The following is part of an ongoing series wherein we celebrate the Cat Guys we love. This reader-submitted “Cat Guy” story is from Melanie, whose crazy Welchman hubby Mike is the proud guardian and surrogate father to Jericho, Dev, Belle, and host of ferals.
This might end up being a common theme in Cat Guy stories, but when I found out that the crazy Welshman in whom I was interested was a Cat Guy, I was delighted. He had one cat at the time we met (Jericho) but regaled me with tales (tails?) of all the cats he’d had during his life. There were great stories to be told about all of them.
While being a Cat Guy in general is truly impressive (taking into account the definition of Cat Guy), my fella surpasses, I think, Cat Guyness and crosses over into Supreme Cat Guyness. My Cat Guy, who has been my dear husband for 11 years, now, gave up his time and interests and hand-raised two abandoned kittens from only two or three days old!
We found the kittens in our greenhouse wall. We were working in the greenhouse, and since the mother cat was a member of our small feral colony whom wed not managed to catch and spay yet, we knew she would not come to her babies while we were in the greenhouse. So we decided to move the little bundles of fur since the place shed hidden them was not really all that safe. We moved them from the greenhouse wall and into a nice box with a warm towel inside. We placed the box in spot we could watch, but which was far enough away that the mother cat would not be frightened away by us.
By nightfall she had not retrieved the kittens, so we left them in the box all night, clenching our teeth as we fought the urge to go out and fetch them, or at least check on them. By the first light of dawn, we checked them to find that mom had in fact visited but she had only taken one kitten! We decided we could not wait any longer, and we took the remaining kittens in.
We called our retired-veterinary-assistant neighbor, who came by and showed us how to feed the kittens with an eye dropper, and how to stimulate them to empty their bowels and bladders. We stocked up on KMR, kitten bottles, and a heating pad. We even bought a surrogate stuffed mama kitty (yes, they do make such a thing!).
I keep saying we, but I was only present for the first day or two after we took the kittens in, and I then popped in occasionally thereafter. This all happened at our rural home in the mountains in California. As my job requires me to be present in the office, we rent a small apartment in the Big City, because a daily commute of five hours to and from our mountain house is not possible. Since Mike could spend more time at our country place than I, he was the lucky Cat Guy who got to raise the newborn kittens. He fed them every two to three hours, day and night, warming their formula for them and nursing each of them. He would then gently stimulate them to urinate and defecate. He would cuddle them. He would check their condition. He would take their nest box into the bedroom with him each night so he could continue feeding them every two or three hours. And each morning he would get up and take their nest box with him into his office in town. Hed make sure they were warm. He would clean their box and their surrogate mom cat (which they really took to!). He would watch them for any signs of problems. He would worry if something seemed amiss, and rejoice when everything turned out fine. He was tied to the kittens, first by a love for all living things, and then by a special bond he established with the kittens, for 24/7 for five or six weeks! He only left them long enough to take a shower or a bathroom break! When they were old enough he took them to the local vet, who declared them healthy and fit. Mike beamed like a proud father.
He was also very careful to socialize them with their grumpy step uncle Jericho, and, after the kittens got their shots, he let them mingle with some of the friendlier feral cats in our cat colony. We got a large playpen for the kittens, and Mike would put it outside and let the kittens play in the warm sunshine and meet the other cats (albeit, from behind bars). He made sure plenty of human friends came by to meet the kittens, as well, and now they are afraid of no one. Mike also plays many musical instruments, some of which are very loud (bagpipes need I say more?). Because he had no problem with playing at top volume despite the kittens presence, they can now sleep through a jackhammer hammering away in their ears! Further, he made sure, once they started to play, that they had plenty of toys to stimulate them both mentally and physically. Today, at a bit over six months old,
they show none of the unwanted personality traits that sometimes arise in hand-reared kittens. Mike was very careful to read-up on such potential problems and devise ways to prevent them from occurring in his furry children.
The kittens adore, Mike, of course. They talk to him, they bring him presents, they perform for him, and they play and sleep on him and around him. He adores them just as much, and speaks of them as though they are human members of the family. Otherwise Mike is a pretty macho guy – he hikes, he climbs mountains, he builds things, he drinks beer and whiskey (in moderation, of course!), and he drives a big bad truck. But he is quick to tell anyone that hes a Cat Guy, and that dogs are not for him and are not even allowed on our property unless firmly leashed, as he will not tolerate dogs terrorizing our feral cats! (They cant terrorize the kittens as the kittens must remain indoor cats since they were raised indoors and know little to nothing about the Great Outdoors).
That’s my Supreme Cat Guy. With him, I know we will always have cats in our house!
Mike, we salute you!
Are you a Cat Guy or know someone who is? Tell me your story and I’ll publish it!