Monday, August 1, 2011

Cat of the Month: Miss Kitty "Ain't No Lady"

This month's cat of the month is Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty is 18 years young and resides in Alabama with her person, Hilary Evans. Miss Kitty enjoys sleeping, eating, and grooming.

Contributing blogger, Hilary Evans, shares an intimate episode from Miss Kitty's early years. The following story is an expanded version of a story that was originally published in the May 1996 issue of Cats Magazine

Miss Kitty
Women upset everything. When you let them into your life, you find that the woman is driving at one thing and you’re driving at another.
-George Bernard Shaw from Pygmalion

When Miss Kitty joined our household, hitherto occupied by three neutered male cats and myself, she was known as Little Kitty. This was meant as a temporary measure to tide us over until the moment of inspiration struck, leaving the perfect name in its wake. Eventually, one of my friends came up with the idea of naming Little Kitty after Miss Kitty, the Gunsmoke character who, after all, was always hanging out with the guys.

Miss Kitty had come to the household via a friend at work. She and her husband were building a new house outside of town. Several houses were springing up in the area, but it was still sparsely populated compared to Huntsville itself. Apparently, Miss Kitty began hanging out at the construction site. None of the construction workers had seen her before. She seemed to have just popped up out of nowhere.

My friend worried about her. The construction site was not a safe place for a cat. Was she getting food and water? After a while, my friend began trying to find a home for the kitten, who was “cute and very friendly.” I didn’t want another cat. Counting me, there were four of us in the family now; and that was already two more than Hogey wanted. Still the image of the kitten out at that construction site at night all alone stuck with me. I worried my friend would go to the site one day and not find the kitten or worse, find her dead.

I agreed to take her.

The next day, my friend brought the long-haired, black-and-white kitten to work. It was a cool day; so I put the kitten in my car, cracked the windows, and went back inside. My plan was to take her straight to the veterinarian’s clinic, then home. The clinic would not be open for a few minutes.

When I came back out of the building, several smokers had convened in their usual spot. This morning they were all looking at my car.

That your kitten?” one asked.

I looked at my car where the kitten was pressed against the back windshield, looking for all the world like a black-and-white, suction-cupped Garfield.

Well, I guess he is now.” I assumed the “he,” which was consistent with my past experience.

We were about to report you for animal cruelty,” one fellow said. I knew this guy, and he knew me, which meant he knew I was a vegan, animal rights supporter. I just smiled weakly and walked to my car. Carefully, I opened the door. Immediately, I was holding a little puff of purring fur. She had some kind of purr.

At the clinic, they checked gender. I knew the kitten would be male since mine always were. I let them check anyway.

She’s a little girl,” announced my veterinarian.

I held her and jumped up and down. “A little girl. A little girl.” I would have been fine with a little boy, though.

After shots and tests and an examination, the kitten was ready to come home. I only hoped my home was ready for her.

To my relief, Miss Kitty joined the fold with little difficulty. Hogey treated her basically as he treated any other cat. You stay away from me, and I’ll stay away from you. His world-class growls and hisses warned Miss Kitty when she violated his space; and she, like her brothers before her, heeded the warnings.

Number two, Ashley, viewed Miss Kitty as he viewed most things in life. You take the good with the bad. He loved her as a playmate but wasn’t all that excited about her further dividing my attention.

Hogey and Ashley had reacted to Miss Kitty as expected, but I didn’t know what to expect from Domino. I was apprehensive. I had never introduced a new cat to Domino (he had been the new cat before), and he had lived out on his own on the streets for far longer than the others. He was tough, but I didn’t think he was mean. This would be a test. How would he take to a new arrival? Would this be treated like an invasion of territory?

I needn’t have worried. Domino immediately fell head over heels in love with his new sister.

When Miss Kitty lay down on the bed, Domino would join her there and immediately begin bathing her. If she got a little feisty, he would gently hold her down until he could finish the job. When the two played, Domino tapped Miss Kitty with his paws. He always pulled in his claws; and somehow, he seemed to pull in his teeth as well.

Over the next few weeks, Miss Kitty adjusted to her new home. I spent a lot of time congratulating myself. What a fine family, I kept thinking, and what a nice addition is Miss Kitty.

Miss Kitty had always been a remarkably friendly and happy kitten. How was I to notice when she became a bit friendlier than usual? Of course, I was a bit perplexed when she kept meowing from far-off parts of the house only to have nothing to show for it when I arrived.

A day or two after I first noticed the meowing episodes, I discovered Miss Kitty rolling from side to side on her back and making what can only be described as a “come get me” sound. Domino sat next to her, perfectly still, looking puzzled. Miss Kitty’s soft, chortling sound worked from a gentle “come get me” to a “YOU IDIOT! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? COME GET ME!”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. My little baby had become a young lady over night; and worse yet, I use the word “lady” quite loosely.

Miss Kitty,” I said, shocked as I watched my little girl throwing herself shamelessly at Domino’s paws, “I didn’t raise you that way!”

Miss Kitty paid me no heed. She continued writhing and urging. Domino, who would do anything in the world to please Miss Kitty, finally assumed the traditional position. Standing over her and grabbing her by the neck, he began to thrust his hips. There now could be no doubt. Miss Kitty was in heat.

Each of my cats had been altered as soon as he had come of age or, in Domino’s case, when he had joined the family. Miss Kitty was to be no exception. She was scheduled for spaying in three to four weeks. She was either a quick study, or my veterinarian had missed on her guess of Miss Kitty’s age.

I called my veterinarian and was told to bring Miss Kitty in when she came out of heat.

As I usually do in such instances, I turned to one of my books on cats. I looked up “heat.” The text explained that a heat cycle has four phases. The first phase lasts one to three days; the second, ten to fourteen days; and the third, one day (after which, if the cat has not mated, “she enters a period of sexual inactivity . . .”, a.k.a. the Promised Land). The fourth phase, a period of reproductive rest, did not concern me. As I read, I heard Miss Kitty calling loudly from another room in the house. I was not heartened by the estimate of twelve to eighteen days of this. Of course, the optimistic portion of my consciousness tried to tell me she was in stage two already. Maybe, my realistic portion countered, but she was just in the beginnings of it. I decided to track her progress through the stages, watching hopefully for the third, final, and blissfully short stage of sexual activity during which the female “aggressively rejects the stud if intercourse is attempted.”

At this point in my reading, Miss Kitty, giving up on receiving an answer to her calls made from the living room, joined the cowering masses in the bedroom. She immediately walked over to Domino, fell on her back, and started rolling around, emitting the necessary acoustics.
The telephone rang. The caller was my friend Dave. I skipped the preliminaries and plunged into the family plight.

Well,” I said, “Miss Kitty is in heat.”

How could Little Kitty be in heat? She’s not old enough.”

Dave had resisted Miss Kitty’s permanent name from its beginning. He had met Miss Kitty as Little Kitty; and, in his opinion, she should remain Little Kitty. I ignored his stubbornness. I had bigger problems.

Apparently,” I explained, “Miss Kitty is older than we thought; or she has gone into heat younger than predicted.”

Can your veterinarian spay Little Kitty now?”

I looked at the writhing, calling, wanton cat on the floor and said, “Dave, believe me, she is no longer Little Kitty.”

Uurrah!” Miss Kitty called out as if to reinforce my words.

Hmmph,” came the reply from the other end of the line. Apparently, this was one of those “you have to be there” situations. I hung up, feeling totally cut off from the outside world, trapped with a sex-crazed, female cat and three confused, neutered male cats.

The next few days were tiring, particularly for Domino, Ashley, and Hogey. When Domino wasn’t available, Miss Kitty turned to Ashley for satisfaction. Ashley stared at Miss Kitty as though she’d lost her mind; and by this time, she practically had. After a while, Ashley figured out part of what Miss Kitty wanted and his role in the matter. He halfheartedly grabbed her by the neck with his mouth.

One day, I was nearly bowled over by Hogey, running for his life down the hall, followed closely by a small, black-and-white blur I recognized as Miss Kitty. Hogey, whose main goal in life is to be left alone by all the felines in the world, turned his head on the run to hiss back at Miss Kitty. She didn’t even break stride. He turned and hissed again. She continued her pursuit. Hogey kept running and hissing through the house, his eyes round with fear and shock.

Morale continued to decline. I found myself actually looking forward to leaving for work. Then one morning as I lay in bed, Miss Kitty smacked Domino in the face. She meant business. She wasn’t kidding around. Miss Kitty never acted like that, especially with her beloved Domino. I knew what this meant . . . stage three!

I hollered, “YIPPEE!” But looking at Domino, who sat on the bedside table with a stunned, hurt expression on his face, I felt a bit contrite.

It’s okay, Domino,” I said and stroked his shoulders and back. “We’ve made it now. It’s all over but the aggressive rejection.”

About the Author

Hilary J. Evans lives in North Alabama with a number of cats and dogs and a lot of wildlife (not to be confused with living the wild life as nothing could be further from the truth).  These days she spends more time writing technical reports than humor pieces, but she’s storing humor and hopes to let it out again in the future.

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