I first saw Calliope as she was being passed hand to hand by the neighbor’s children. She was so sweet and patient with all that handling, I had to go meet her myself. She looked to be “teenaged”, a bit gangly and still very kittenish. We played hide and go seek/tag among the trees, and I fell in love.
She was such a gentle spirit, I wanted to make sure she had a home She was so thin and had bare patches down to the skin. Sadly, while everyone liked her, no one claimed her. Cats can get pregnant at four months and she was at least six months, probably older. I fed her whenever I saw her and she was always happy to meet me with purrs and rrrrows. I worried about her, because the kids in my apartment complex are unsupervised and some are either too young or too disturbed to be allowed access to an animal. I began asking everyone I saw her with if they knew who owned her.
No one did. Then, she disappeared. I hoped she had been adopted, but judging by the local tom’s behavior, I thought it was more likely she had been injured and maybe even died. Still, I kept an eye out for her and one day there she was, older, and obviously pregnant . I managed to track her down to the lady who was feeding her. She does dog rescue, I do cat rescue. The little cat was much more wary about being handled (smart of her!) but looked healthy if still thin.
I went into rescue mode. First, I put my cat cage outside, and got it ready for her to stay in until I could get a health check, with five of my own kitties, that’s always my first move. I popped in a nice warm cardboard box shelter with a blanket, litterbox, big bowl of fresh water and all the dry food she could eat. She seemed to immediately know she was being rescued, she checked out her new home and settled down happily, purring like mad and uttering little chirps of happiness. Because she is a “talker”, I named her Calliope. She knew that was her name within 24 hours.
Luckily the weather was good, because it was a long Memorial Day weekend. I foster through Salem Friends of Felines, a fantastic no kill shelter. I was hoping they would let me foster her until she was adoptable. They are extremely good at screening adoptive new cat parents and would place her and her kittens in good homes. I was already in love with Calliope, it’s always hard to give up foster cats, some are more difficult than others and I already had a bond with this small multicolored cat.
The next morning I went out first thing to check on her. To my surprise there was the huge black tom laying companionably next to the cage. I’ve never seen him up close, he usually is a black blur as soon as he sees me. He’s HUGE, with tattered ears and missing patches of fur over his many scars. Although he jumped and ran when he saw me, this time he didn’t go far. Calliope greeted me as an old friend. As I filled her food dish, the tom looked interested. I dubbed him Tough Guy (TG for short) and tossed him some kibble. She must have communicated with him because he came up and loved on me! Tough Guy has a soft spot! He looks so vicious, but when he is not competing for a female, he is up for a cuddle. Calliope had already brought me a new friend. She preened like a teenage girl getting ready for the prom! Her fur may be a bit ragged still, but it was spotlessly clean and soft as a cloud.
Finally I got her into Friends of Felines and luckily she was healthy. She’s between 7 to 10 months old, about halfway through her pregnancy at a guess. I installed her in my studio so I could introduce her to my five brats slowly. I’m being extra careful with her as she is so pregnant. Majyk in particular plays too rough.
Since Willetta isn’t aggressive, she was the first cat I introduced. The girls growled and hissed at each other as Willetta cruised the room, looking for stray kibble. Things were going well so I left them alone. They didn’t become instant friends but there wasn’t any fighting either. Calliope has gotten much more defensive since she is carrying kittens, before she would play with any friendly cat. I put Willetta back in with her today and again they hissed if they got too close, but that was all.
I’ll try her next with Major Tom. For having been a tomcat most of his life, he is super sweet and loves kittens. Calliope is still a kitten herself, if she will accept him he will love her and help raise the kittens. Since she wasn’t worried about Tough Guy, who is probably the father of some her kittens, I’m hoping her hormones won’t tell her Major is dangerous. She could use a little extra loving.