Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Squeak. AKA Her Majesty, The Queen

Her Majesty
Her Majesty...Squeak

I read somewhere that the Mother cat is called the "Queen". I think Squeak read the same article and took it to heart because she is the Queen of this house; at least as far as the cat herd is concerned.

In September of 2018, Joann told me a story about a kitten. When Joann came home from work one night, she could hear a kitten crying somewhere. In water trough in the barnyard, normally used for watering stock but now dry, she found a tiny little kitten. This little girl had apparently been abandoned by it's mother and had spent the day trapped in this water trough, crying for help. Joann rescued her and Royalty was saved!

At first, I wasn't thrilled with actually adopting the little furball as my 18 year old neutered male, Stripe, pretty much owned my house and I didn't think he'd be happy with the new addition. We talked with a couple of people about taking this kitten off our hands but, happily, we never let her go. Stripe quickly became her best friend and the two were very close for the rest of his life.

Baby Squeak

She spent the first couple of nights hiding from us in a storage area beside and behind the stove, but she finally began letting us touch her and even hold her. This was primarily Joann's problem as I was still gone on my summer job most of the time.

Such a cute little brat! Even Stripe came around and adopted her along with us. She has such soft fur. More like rabbit than cat and she has the most noteworthy tail! In the wintertime, her tail looks perpetually "fluffed" and a friend asked if her father had been a coyote. Kind of a golden, caramel tabby color.

When she breathed, you could hear both the inhale and the exhale. This noisy breathing was even more pronounced when she was asleep. We named her "Squeak" because of it.

For the first few months, she didn't purr at all and I wondered if maybe a day of crying at the top of her voice had caused damage to something inside. When she did begin purring, there is kind of a musical note as an undertone. Hard to describe, but there is the low purring and, along with it, a slightly higher note. Like stereo. I still believe the trauma of that day in the water tank caused physical damage that will last her lifetime.

When we've taken her to the vet for spaying, they are uncomfortable with sedating her because of her breathing difficulty. We had one vet actually look for the problem and she has a partially enlarged heart and chronic fluid on her lungs. So, spaying is incredibly risky and I'd rather find homes for kittens once in a while than take a chance on losing her.

She doesn't like to be held for any length of time. She allows it occasionally but only for a few

moments, then she wants DOWN. She likes to lay on Joann's chest on the couch, but only if Joann has her hands hidden under a blanket so there is no chance of touching. We don't know what that's all about but it's a part of her.

When she was younger, we used to use my sliding door shower stall as a "time out" room if she was bad. It also was a great place to confine her if we had to have the outside door open for any length of time and didn't want her outside. One day, when we were doing something outside that required an open door, I put Squeak in the shower and closed the sliding door. A few minutes later, down the outside steps she came, as if nothing had happened. When I went to check, the shower door was still closed. I put her back in and sat and waited. Within a few seconds, Squeak jumped about five feet from the tub to the sliding door frame and thus...out. Sometimes, when I was in the shower, I'd hear something thump, turn and look and find her sitting on the shower door frame, watching me.

I don't remember the first time she brought me a dead bat. I wish she'd just leave the bats alone but she likes to jump and catch them in the air. Mice, of course, have long abandoned any hope of being on THIS property. She brought me the ears and some other rabbit parts one day. I don't know if she's showing off or just thinks I suck at hunting so she has to help me out.

Joann had really bad leg cramps late one night and was in the bathroom, almost crying. Squeak came in and gave Joann a catnip mouse to help her feel better. She follows me all around the house, basically staying out of reach but watching everything I do. When I'm working in my little office, she'll often come in and sleep on the floor near me. When Joann gets her leg cramps while I'm sleeping, it's not uncommon for Squeak to come wake me up so she knows I'm aware of the situation.

Where Squeaky really shines is as a Mama. Her first kitten was born while we were out of town so we don't know what happened but it was a single kitten and was huge. It was just laying in the hallway when we got home and I don't know if it was born dead or what the story was. We wondered if she could have kittens but it wasn't long after that that her belly started to swell again. Her first live litter was born in April, 2020. Three tabby's and a calico. All four were a blast. Once they started playing, I had kittens in my shoes and slippers, kittens under the bed and under foot, kittens on the bed (or sleeping on my head) and kittens all over the living room. You'd have thought she'd had a dozen!

Not only is Squeak good and caring with her kittens but she's incredibly protective. Squeak weighs about 6 pounds and is just a tiny little ball of fluff. But when we had a friend here with dogs that Squeaky thought were a threat to her babies, she rocketed out of the house and chased both big ranch dogs away. This was during the "occupation" of Seattle and I posted on Facebook that my tiny little Mama cat had more balls than the whole city of Seattle!

She's also chased the neighbors dog clear down the street a couple of times, teaching it to stay out of our yard. Two big strays came on the place, even coming in the house a little. Without hesitation, she took them on, but they were here with evil intent, not just passing through, and if Joann hadn't been here to intervene, it might not have gone well for the little Squeak. The dogs were gone and Squeak was clear at the top of the house next door!

Two of that first litter went to another home and we had one other person who wanted one but I couldn't decide which of the last two I would give up so we kept them both. I figured, Stripe is

really old and getting kind of unhealthy. As long as Stripe was alive, we could deal with four cats in the house and after he was gone, three would be manageable. We kept Moose and Emma.

One day, after the first two had gone to new homes, all the cats were outside. We heard a big commotion and when we went out, we found that Squeak had chased a poor little black kitten up a tree. It looked to be a couple of weeks younger than her brood. We got Squeak corralled and the little black one came down and ran off.

Later, we saw that there was another feral kitten with Siamese markings. We started feeding them and trying to tame them down. Thus, we wound up with Ghost and Shadow. Shadow is the black female and Ghost is the Siamese male. They live here, now, too. Squeaky wasn't thrilled at first but she adopted them as well.

Ghost and Shadow

Since then and to date, she has had three other litters. They are all loving, gentle and athletic cats. We always ask for pictures and videos from the adopters and we've had videos of kittens going for walks with the dogs, sitting on the owners head and, my personal favorite, opening the door for themselves to come in the house.

When she had her third litter, we were sitting in the living room and Squeak came and softly patted my knee, with just the softest "mew". She did that again and then started down the hall. When I didn't get up, she came back and did it again. I followed her to the bedroom and she went straight to the bed we'd set up and began having her litter. She'd asked us for help. Everything went fine and we were just witnesses to another brood starting up.

Squeaky is the Queen of our house. She breaks up any fights between the kids and she watches over them, often just sitting quietly, keeping an eye on everybody. She loves to chase the little red light but she kind of gets run over with that today, with four other cats in pursuit!

So, there's the 411 on our little Squeak. We'll talk about the other four in future posts.

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