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  • Helen Row Toews

Prairie Wool

Enough with the Cats Already

While making no secret of the fact I’m a card-carrying member of the, I Love Cats club, a line must be drawn somewhere. Briefly, I can tell you a stray showed up on our deck last fall, pregnant and abandoned. We created a warm kennel for Coconut – so named for her creamy mottled fur – and she gave birth to four adorable kittens. All was going well until the afternoon she disappeared. We searched for her in vain and it was concluded, with much sadness, she had fallen prey to a coyote.

They were barely two weeks old so my daughter Aliyah started researching information on how to raise them, they were brought inside, and a frantic trip was made at 10 p.m. for supplies. Aliyah and I then sat cross-legged on the floor much of the night trying to force food down their resistant little gullets. And here’s a further bit of news – kittens can’t eliminate waste without stimulation from the mother on their hind ends. This put us in the awkward position of massaging the posterior of a young cat, a lot. The sentence, “Yay, he peed on my leg,” was not one I’d ever imagined myself uttering, let alone being happy about.

Thankfully, late next day, Coconut returned. Or, to put it in other terms – we thought she was a goner, but the cat came back (sorry, it was too good to resist.) Aliyah’s room was turned into a cat den, Coconut was brought inside, and the saga continued. Fast forward a few weeks and there are cats every bloody place you look. Six cats are too many for anyone I tell you! The other night I heard an insistent tapping on my bedroom door, “Mom, I need you,” Aliyah hissed. I padded out into the living room where she grasped my shoulders and searched my face with a wild eye.

“A cat has pooped in my bed,” she pronounced in despairing tones.

“Good to know,” I said, turning sleepily away with a yawn, “Bye.”

“No!” she leapt forward blocking my path, “You’ve gotta help me remove it. Well, to be honest, I’ll wait outside while you do it,” she finished truthfully. My eyes narrowed and then resignedly I shrugged and shuffled off to fetch some tissue and clean sheets.

“It’s under there,” she declared moments later, pointing with a quavering finger to a spot on her bed. I peeled back the offending covers – with effort since they were sticky – and beheld a nasty, brown, flattened mass. Grasping it firmly with the paper towel, I began to peel it up.

“Ack!” Aliyah shrieked as a portion of the mound came away in my hand, “How revolting.” Strangely, the room began to take on the pleasing scent of spearmint, and tentatively I brought the wad up to my nose for further inspection.

“Mom! Are you crazy?” she yelled in disgust from the doorway. I took a deep sniff and then turned to her night table where an empty box of treats lay discarded and forgotten.

Regarding her as she hovered anxiously by the door, I said, “Snacking under the covers again I presume? This isn’t cat poop you little ninny, it’s a melted mint patty.”

All in all, the cat theme has been entertaining and at times a trifle overwhelming, but I’m not really complaining – kittens are cute, and we’ll find them homes. There’s only one significant problem at this point – a new cat is sitting on the deck peering through the window as we speak. ENOUGH WITH THE CATS ALREADY!

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