Monday, July 25, 2011

Nine Cats Behind

I Medici 
When I posted here last (a month and a half ago), our girl Lucy had just joined our family, and Malcolm and Dickens were scheduled to go to live in the big condo at PetSmart in North Van. All of our Ferocious Black Panthers have now been adopted, but I've realized, to my embarrassment, that I've fallen nine cats behind in telling this story.

Three little tabby boys and their beautiful, black sister were trapped around 33rd and Slocan about two months ago. When they came to live with us, the Tall Lady was reading a novel about the Medici Family, and as a result, they all got Italian names. It could have been worse - I was reading a book about Vlad the Impaler.

La Bella Bianca - what else would you call the little black cat? Bianca was a little hissing, spitting, snarling, savage dust bunny when we first met her, but she has since grown into a serene and beautiful young lady. No pampered princess, though, this little spitfire has managed to hold her own with three great buffoons of brothers all sitting on her head at the same time, while the two smirking big cats cheered them on from the sidelines. Bianca is the new Lady of the Ring.

The Mighty Cosimo is one of our best lap cats. He is so fond of treats (ours especially) that we've nicknamed him Mr Chips. Cosimo loves rasslin', toys, and tummy rubs, and he has a purr like a muscle car that lost its muffler somewhere on a stretch of corduroy road. It takes very little to get his motor running, and he gets surprisingly good mileage.

Cosimo is the biggest of the three boys, and he is the family enforcer, when Bianca lets him be.

Signore Piero is the little guy. He is small in everything but presence, and his markings and wide, green eyes make him appear terrified in all of his pictures. In truth, Piero fears nothing but the vacuum cleaner!

He loves his brothers, Bianca and the Flying Fellini Sisters, but he is sometimes a private and solitary kitten who will disappear for hours on end. I believe that he's been curling up behind the sofa with a flashlight and a good book.

Lastly, but not leastly, there is Lorenzo, il Magnifico, and he really, really is! Lorenzo is one of the prettiest kittens we've ever fostered, and we've had some cuties. He was the first on the lap, the first to trust us to rub his tummy, and usually, he's the first into whatever mischief is planned.

We suspect that Lorenzo has been reading The Prince.

Cosimo and Piero were adopted yesterday. Our new friend Mick and his youngest son came over to pick them up a few minutes ago. Bianca and Lorenzo will follow sometime soon, and it would be nice if they were adopted together, but I'm sure that they'll be fine with any family they happen into - they're just nice little cats.

Sumi and the Finger Puppets
As usually happens at this time of year, the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association has been nearly swamped with cats. When we collected i Medici, there were about 250 cats and kittens in VOKRA's care, and we were $30,000 in debt. In the last month, our fosters' numbers rose by a hundred, and the debt had increased by about twenty thousand dollars. Karen Duncan probably spends a lot of time these days curled into a tiny ball on the floor of her basement office, sucking her thumb and whimpering softly.

Quite naturally, when the call went out for foster parents to take someone else in, the Tall Lady remembered that we had a bare spot on the floor of our little bedroom...

Our new foster kid is a long, lovely, black cat who was left behind in an apartment on Cambridge Street when her owner moved. She is so friendly and tame that it's obvious she was somebody's baby, and it's also obvious that she'll be no trouble at all. We've named her Sumi. It's Japanese for "charcoal".

Of course, it's a bit more complicated than that. Sumi came with peripherals. A couple of days before we met her, she gave birth to four tiny, perfect, black kittens. There are three girls and a boy. We've never been dealt that hand before. They were two days old when we met them, and they looked like finger puppets.

They're four weeks old now, and are much bigger and more interesting than the photo indicates. They are learning to run, wrestle and explore. They like the bigger kittens (especially Cosimo), but they are suspicious of that new litter box thing that the Tall Lady has placed beside their sleeping area. The little boy, Chansu (Chance), is casting a curious eye to the top of our bed, trying to decide whether or not he can make the great leap. He has also started drinking from Mom's water dish.

One of the girls has been named Blossom, because of the small spot of white on her chest. Her Japanese name, which we never use is Sakura. Their sisters are Sachi and Shisan. "Sachi" translates as "happiness", and "Shisan" means "fortune". We think black cats are very good luck. We've certainly been blessed with them!

And nine foster cats are really no trouble - after all, Sumi takes care of four of them!

The Bearcubs with big brothers Cosimo and Piero