July 11, 2011

The people who live across the street from us have a wonderful little black and white cat named Marilyn, who is frequently in our yard.

She’s about two years old. She was a kitten, playing in our flower bed, during the first days of spring in 2010. I remember smiling at her antics when I took Dot outside to look at the flowers and experience the outdoors in small bits. Perhaps because I associate Marilyn with these memories, I’m very fond of her.

She is skinny as a rail, even when she’s pregnant. They’ve told us they feed her, but I’ve seen her eat and there is nothing wrong with that appetite. Mama cats shouldn’t be that skinny, especially when they supposedly belong to people.

She has now brought two litters of kittens over to live in our shed/garage. We have fed them, and became especially attached to this last litter of three. We defended them from roving raccoons (ever see a large family of raccoons out after dark? They’re damned scary buggers), played with them, and (heaven help me) named them Luna, Lilah, and Linus. We’ve been watching as their mama started to teach them to hunt, and had started to ask around to find homes for them. I’ve also been investigating places to get not-cripplingly-expensive vaccines and spaying and neutering services.

Last week, three of the kids who sometimes live across the street came into our yard, grabbed the kittens, and took them, squirming and clawing, back to their house. We haven’t seen them since. With the last litter, they gave two of the kittens away when they were just a few weeks old, and then they tried to separate Marilyn from her remaining kitten (named Pitch) while still letting the kitten roam the neighborhood. Not surprisingly, little Pitch disappeared.

So, after weeks and weeks of watching to make sure all three of this current litter were accounted for every morning, after running out in the dark to help Marilyn defend the garage, after watching Dot play with them by wiggling long pieces of grass at them until they pounce, I’m worried, and cranky. And, since Marilyn isn’t ours in any legal sense, I don’t have much recourse except to wait for a chance to ask one of the parents across the street what is up. I’ve seen Marilyn around, but unfortunately I don’t speak cat fluently enough to ask her if her kittens are still together and okay.

I am biding my time to catch little Marilyn and get her fixed and vaccinated. I know it’s ethically sketchy – she’s not my cat – but pets aren’t disposable. You don’t just replace one summer’s cute kitten with the next summer’s cute kitten. (I once ended a friendship because my friend abandoned a cat. Do I take sort of thing too seriously? Maybe.) And little mama needs a break. But my biggest motivation right now is that I’m more emotionally exhausted than I should be from trying to make sure that no more babies (yes, I know) die on my watch.



  1. I don’t think you take these sorts of things too seriously at all. I’ve been known to do the same. I just can’t turn away from an animal in need. And I think with the weight of babyloss forever on our shoulders, this really accentuates things as well.
    I think you’re doing the right thing and I know I’d do the same. Keep us all posted.

  2. No… it’s not taking it too serious. It’s your neighbours not taking the life in their hands seriously enough. That was my take on it even before loosing my son. I lived with a previously battered and abandoned cat for a decade (he really never became quite “normal” although he was the most sweet tempered cat ever) and I my heart still hurts by the thought of them who don’t end up in a loving home but has to live their lives like that. On the other hand I’m also the one who puts my current cat’s nose into a breathing masque every morning to avoid having to treat his asthma with pills that might hurt his internal organs (it takes 15 seconds a day and he’s “happy-go-lucky” and as long as it’s not more problematic I let him live) so I guess I’m kind of a crazy catlady after all πŸ˜‰

    Hi by the way. I found your blog from another blog and like reading about someone “further along” in the greiving process

  3. And I see that for some reason my address doesn’t appear with my signature. It’s http://www.lighteningstrikestwice.wordpress.com

    And reading more I see we in some small way share the same ancestory – although I am of those who were left in the old country and still live there… But with time I think we have become more emotional πŸ™‚

    • Hi! It’s nice to hear from you, and I’m very happy if anything I’ve written here helps make you feel less alone. Those first few months of grief can be so hard and lonely.

      I’ve just been reading your blog, and I’m so sorry to hear about your beautiful Aleksas. Your story about his name is so beautiful that I’m still crying over it a little.

  4. Poor mama kitty. We had neighborhood cats who were constantly having new litters of kittens. With one, who was a stray and so different than the kitty you are talking about, we trapped it and took it to the SPCA for free neutering. Are there any humane societies that have this service around you?

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