Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stray Cats

In years past, hobos left marks on fenceposts to communicate with each other. A drawing of a cat would indicate a good woman who was willing to share food with a hungry traveller. I often wonder if animals do the same. You see, my house is a magnet for strays. It could have something to do with the rural location, but it also happened when we lived in a suburban apartment. No, I am convinced that we have been "marked".

Over the last 20 years, we have adopted a total of 11 cats and 6 dogs. About half of our pets came from the local shelter and the rest were strays. Sometimes you get strays with benefits, i.e. pregnant cats. Our very first stray cat presented us with four kittens. We kept two and gave two to my mother-in-law. One of those came back to us later. Today, the animal count is 5 cats and 2 dogs.

We had been feeding a stray cat for several months. A few weeks ago, she decided that she trusted us enough to come inside and meet the rest of the family. On Saturday, we took her to the vet for a check-up and vaccinations. The vet said she's healthy and should deliver in about 4 weeks. Yes, another stray with benefits.

Our son is ecstatic. The little furballs haven't even made an appearance yet and he's already asking if we can keep one. He must have shared the news with some of his classmates, because he told us that several of them wanted a kitten. I might make a deal with him... he can keep one if he will help find homes for the rest.

It's a good thing that I like cats.