Tag Archive | Cats

Kittenmania!

A Bakers Dozen of Cats

April 13, 2021

One of the things I look forward to each week is getting ‘show prep’ from my favorite Disc Jockey who also happens to be my brother. He sends interesting and humorous facts and events in advance of each Tuesday, providing me fun ideas for the particular date I need.

This week he shared the following for today, April 13. He writes:

“1969: An Australian Siamese cat named Blue Danielle had 13 kittens. It’s no longer a record, but it deserves honorable mention. The purring alone must have driven everyone crazy.”

Which got me wondering, what WAS the largest litter of kittens ever born?

When you really, really love kittens. Son and daughter with kittens Winky and Peop.

The record was set the very next year when a four year old Burmese cat named Taragone Antigone produced 19 kittens. Unfortunately, only 15 survived (14 males, one  female). I gleaned this information from a website called The Nest which also stated “Clementine, a mixed domestic shorthair gave birth to 15 (11 survived) in New York in 1976, and that same year a Siamese named Tikatoo had a litter of 15 in Canada.” (see link below)

The Infallible Wikipedia does not list the information on the largest litters, but helpfully details the, ahem, mating habits of felines. Perhaps the most interesting fact in that regard is this:

“Because ovulation is not always triggered by a single mating, females may not be impregnated by the first male with which they mate. Furthermore, cats are super fecund that is, a female may mate with more than one male when she is in heat, with the result that different kittens in a litter may have different fathers.”

Another interesting aspect is that cats are known to give birth to as many as three litters a year. With litters averaging from 3 to 9 kittens, it doesn’t take long to be overrun by cats. I should know.

My family’s kitten adventures began in December 1998 when our one and half year old cat, Purr, went into heat. It was a conscious decision on my part to let the cat do this as I knew that having a batch of kittens was highly desired, especially by my then 5 year old daughter.

As Purr’s big day approached, the excitement in the house grew. Then, one morning late in February 1999, the process began. Much to my daughter’s delight, she got to witness the birth event and immediately bonded with all four of the kittens.

Purr in the ‘nest’ my daughter prepared for her. The kittens were born shortly after.

It didn’t take long for each cat’s personality to shine through and the four were named: Kinky – the lone male – named for the crook in his tail; Winky – who had one eye which blinked independent of the other; Phantom – who had a half dark, half light face; and, finally, People Cat – so named because of her propensity to climb out of the box and love on whatever person was there.

Kittenmania took over. The cats lived in our large laundry room, kept inside by a baby gate once they started roaming. But soon they were all over the house and, especially, upstairs in the playroom or the kids’ rooms.

Since keeping five cats was not an option, at five weeks I’d moved fully into ‘find them a home’ mode but not before promising that we would keep ‘one’ of the kittens. My targets for people to adopt them were classmates of the kids and soon Winky left to be loved by a third grade girl and her family.

Phantom, it turned out, was not the right cat for us. She was afraid of everything: loud noises, sudden movement, and the other cats. Sudden incontinence was the response to these factors, so she needed a calm environment with an understanding owner. Her salvation was the veterinary assistant.

It looked as though Kinky would be our cat as my son’s teacher, Mrs. B., was all set to adopt Peop (as we had started calling her). But when Mrs. B’s husband objected, the adoption was off. I was secretly glad as Peop had become my personal assistant, supervising whenever I worked at my desk, and I wanted to keep her.

So our little family of three cats was set. Or so I thought.

One day in early April I had an appointment to have Mama Purr spayed. Then the unthinkable happened. She escaped the house and was gone for 24 hours. The last time that happened…

Purr looking beautiful and irresistible to the eligible bachelors

Yep. She was pregnant once again.

Purr got bigger and bigger and soon we were anxiously awaiting the new arrivals. She rejected Peop and Kinky (something which was true for the rest of her days) who moved upstairs to hang with the family and Purr stayed downstairs as she began the process of nesting once again.

Unfortunately, I had an out of town conference which took me away at the critical moment. With Grandma and Grandpa there to watch the kids we were all set.

Then on day two of the conference, a flurry of emails from my nine year old son announced the kittens’ arrival.

Peop helping the author with editing.

“Mom,” the first email proclaimed, “Purr has four kittens!”

I noticed a string of emails from him and clicked open the second, then the third, fourth and fifth emails.

“Now there are five!”

“Mom – there are six kittens!”

“Now there are seven!”

My stomach dropped as I counted three more emails in the thread. How many kittens did Purr just have? What were we going to do with all those kittens?!

I open the next email.

“Purr has eight kittens!” the email happily proclaimed.

It took every ounce of courage to open the next one.

“That’s all.”

I let out a shudder. While eight would be hard to manage I was thankful it had ended there.

Kinky wanted to be king of the household but Purr never let him usurp her throne.

When I arrived home the next day I found a moving mass of cats in the laundry room. Purr looked oh so pleased with herself.

Soon the reality of having ELEVEN cats in the house took over. The litter box for Mama and babies required cleaning every two hours. I took old vinyl tablecloths and turned them upside down in the laundry room to keep the carpet (who puts carpet in a laundry room? Asking for a friend) from getting urine soaked. Our house smelled like a cattery. Probably because it was.

When our niece came to visit, the kids ‘introduced’ her to the new kittens – three of which are shown here.

That summer all we did was manage cats and eventually were able to find homes for the crew, much to Purr’s dismay. And Purr? That randy lady did make it to the vet (as did Peop and Kinky) so that future, possibly record breaking, litters of kittens would not happen.

But had I known then that the record was 19 I totally think Purr could have broken it. Then she would have been famous and I would have had a nervous breakdown. It probably worked out for the best.

A couple of links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat

https://pets.thenest.com/record-number-kittens-born-one-litter-8346.html

National Cleaning Week

March 24, 2020

Americans spend, on average, six hours a week doing this? With the recent pandemic, however, the amount of time may be even greater. What is it?

Grumpy cat vacuum

Cleaning their house.

The last Sunday in March marks the beginning of National Cleaning Week. While the origins of this week are not entirely clear, the term ’spring cleaning ‘ is common and for our pioneer ancestors involved many back breaking tasks. One was the removing the stuffing of one’s mattresses, washing the cover, and then refilling it.  It does not take much imagination to envision how those beds may have smelled or what sorts of critters also used them when they were only changed every six months.

In fact every inch of the pioneer home was scrubbed into submission with the cleansing of curtains and bed sheets, the scrubbing of all walls and floors, the polishing of stoves, and the cleaning out of drawers and cupboards.

For many people, the task of cleaning is onerous. While a full time, live in housekeeper and even maids was once common for a wealthy household and even upper middle class ones; today’s American middle class has embraced the weekly or every other week, house cleaner. This is especially true for those where a job outside the house takes up the majority of daylight hours or the physical demands of cleaning are not possible.

Rather than quoting from the Infallible Wikipedia, the National Day’s Calendar shares this advice on how to ‘celebrate’ National Cleaning Week:

“Clean. The folks at Home Team have these recommendations to make cleaning week less intimidating: Tackle one room at a time, start from the top and work down, dusting ceiling fans door moldings and window tops. Don’t be afraid to move furniture. Donate to (a) thrift store those things you gather when you clean out closets, basements and storage space.”

Hmmm… that sounds a lot like what the pioneers did. With the exception of thrift stores.

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have had housekeepers to help me stay on top of cleaning. I’ll never forget the first… the hubby and I had recently purchased a 1910 fixer upper in West Seattle. We were both working full time and this housekeeper was recommended to us.

I imagine this woman took one look at me and thought (not incorrectly) that I was a snotty 24 year old who knew nothing. So she shows up on week one and tells me HER rules. I could live with her rules since I really, really wanted her to clean the house so I didn’t have to. Especially the bathrooms. Did you know that for 52 percent of people that’s the most dreaded task? But I digress.

When she arrives, she is thrilled to learn that we have a cat. His name was Porsche. She immediately picks up Porsche to pet and cuddle him. Then it’s time for me to leave for work, so I put the cat outside. This sparks a conversation as now said housekeeper is upset that Porsche has to be outside for the day. I explain to her that he is the worst thing that ever happened to furniture and point out our badly damaged, and fairly new, couch which has been shredded by cat claws.

I leave for work. When I return later that afternoon, I do discover a cleaned house… and the cat is inside. Upon examination, I also discover that the new housekeeper has given Porsche a pedi.

In a subsequent conversation with her she refused to not cut the cats claws and refused to leave the cat outside per our instructions. I think we had the housekeeper for some three weeks before it was back to no housekeeper.

I’ve had others over the years. My favorite was a woman named Karen who only worked for people who appreciated her. She helped me when my children were little and I just couldn’t keep up with everything. One day she said to me that she liked coming to our house because she felt like her services were very much needed! Hah! Yes, I was truly a horrible housekeeper.

Now that I’m older, I don’t worry quite so much about having the house spotless and neither does my current housekeeper. She is, actually, rather lazy. I never quite know when she might show up and clean the dreaded bathrooms or mop the hardwoods. It’s very hit and miss. Eventually, she gets it done even if she grouses about how her back hurts, or she sits for a while, claiming she needs her frequent breaks.

These past couple of weeks with ‘social distancing’ edicts has really thrown my world into a tizzy. My lazy housekeeper says she won’t come in to clean and has instead declared that she’s staying at her own home to watch Hallmark movies, read trashy romance novels, and eat Bon Bons.

Lazy housekeepingSo it’s back to me having to clean the house once again. The hubby pulls out the vacuum when it gets bad. And I’m on constant vigil for signs that the bathrooms need attention. But a funny thing has happened with being forced to stay home. I’ve gotten through a number of boxes of stuff which needed sorting. I’m catching up on some mending projects. I’ve gotten the hubby to take on the task of fixing the barbecue table and plan to have him help me hang a few pictures and a display cabinet I brought back from my Dad’s house.

All in all, The Great Quarantine of 2020 and National Cleaning Week, have coalesced into the week when – I’m pretty sure – households all across the nation are at the Zenith of being clean.

Cats, however, cannot figure out what the fuss is all about. They wrote the book on social distancing and being clean… experts at staying six feet away, only interacting with their favored family members, and spending hours licking their fur clean. Just don’t trim their nails.

Our most dreaded of cleaning tasks:

  • cleaning the bathroom (52 percent)
  • kitchen cleaning (23 percent)
  • dusting (21 percent)
  • mopping (20 percent)
  • doing the laundry (17 percent)