter, while Gracie’s life began with back and leg problems.
If they both had claws, they’d probably kill each other; Gracie is fully declawed, Calli is front-declawed. Midnight (also fully declawed) stays out of things and just glares at the “babies”. She would have made a wonderful mother, if she could have had kittens. Not that she doesn’t Mother Gracie…
Sassy, Calli’s kitten that we kept, has yet to go in for her Surgery Day – Spay/Declaw.
Now, before I get raged at for daring to declaw, Gracie and Midnight (another stray with health issues early in life) are my mother’s cats. My mother is on Plavix. Plavix + Claws = A LOT of blood. We could of course have turned Midnight (a 5-week-old kitten rescued from a dumpster because her mother abandoned her for having lung problems) and Gracie (born with a bad spine, and without Mom exercising her back legs, would never have walked), and Chewy (my cat, has claws that I keep up with; I got him years before moving back with my mother, and who has a nasal condition that put him at a point of being put down if I didn’t take him… if I declawed him now, at ~10 years old, it would just be mean… so I’m careful to keep up, and even then, sometimes he still manages to catch Mom just the wrong way), and Calli (a pregnant cat who showed up on our front deck, starving and begging for food and love) away and let them die or be put down instead of living full and happy lives as spoiled feline gods. We chose to take them in.
All of our cats are strictly indoor cats. The most “Outside” they get is harnessed and leashed, and they occasionally come out on the front deck, with humans in immediate attendance. (Well, harnessed and leashed other than Chewy, who, though the DUMBEST cat I’ve ever known, never offers to stray from the deck, leashed, harnessed or not.)
Calli actually belongs to my niece and nephew-to-be; once they have their own place, they will take her, which will resolve the Gracie-Calli conflict.
Until then, we have to keep them separated.
For a while (during pregnancy), Calli lived her days in a cage in the living room. Heh. Cage. Ferret Cage rigged with a complex of boxes and hallways so she had an apartment. In the evenings, when Gracie, Midnight and Chewy were shut away into their respective rooms, Calli got her roaming and play time before being put in the guest room overnight. When the kittens were born, they all lived in the apartment, and Calli was brought to the guest room for play time and “OMG GET ME AWAY FROM THESE SQUEAKING HUNGRY THINGS” time, for a couple of hours interspersed through the day. When the kittens got bigger, they were all moved to the guest room.
After the boys (the two spoken for kittens) had gone to their forever homes, Calli and Sassy continued to dominate the guest room. When Sassy was big enough, we let her out. Gracie didn’t think much of this. Midnight didn’t think too much of it until she realized “Oh.. I don’t have to be Mom to this one? Okay, whatever.” Chewy didn’t care, other than it was small, moved and whapped him on the head when it passed by him so fast he didn’t see it until it was across the room.
We thought, once the kittens were big, that Calli would be less aggressive, no longer pregnant or in “Menacing Mommy Mode”.
There’s LESS of a head-to-head, but not by much. Gracie is older “weak”, and Calli thinks she needs to be Alpha, being younger. Midnight would roll her eyes if she could, and Chewy doesn’t care.
Most of the time, Calli spends in the guest room. When Mom goes to bed around 4, she takes Gracie and Midnight with her, and Calli and Sassy get their time out. Sassy is also often out during the day, and while Gracie still doesn’t think much of the new addition, she doesn’t attack. Midnight kind of sighs and rolls her eyes, and Chewy doesn’t care.
And then.. late last week, Sassy started giving us signs she was going into heat. Usually, we spay/declaw at 6 months. Things have been so hectic that we actually lost track of when 6 months was.
Calli began to attack Sassy. And my sleep went out the window.
Sassy had to be kept separated from Calli, and both Mom’s cats. Chewy, being neutered, didn’t care.. but Sassy started laying on the courtship, sending Chewy hiding. So THEY had to be separated.
To keep “omg animal cruelty omg” to a minimum, cats were in constant shift. Sassy stayed out overnight, Calli continued to sleep in the guest room, Gracie and Midnight continued to stay in Mom’s room over night, and … Chewy stayed in my room, but with my door open, so I could hear Sassy’s cries and make sure she had company and comfort.
Thus began the old “Kitten Watch” schedule. When Calli was due, I stayed up over night to keep an eye on her, and Mom kept watch during the day. I stayed up from the time Mom went to bed until she gets up in the morning, and slept when Mom was up.
Until we can get Sassy to the vet, we have to keep a close eye on her, and if she goes back into heat, my days and nights get reversed once again.
With luck, they will have an appointment open for her soon, and by that time, Mom will be used to new pain meds (but that is another story, and will be told another time).
Of course.. that means I’ll be on Kitten Watch (the name I have given my overnight vigil schedule) once more, to make sure miss Sassy-pants doesn’t pull stitches or do stupid things during her recovery.
The one ray of hope I have, is that hopefully, during her recovery, Sassy will not try to play with the glittery, shiny things I’m trying to work on. She’s already taken apart a half-finished wind-chime, and I had to dig a wrapped stone pendant out from under the china cabinet. From tiny-kittenhood, she has been one of those magpie types, prone to steal and walk off with things. If she’s groggy and recovering from surgery, maybe it will calm her down so I can get something done during Kitten Watch hours!