Thursday, December 24, 2009

Groucho The Cat

Groucho The Cat showed up at the cat feeder at Jolico Farm in the cold early winter of 2009. She was a fearless young, 'in-your-face' feline who promptly became pregnant, probably during her first heat in early February. She gave birth to a litter of kittens around April 1st. Unfortunately, only one of those kittens survived to become weaned. She became pregnant again when that kitten was about 2 months old and she delivered her second litter of 6 kittens on August 1, 2009. All of these kittens survived due to human intervention – twice-daily food and water carried up to the barn for them.

I took a real liking to this gutsy cat and I named her because of her resemblance to Groucho Marx. However, her name fit her 'grouchy' personality as well, as she is a vocal scolder to her kittens and even growls at me when I pick her up if she does not want to be held. She has never tried to bite or scratch me. She puts up with my handling, brushing, kissing and stroking, but rarely asks for affection. However, she will follow me around like a dog, and she tends to gravitate to the room in which I am working or sitting, making herself comfortable on the floor or on a nearby couch so as not to miss any of the household action.

I figure that Groucho was born in the spring of 2008. I also figure she was a drop-off, or she had been born at one of the nearby farms as a wild, or feral, cat. The fact that she has such moxie and has such a brave and fearless nature has endeared her to me. I resisted allowing her plight to affect my better judgment but, because she was such a demanding cat, crying at me through the windows when she wanted food for herself and for her kittens, I became like putty in her paws………and, I fell in love with her…………

When she weaned her last litter in mid-October 2009, I took her to the vet and had her spayed, vaccinated and de-wormed. I brought her home from her surgery and kept her in the house for 3 days to recover and then I let her back out to the barn. Two weeks later I returned her to the vet to have her sutures removed. She tolerated these procedures and intimate handling with vocal outrage but without any attempt to harm anyone.

While she was in the house she got a taste of the “good life” of a housecat, and she quickly adjusted to the litter pan and the rhythms of the household. When the weather turned bitterly cold this winter, she began to cry at the windows to be let into the warmth. When we ignored her insistent crying, she persisted and would cry all night long to be let in. We finally caved and allowed her indoors to become our pet.

She has no desire to go outdoors. She adjusted immediately to life in our home. She is quiet, clean and independent, but alert to our movements. She interacts with us and with our big dog Moses, who used to be her arch-enemy when she lived outside.

Our only problem lies with our older housecat “Kitty” who has never gotten along with Groucho. This dislike has escalated since Groucho moved indoors into Kitty’s domain. There has been fighting between the two cats, prompting us to banish Groucho back to the barn. However, this is breaking our hearts and we have decided we need to find Groucho a proper, loving home, even if it means losing our bond with her.

I hope and pray that whomever takes responsibility for her will love her as we do; and if they do not or cannot love and care for her, that they will return her to us. I hope and pray that we will find a very lucky person who needs the love of a very fine cat.

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