HELLCATS OF THE BARRIO or Charles Darwin was WRONG!
This has to be the greatest hour of triumph for a cat breeder, even if my status was inadvertent, not sought. After thirty years of breeding one lineage of mutt tabbycats, shepherding that feline family through 30 generations of trust and friendly bonding, good food, and careful tending, I finally find that I've raised a race divine. I found out because I had something to COMPARE them to.
I know now that the cat's soulular evolution is best helped along with moment to moment personal touch, two way communication, a dash of environment and genetics but not one drop of that much vaunted “Darwinian survival of the fittest” hooey which only produces tough, rapacious monsters. I discovered that survival of the kindest is integral to a cat's survival.
How did I learn this? How did I suddenly find out that I'd inadvertently created a cat master race? Cuz The Five Orphan Hellcats of the Dark Side were left on my porch last night by some human neighbor on the verge of a nervous breakdown who obviously could not stand their screaming.
THE BOX these five black furry ghouls came in aptly had the words HALLOWEEN and THANKSGIVING on the side. (The box had obviously harbored somebody's table decorations.) The KITTENS in it now were the Halloween part. The Thanksgiving was what their previous owners were feeling now that they'd walked these kittens to my front door at nearly two in the morning.
Inside, on an old towel were five 3 week old kittens. Their mother must have fled in horror or maybe Satan dispatched her. If she left on her own volition, I KNOW WHY. Because with their birth, these 5 give Evil a new hold on the planet Earth. It's THE OMEN. There's no other explanation for the temperament of these furballs. They were fat, well fed, not a flea on any one of them so definitely inside cats, not outside. No sun had baked their brains. No fleas had feasted on their blood.
Their cleanliness led me to make a big mistake. I split the group up and placed half in each of my two current 3 week old baby-nests with my two nursing mothers, Hannah and Suzanna. Three of these new, orphaned kittens with Mama Suzanna under the roll top desk, --two with Mama Hannah in the linen closet making six babies for each mother who was already nursing her own 2 babies.
There were enough plumbing stations for all but for the next 24 hours, in spite of repeated eyedroppered milk, I heard so much squawling and screaming that I finally had to put the five screamers together on one mother. I could not allow the hellcats to be near any of our house kittens. That would be like leaving a nest of rattlers with baby mice.
The hell cats' eyes aren't even open yet and they can conduct punching fist fights, clawing and tearing at their siblings without fatigue and this when clearly there are enough milk and chairs to go around.
For the first time in thirty years I have seen that the Race of Cat can be diabolic, primitive, rapacious, cruel and ferocious as tigers. I have seen behavior in these five little Valley girls that I could only imagine in Hellish Ira Levin novels. Remember those cruel, green eyes when Rosemary looks at her baby for the first time? Times FIVE!
I cannot expose any of this summer's infant kitties to this group of assassins. Suzanne, the final sacrificial, adoptive mother, -- endlessly placid, -- doesn't seem to realize that her own, nice, sweet babies ( exactly the same age and size as these invaders), have been moved into Hannah's closet station. Suzanna is playing host to 5 barrio street ruffians, albeit feminine. She patiently licks and nurses while these fist fight sisterly scrimmages go on for hours.
First minute they arrived, I ran out to 7-11 and got a quart of milk, added yolks, eyedropped it. Next morning got real goats milk, beat it with egg yolk, eye droppered it to the Tyson Quints, ten times a day, topping them off, hoping for a snore or a zzzzzz from them. And I get it for a while. And then they go from total sleep into total screams and scrimmaging, all of them simultaneously, ten minutes later. Ferocious, jealous --vicious ---even in their sleep.
If this goes on I'm gonna ask my chums for a xanax. Not for me. Crumble it into their bottles! Suzanna deserves a little rest. So do I. I'm typing with earplugs and CD blasting.
There's one consolation. How beautiful and good the six Spring kittens seem to me now. Danny-Carlitos, Courtney Guava, Julio Leon, Edgar, Gardenia and Tyrone (who I thought looked tough so I gave him a ghetto name). I now realize THEY are all cream puffs. They come when called. "Mew SSSS SSSS" means food. They understand and come running. They let themselves be pulled up into the crook of your neck and they purr. They lie on their backs in their hot water tub while I pick fleas, drifting contentedly, trustingly. There isn't a claw shot on any one of them when you hug them. They eat at dishes without fighting just as they drank at their mother's teat. These cats will survive as humans will assist them with utmost devotion
They were born in the early Spring are thus from the PISCES ARIES session and are looking like young teens now. Pre junior high. Sixth grade. A tad too old to give away, as if I'd even consider the idea. And I wouldn't.
My second litter this year, the summer bunch, were born GEMINI, MOONCHILD, the same days as the HELLIONS. But an argument against horoscopes because they're lightyears away from the black Hellcats in behavior. Never has one of the spring or summer KITTENS raised a paw to shove a fellow from a teat or raised his voice in protest. None of them know what a squawl or screech is. Nor have I seen this behavior since that yogi girl Seva Kaur gave me the first pregnant cat, a placid tabby, 30 years ago.
In Hannah's linen closet, six kitties of the Seva Lineage coo and smack their lips happily. In Suzanna's roll top desk knee cubby hole, 5 barrio assassins snore heavily, fatigued from trying to murder one another.
I realize now I have been in a breeder's triumph without knowing it. There is a race of saints with whiskers here at my house. And when they are old enough and weaned, I put them on CRAIGS LIST or in THE LOS ANGELES FREE RECYCLER ADS. I visit the house, to make sure there’s a family and that the family sees I know where they live. As there’s this possibility that the adopter sells them to labs for experimentation. So I go back and check on the family. I have their phone number also. That’s the only way to give away kitties!
* * * * * * * *
ß------ BACK TO THE PET INDEX