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How I became a Cat Person

Updated on August 29, 2011

Part one

I used to be a dog person. sure, i loved cats to, i loved all animals, very much...but dogs were special. Then i moved onto the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. my mom had recently lost her 14 yr old cat to kidney failure and had been given a kitten. this kitten, a lynx point Siamese mix, was about 6 or 7 months old by the time i came to stay here. She was allowed to go outside because she always came when she was called and she never left the yard. Her privileges were revoked the day mom called her and saw her coming from the neighbors place, who had cat killing dogs. But, before that happened, we got another cat, thanks to moms cat, (ToyBaby...we sometimes called her Osama Bin

This is how it happened. we heard ToyBaby calling us from out the front door, and when we opened the screen to see what she wanted, she herded a kitten into the house. this kitten was very small and very sick. we figured she was around six months old. she had the runs and anytime she ate or drank something, even just water, she promptly threw it right back up. we had some left over antibiotics for cats in the fridge, so we started her on that and watched her closely. the throwing up stopped but not the runs. However, inspite of all that she kept getting fatter. I didnt know much about cats back then, but it sure looked to me like that tiny kitten was pregnant. (i have since learned kittens can reach sexual maturity at four months). We took her to the vets and found out that she was indeed pregnant...she was also nine months old and had parasites. so we got her wormed and took her home. Sadly, her illness in the early stages of her pregnancy took its toll. Her first kitten was born dead and she had difficulty giving birt to the second kitten. being breech didnt help it any. that kitten, a little femal, looked similar to her mother, except she had a pattern on her back that reminded me of the mask in the movie scream, so i named her BooBoo.

after 4 hours of no more kittens but continued labor, we took her the 50 miles back to the vet. they said that her uterine muscles couldnt push and she needed a c-section. 5 more kittens were born. after we got them home and settled, about a week or so later, we noticed one of the kittens began to fail. we did everything we could for it and finally had to take her to the vet...and found out she had congestive heart failure. what a shock. the vet said they were amazed we kept her alive as long as we had. we gave the go ahead to let them put the baby to sleep. it was a hard thing to do, but there was no other choice. the rest of the kittens were doing well, as was the mother. when the kittens were weaned we found new homes for the mother cat and all the kittens except BooBoo, who i knew i would be keeping the moment i first saw her.

BooBoo grew up to be a lover...and a little bit slow. we could not play with the laser lights with her because she would get so keyed up over it that she would have a hard time breathing and her heart would go a hundred miles a second. the laser light was hooked to our keychain and it got to where we could not pick up the keys with out her racing into the room begging for that light. we finally took the light off the keychain. BooBoo loved to snuggle, she would cuddle up against my chest and start to knead my chest or chin...but only exposed skin, she didnt like it if i tried to cover my skin, so i had to keep her claws short so it didnt hurt me when she kneaded me. she was also jealous of my time...whenever i got a phone call, she had to be right there trying to get me off the phone (i was talking to someone and it wasnt her and she didnt like that)...she never was successful...until the day my phone call got cut off in the middle of a conversation, and i looked down to see she had chomped the cord in half. she just sat there looking up at me with a self satisfied look on her face. sadly, BooBoo passed away last winter from pneumonia. she was between 10 and 11 yrs old.

When my dog was between one and two yrs old (BooBoo was about the same) she and i were headed out the side gate of the yard when she came to a stop, pointing at something by the base of the tree. when i moved around some stuff to get a clear look, i found a mother cat introducing her kittens to meat (in the form of a ground squirrel). i decided to try to catch the kittens and raise them so they would not be raised feral. as soon as i got close the mother darted into a nearby stove pipe along with one of the kittens. i reached down and picked up 2 of the kittens who were so engrossed in the meat they never even knew i was there. they sure knew it when they got picked up though, lol. they started hissing and growling at me, but they were only about 5 weeks old, so could not harm me. i took them into the house and handed them to mom and went back out to try and get the others. i managed to get two more when the mother took off running. i cant be sure, but it looked like she had a kitten in her mouth...and i truly hope she did...because i felt bad about taking her kittens from her. (it had been my hope to catch her as well). there was one remaining kitten. she earned the name Smokestack, or Smokey for short, because she got into that stovepipe and the only way i could get her out was to raise one end while the low end was over the door of a cage, so she had to slide down the "chimney" into the cage.

since the kittens were found eating meat, we fed them kitten formula and raw hamburger and kitten chow. but then something strange began to happen. they began to lose mobility in their hind legs, and soon could only walk by dragging themselves (by soon i mean a matter of 2 or 3 days) we finally decided to get a spray vitamin/mineral supplement and try that. within just a few days they were back to normal. we realized that the hamburger simply did not have the nutrition in it that they would have gotten from eating wild meat. (i know now it also has to do with eating the entire animal, guts, bones and meat). of these 5 kittens i kept 2...Convict and Gizmo. when Gizmo was still a kitten, she got glaucoma in her one eye. i didnt know what it was and treated it at home thinking it was just an eye infection. but it not only didnt go away it got worse. so finally i took her to the vet. she had to have the eye removed. her quality of life though did not seem diminished in any way. her brother Convict loved to (still does) wrestle, and would tackle anyone he could...but the only one who could ever beat him was his own one-eyed sister, Gizmo.

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  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    Athena, I am sorry I did not respond to this when you first posted it. I did not see it. I just now found it in the spam section of my comments, though what it was doing there I have no clue. I am glad you enjoyed my hub. i know by reading your that you love cats. they are wonderful creatures and companions. have a great day.

  • athena09 profile image

    athena09 6 years ago from Philippines

    I really enjoyed reading your hub, coz I'm a cat lover as well.

  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    Ghost, what a lovely home you must have. if your cats are anything like mine...they love to crash into things...anything, especially if it makes a LOUD crash.

    as for the coyotes, way back when i was living near holbrook, along a washout river bed, a pack of coyotes would run the river bed each night...i loved hearing their yips, yaps and howls. some nights, just before they were scheduled to run, i would go out and sit high on the tractor tire and start howling...soon, they would start answering and would continue to howl back the whole length of the run until they were beyond a very far bend. while i was in yellowstone, there were no wolves at the time, so i would go out and listen for the coyotes, sometimes howling to get them to start singing. my closest encounter with an adult wild coyote was in logan NM. i was descending one side of a ravine and looked up to see a fat coyote ascending the opposite side. i yipped at him/her, and he/she stopped, turned to look at me, we exchanged a few minutes of silent communication, then he/she turned and resumed his/her progress up the side of the ravine. i was so thrilled at that encounter.

    you are way lucky to get to watch those pups grow!

  • profile image

    Ghost32 6 years ago

    Very cool Hub. Been a "cat man" for a while myself.

    Pam and I used to have a passel of indoor/outdoor cats, but the vet bills and mortality rates were both pretty high. Also, every time we had three or more, there was always a pair ganging up on one and making his or her life unnecessarily stressful. So we try to have two and ONLY two nowadays, and they have to agree to be strictly indoor felines.

    On the other hand, every cat we've ever had (with the exception of one, which is a long story) was born feral. And I did build the Border Fort (our home near the Mexican border in Arizona) with kitties in mind: They can chase each other from one corner of the building to the other at top speed (and they do) without any real impediment slowing them down.

    For dogs, we have the local coyotes who drop by to see us nearly every day. With pups!

  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    Pamela...i have learned much since my early days of rescuing cats. i agree cats need to be wormed on a regular schedule. i also dont believe in using over the counter medicines for worming or fleas and ticks. it is to dangerous. i use only that from the vets. i never use chemicals on kittens less than 5 months old. if kittens under that age have fleas, they get baths using dawn dish soap. it may be a chemical, but it has been proven safe. i learned many things as a vet tech that has helped me in my rescues as well. the food i feed my cats is purina kitten chow, purina cat chow original and purina indoor/outdoor formula. since i began feeding purina to my cats, they have never been healthier. i started on my vets recommendation...however i have always only trusted purina kitten chow for any kittens i have raised.

    thank you for stopping by and reading my hub. have a wonderful night.

  • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

    Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

    Very interesting hub. You are a true cat person. Thanks for sharing. We do have to be careful about tape worm in cats so we need to cook meat really well if we give a cat or a dog any meat. My vet says she checks her own six cats for tape worm every morning. For my feral cats, I buy the Costco Kirtland brand, the purple bag because it has the Omega oil. I used to cook people food for my little dog, but the cats get the bagged stuff.

  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    Hi Dolores, That is Patches, I will be telling his story soon. he is a Harlequin Tabby. he is a very special boy. yes the vet bills were big, but thankfully we were allowed to make payments. sadly to many people have abused that privilege in that small community and that option is no longer available except for people with cows and horses.

  • Dolores Monet profile image

    Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

    I was going to say something about the hub, but now I am so excited about your little cat sign - that's so cute! Boy, those vet bills must have been huge! The cat you have pictured at the top of the page looks a lot like my own cat, Banjo. I love gray and whites. Before Banjo, my other favorite cat ever was similar.

  • tlmcgaa70 profile image

    tlmcgaa70 6 years ago from south dakota, usa

    thank you jaykatt...actually i am the one who is feeling blessed to have them... >^..^<

  • jaykatt profile image

    jaykatt 6 years ago from Covina, California

    Very cute hub. these cats are lucky to have you!