I got out later than usual to feed “my” kitties in the big shed last night (nearing 8:00) and saw that Pat hadn’t been out yet. I moseyed on up to the house to see if everything was okay. Pat and Edith were sitting at the table—Pat, looking a little ragged, sipping on a cup of something, and Edith snapping beans. Pat had overworked herself in the sun all day, mowing and picking beans and who-knows-what all, but said she thought she could get out "pretty soon." I got a knife and helped Edith with the beans and then told Pat I would feed “her” kitties and tell Weldon that he’d have to care for the calves by himself. She needed to stay inside and rest. She acquiesced.
Pat asked me to let Annabelle (mama of the “ring-around-the-Rosie” kitties) out of the cage for a while and then put her back in with the babies before bedtime. On my way to the house, I stopped to tell Weldon he was on his own for the evening, and I set Annabelle free as I passed by the barn. At home, I got a bottle of Gatorade and some yogurt and took it to Pat. Then I went to feed cats and kitties at the milk barn and in the big hay barn.
|The ring-around-the-Rosie kitties. I just had to name the white one Rosie!|
An hour later, I got a flashlight, turned on some yard lights, and went to find Annabelle. Ahhh, there’s a gray cat. I felt her belly. She didn’t feel much like a mother nursing five babies. What if this isn’t the right cat? I know there’s another gray cat about the same size, but this was the only one in sight. I picked her up and put her near the cage. She sniffed a bit and then looked at me, so I pushed her in. She carefully circled around the babies and settled in. She wouldn’t lie down with them if she wasn’t the mother, right? Right? Weldon was still in the milk parlor, so I asked him. He said he knows what the mother looks like, so he’d check in on them before he came home.
An hour later (yes, it was about 10:00 now), Weldon came in. “Did you check on the mama cat and babies?” No, he forgot. Oh well. It’ll be alright, right? Right?
And now it’s Friday morning. I fed “my” cats and had to go to the milk barn to get some milk. As long as I was passing by the big barn, I thought I'd let Annabelle out. She hopped out, but the five babies were spread across the floor of the cage and little Rosie was lying on her back. (It’s not a very big cage, so they weren’t separated by much, but they weren’t cuddled in a nice little kitty cat pile, either.) There was no movement. Oh, my gosh! They’re dead. I looked again, my heart pounding. Not the slightest bit of movement.
I hurried to the milk parlor. "Weldon, I think the five kittens are dead!" "Dead? All of them?" "Yes. They didn’t move. They’re not snuggled up. I don’t think they’re breathing. I must have got the wrong mama!" He immediately went with me to the barn. None of them were moving. Weldon put his hand in, and gently touched and petted them all. "They’re fine." "Fine? Really?" "Yes, they're fine."
Heart attack averted. Barely.
A few minutes later I confessed the whole story to Pat. She said she has had the same kind of experience, but she learned that the babies just spread out if it gets too stuffy and warm for them. I’m pretty sure she was just trying to make me feel better … and it worked. Kind of.
|This is, indeed, Annabelle.|
The End. Of one more farm story.