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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Knocked Up

About six months later I was in the front room teaching a drama lesson to a group of students.All of a sudden one of the little girls who had finished her lesson and was waiting to be picked up by her mother came tearing in.
“Mrs. W! You need to come quickly! There’s something wrong with your cat! I think it’s sick!”

Interrupting my lesson I ran outside to investigate the state of affairs. The cat was undeniably acting in a very abnormal manner. Rolling around on its back and wailing in a horrible and uncharacteristic caterwaul it appeared to be having some sort of seizure. 

“Hey Kitty, what’s the matter?” I tried to calm the frenzied creature.

She leapt up and began to rub her stomach on the ground, waving her bottom and tail high in the air and yowling like an alpine yodeler. By this stage all of my students had come out and we stood helplessly watching her writhing in what seemed to be agonizing pain.

I was wondering about whether or not to put the cat in the car and make an emergency trip to the vet, when a mother arrived to pick up her daughter, got out of her car and came over.
“That cat is in season.” she confidently asserted.

Oh, I thought. She’s not in pain; she’s just behaving like a slut.

I returned to my studio with the highly amused students believing that I could deal with Pussy Galore later. After ten minutes another student barged in shouting,

“Mrs. W! Your cat is running down the street with three other cats chasing it!”

I have to say that my students got more than their money’s worth that day.

Nine weeks later the cat was lumbering around like a baby hippopotamus and ready to drop her bundle any day. My kids were overwrought with excitement and taking bets on exactly how many kittens she would have.

The cat appeared one morning loudly mewing for food. 

She was thin. 

After the ‘cannibal mice’ incident it crossed my mind that she may have eaten her babies.

Either that or she’d delivered them in the bush land opposite our house and had abandoned them to be devoured by snakes.

Hagar immediately coordinated a search party scouting out every inch of the yard. 

“Found them!” he screamed joyfully after about an hour of thorough exploration.

She had delivered her kittens behind overgrown shrubbery in our pool enclosure. One by one Hagar ferried a tiny parcel of fluff out to us. There were five altogether, one for each of the kids to name and cherish. 

For a little while at least. 

Hagar was the most enamoured of his furry friend naming it ‘Pubit’ (don’t ask) and vowing to teach it circus tricks when it grew up a bit.

Watching the five ravenous kittens greedily gnawing on her teats and constantly vying for her attention brought back some uncomfortable memories and I think I actually bonded with the cat that day.

Extracting loveable, six week old kittens from the tenacious clutches of my distraught, sobbing children and sending them off to good homes was no easy feat. 

I had her ‘fixed up’ at the vet after that. She had an operation to remove an abscess a few years later that cost me $600. If I added all the years of vaccinations, worming treatments and food and shelter on to that, I guess she wasn’t such a bargain cat after all.

The moral of the story is – Don’t count your kittens until they are hatched.