I woke with an earache. It will subside when the allergy meds kick in. It stormed last night and everything is wet outside, making me loathe to go out yet. I had to, though. Martha, the boy cat, has been up to his old shenanigans.
Martha was named for my bestie, Martha. She used to camp here and still is my favorite sounding board. One weekend we were bemoaning the fact that none of our children had named a granddaughter after us. We would have been okay with a middle name. Seems like most daughters will honor their dads with a grandson bearing their name, but somehow the mothers are overlooked.
Martha had gone to meet her newest granddaughter the weekend that the tiny scrap of fur was scooped up in the front end loader. The men were clearing some debris on a site to be and when they lifted the bucket, it fell to the ground. The men (HeWho was not among them, off on a tow call I think) all removed their shirts (revealing bodily attributes best left unseen) and wrapped the tiny piece of fur into a sort of wad. Rushing into my office, proclaiming "I think it might die!!", they offered the bundle to me.
Inside was a tiny kitten whose eyes had recently opened. The fall literally knocked the poop out of him and I suppose poop is where men who will touch just about any nasty thing draw the line. I asked why all the shirts were swaddling such a tiny thing and the answer was that he was covered in poop and that maybe he needed to stay warm. It was hot out and he was apparently abandoned in the underbrush and still alive ….
I handed back all the shirts, even the poopy one and took the tiny kitten inside to bathe it, then dry it. Little eyes watched me the entire time. I happened to have a tiny bottle with a tiny nipple from a tiny squirrel I once rescued and some powdered puppy formula. I mixed up a bottle and swaddled the kitten so he would not use his tiny claws on my hand while he suckled the bottle. He could fit in the palm of my hand then.
All day long the men would come in to check on their find. As word got around, everyone was coming in to see the miracle kitten and hold him. He was all nice and clean, after all. Every man in the park flipped the kitten over for a good look at his under carriage and assured me that it was a female. So, I named the kitten Martha. To "honor" my friend.
Martha had to be fed every two hours and scores of oohing and ahhing little girls would come in to watch me feed the kitten named Martha. They would proclaim their undying love and devotion of the kitten and beg to take him home. I am allergic to cats, but that has never stopped me from having them around.
I would tell the girls that he would have to be fed every two hours, day and night and they would assure me that they would do that. (Okay, I lied, I did not get up with the cat every two hours. I fed him before I tucked in for the night and he would sleep in his little box for 6 hours before he got fed again). But, what little girls did not know is that what goes in must come out and the reason the mama cat is so diligent about cleaning her babies is that they will not poop or pee without that stimulation. When I showed them step 2 of caring for kitties without mamas, they all decided that Martha should stay with me.
Just as well, I suppose. Having an animal poop and pee in your hand must be some kind of earthy bonding ritual, because Martha is definitely my cat. As his eyes grew bigger, so did he and he would stare straight into mine while he sucked away at his bottle. I fell in love, of course. The day Martha bit the nipple off the bottle, we had a long chat about eating and other things that happen. I filled a flat Chinese food container with litter (I keep litter on hand for the ashtrays outside) and poured his formula in a bowl mixed with dry food. I told him which container was used for which purpose and left him in his cardboard home while I went about my business. He accomplished his feeding and bathroom duties on the first try.
Martha grew into a frisky kitten and loved to follow me around outside. I admit that I was worried about all the traffic in and out of our park and his tiny stature. But, Martha seemed to know not to venture out into the parking lot. He wouldn't even follow me to the dumpster, having to cross that wide expanse. One day we were in the side yard tending my vegetable garden when HeWho came down the private drive in the front end loader. Martha heard the rumbling and flattened himself to the ground like a cartoon cat falling from a great height! He remembered! We all marveled at how very smart this cat was.
One day Martha was playing on the couch with HeWho loves animals as much as I do. "Um, Kathy, Martha has balls." Now, my friend, Martha is outspoken and full of self confidence and I thought he was referring to her. Her husband, Tom, had often said she was ballsy. So I informed him that I knew that, Tom had said so. "No, I mean the cat." By this time, Martha knew his name and would come when I called him. Sometimes both Marthas' would answer my call.
And that is how Martha, the boy cat, came to be. He is still a very smart cat, he knows better than to claw me or bite me. Like all mama cats do, I bit him back when he was learning. Clawing would earn him some alone time in the kennel where he would yowl and carry on pitifully. Nowadays he will stop with a good thump to his nose when he gets carried away with Eddie.
Martha spent the night inside last night because of the storm. He woke me at 5 am and I swatted him away, but he persisted and at 5:30 this morning I got up and let him and the short legged canines out. Toni Louise watched from her perch at her master's sleeping head. I retrieved the dogs and left Martha outside and crawled back into bed until 7, a more reasonable hour to be up and about.
Martha is sometimes spiteful, as cats will be. This morning, while I was dreaming in my bed, he was hunting. Not hungry, as he is well fed, he caught a rabbit, beheaded it and left it in the dog's yard. Some other creature with a long tail, lacking the head that would identify it was also there. The body did not look like a squirrel and I don't really want to know what it was. The eyeballs were there, all alone on the ground looking like tiny marbles. Of course Cujo grabbed the rabbit and ran from me. Thank goodness it was too big to swallow whole. It was about half the size of Cujo.
I chased my little dog, commanding him to drop the rabbit and he finally did. I was left with no choice but to pick the wet and slobbery thing up by it's paw and toss it over the fence, then grab the tail of the unknown creature and do the same.
My hands have been scrubbed well enough to perform surgery now and HeWho has been dispensed to removed the carcasses from my side yard. I am not happy with my smart cat right now. Or maybe I should say smart-a$$ cat!!