Monday, July 25, 2011

"Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum!"

We finally return to KITT-FM, where it's all kittens, all the time. And now, broadcasting live from our studios in Purrbank, Cat-i-fornia - heeeeeere's your hostess, Mother Catresa!

Hi folks!

Good Golly, Miss Molly - was my last blog entry really in April? Shame, shame, shame! There's no excuse - no, not one!

Blame my unintentional hiatus on all the writing I do at my job, along with the extra freelance writing I've been doing outside of the newspaper. In fact, my story on Frankie the Trolley Cat - an extraordinary rescued feline that charms visitors at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum - is published in the August issue of Cat Fancy magazine! Subscribers have this issue, but I'm not sure if it's replaced the July issue on newsstands yet. Please go get a copy - and the next time I see you, I will autograph it for you, like I did at the museum for "Frank the Trolley Cat Day" last weekend. Mother Catresa hopes to become a regular contributor to Cat Fancy, which is the purr-fect market for her!

So then - what's with the title of this blog entry? Isn't "Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum!" the slogan that giant used to chant when he was hunting Englishman Jack in the fairy tale "Jack & the Beanstalk?" Yes. And, silly me, I thought it would be a hilarious name theme for a litter of kittens that has been staying with me for about six weeks.

These kiddos came from a group of 11 in a Pittsburgh resident's yard. Two feral mother cats had kittens on the porch, and the woman called us (Foster Cat) for help. We split up the litters among two of us fosters, though we don't know exactly which ones come from each litter. I probably have a mix of siblings and cousins.

After I captured five of these babies - some skittish and hissy-spitty - and brought them home, I thought the head count seemed perfect for a wacky litter name I'd had in mind for a long time. I unpacked the 6-week-old kittens from the carrier, and chuckled as I entertained the cartoonish image in my mind of a bellowing voice, a green giant whose footsteps shake the earth, and a colossal green vine. Then, I named the babies, one by one:

= Jack, a male orange tabby and white shorthair.
= Fee, a male orange tabby longhair. (Incidentally, he farted a real stinker by my face last night. But that's neither here nor there.)
= Fi, a female black shorthair.
= Fo, a female tortoiseshell medium-hair.
= Fum, a female gray tabby shorthair.

Now, Jack and Fo have been just the sweetest little dollbabies from the very beginning, despite the somewhat feral family background. Fum was a bit on the fence. Fee, leaning toward the side where I am not. And Fi, bless her grumpy heart, didn't seem to want to get anywhere near the fence.

Well, to sum up the summer with the Jack & the Beanstalk kittens: Jack and Fo have been my cuddle buddies every day, and are just little darlings. Fum started to come around first, followed by Fee a few weeks ago. Fi made some tiny steps, but had a ways to go before she would be an adoptable pet. I would scruff her and force her to let me hold her for a brief time every day, even though she had a teenagerish "Ick!" look on her face as I stroked her.

I kept hoping and praying that she would pull a G.G.: be antisocial, like my Gormly Girl, and then make a dramatic turnaround one day. Fi is, after all, a black female kitten, just like my G.G. I figured that it wouldn't happen until her littermates were put up for adoption, and she was all alone in the room, with only me as a playmate. That's how it happened with Gormly Girl.

But, on Saturday, I took Jack and Fum up to a Petsmart cage. And yesterday, even though Fee and Fo are still there, it happened: Little Miss Fi came up to me, cuddled up to my side to be petted, and p-p-p-purred! I gaped in delighted disbelief. It's such a triumphant feeling when that first purr happens; it's like a baby uttering "mama" or "dada" for the first time. Once they've broken the purr barrier, there's no going back. The kittens are now official, loving, adoptable pets!
So, tomorrow night, Fee and Fo will go to another open cage at a Petsmart. Only two per cage are doable. I'll keep Fi with me for a few more days, and give her more remedial "How to be a rock star" lessons in social graces, until another cage opens.

May the spirit of G.G. continue to transform Fi into a fiercely affectionate, outgoing kitty that will make someone a lovely pet.

Until next time, I remain,

Mother Catresa
Patron Saint of Homeless Felines
(and the "smitten kitten")