The story you are about to read is true. It happened in our home about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. If you’re not a cat lover, read it anyway. My hope is that it brings you a chuckle.
Hoss was born in spring 2012 to Fuzzy Gray, one of the six-toed cats adopted from my friend, Dena. (Evidently, the town of Casey, Iowa has been overrun with these mitten kittens and I was glad to bring home some new genetics.) These polydactyls are prolific producers and soon we had a clowder of cats! (Thanks to this The Big Bang Theory episode!) #2 son has always been partial to fluffy kitties and soon claimed Hoss as his own. A strong, stubborn male, he stuck with the more masculine name even after learning that Hoss was, indeed, a female.
It was an incredibly cold February day during the 2013 winter when Hoss gave birth to her first litter of kittens. Unfortunately, the offspring didn’t survive the brutal weather. Lee was gracious enough to chip through the frost layer so we could give them a proper burial in the family pet plot. We said hello to the memories of Ratbert the hamster, O’Brien the cat, David the parakeet and a few of our other deceased animal friends.
It was no surprise when Hoss turned up pregnant again. She gave birth in the thicket (think bramble patch) in front of our house while we were on vacation, My friend/neighbor, H, had been taking care of the critters and heard faint mews mixed amid the poison ivy, mosquitoes, gooseberry and raspberry bushes. She was unable to find them even while covered in something akin to a HazMat suit. Before we unpacked from vacation, we were in the thicket and discovered four furry baby felines. We moved them to the shed and enjoyed watching them grow. (In case you’re curious, their names are Light Knight, Dark Knight, Four and Chunk.)
Fast forward to February 2014 which finds Hoss a housecat. We moved her in after the resident bully, OBJ, kept beating the snot out of her. Poor Hoss would hide in trees, under bushes, in logs…anything to escape the wrath of OBJ. Hoss and our older cat, Pilgrim, have grown tolerant of one another, as you can see here.
When Lee pronounced yet another Hoss pregnancy a few weeks ago, I was reluctant to agree. How could she have gotten pregnant? She only escaped that one night! And with that, I answered my own questions and finally agreed that Hoss was with-kittens. (There isn’t anything much more exciting, in my opinion, than a mama kitty about to give birth.)
With the confession fresh in mind, I worked in my home office yesterday, Hoss meandered in and out of the room, meowing. For a cat who is pretty much silent, this was odd behavior and I kept wondering what she was trying to communicate with me. She couldn’t get comfortable and seemed to be pacing. The predicted snowstorm rolled in late afternoon and canceled the evening’s basketball games for #2 son. We hunkered down on the couch to watch the Iowa/Ohio State game and Hoss continued her meowing and hanging around.
I was texting my sister and H announcing Hoss’ situation. The game ended in a loss for the Hawkeyes and Lee headed back to take a shower only to return to the living room a few minutes later with asked these questions, “Am I the best dad/husband ever?” and “Will you admit that I’m right 99.5 percent of the time?” (I will add that his tone of voice indicated he wasn’t at all excited about whatever happened on his way to the shower. In fact, he sounded incredibly irritated so #2 and I went back to investigate.
We found Hoss cuddled up in the middle of the bed on Lee’s favorite blanket, affectionately known as Goosey. And she wasn’t alone. Two tiny tiger kittens were nursing as she laid on her side and kneaded her paws. What the heck? We had just admitted she might be pregnant and now the proof had arrived! It was a very clean birth with minimal mess and she had given birth about six inches from a stunned Pilgrim. Healthy, strong and mewing, these kittens were already dry and suckling. They had probably been born less than an hour before.
Hoss and family was moved from our bed to the bed in the room of #1 son, who’s conveniently at college. (I’ve also been using this as my home office.) She stretched out on the nest we made on the bed and showed off her creation. I’m a little reluctant to report it appears that Light Knight, her son, is likely the father of these newborns. The resemblance is uncanny!
Good morning from the Hoss family. All are doing well after their first night in #1 son’s bedroom. (Won’t he be surprised when we arrives home this weekend!) As I think back to one year ago, we had 26 baby chicks in the basement. Perhaps I am a redneck, but I prefer to think of myself as an animal lover. Don’t judge me. And yes, Lee was right.