Melanie and Kittens
Melanie was a wild cat that adopted us. My cat Mittens fell in love with her and brought her home. He wouldn't allow us to get rid of her and always saved exactly half of his food for her, no matter how small of a portion I gave him. So, I gave in and started feeding her too. She ate so fast that my family jokingly nicknamed her Hoover, and that's how she was known to most people. I maintained that her name was Melanie and that's what I called her.
Melanie was pregnant when Mittens brought her home, and she took up residence in an old truck outside our yard. She started to train her kittens to fear people, but she brought them to our yard for safety, and when she was tired of them, she would bring them to me.
Her first litter consisted of two siamese like kittens, and two black ones. One of the black ones died, and so she was left with the three. Both the siamese marked ones were a lot friendlier and less spooky than the remaining black kitten, and so I made friends with them first.
Pooky was what I named the seal pointed one. He liked to hunt, and he would catch bugs and help us find salamanders all the time. He was possibly my favorite of the bunch, but after he grew up, he was bitten badly by a skunk, and shortly thereafter he disappeared.
Oliver was the lynx point and he was the shyest friendly guy I've ever seen. He had a very soft voice and was extremely gentle in nature. He enjoyed attention, but he would never come and demand it. He absolutely adored fish, and he idolized Mittens though I don't believe that feeling was reciprocated or even appreciated by the latter. Oliver endeared himself to us early on, and we were sorry to see him go when he did. He disappeared shortly after Pooky and for a short while we believed he was living with a neighbor, but we could never get it confirmed since they became hostile when I inquired. I wasn't even trying to get him back, I just wanted to make sure he was taken care of.
Dusky is what I named the little black one. She was the spookiest of the whole batch, and she would never let anyone but me near her. She took up residence with us, and she stayed near the yard most of the time. She allowed me to pet her and she would occasionally sit on my lap, but she never allowed herself to be picked up or held.
Dusky went on to later become a mother to two different batches of kittens, and she like her mother, brought all her kittens to me. Though she didn't ever try to teach them to fear people, she kept them hidden for the first three weeks of their lives before transferring them to a safe place in our yard. The first batch she picked under our porch stairs to live. This batch included Whiskers and Boo. She had four every time, it was like a magic number. And in every batch, she had two black kittens. And one black kitten died each time. It's a mystery to us why that happened, but it did.
Whiskers and Boo were both tuxedo marked black and white. And Tuffy was a grey and white tuxedo cat that my Grandma took to chase away the birds from her garden. Whiskers turned out to be the better bird cat, but she didn't mind. Rolly was the surviving black kitten and we named him that because he never wanted to stop eating. He would drink and drink his mother's milk until he was so round he looked as if he was going to burst. He too disappeared one day. I wanted to keep the two black and white tuxedo marked ones and it was under debate when I left for girls camp. When I returned, just two days before my birthday, it was to tragedy. Boo, the black and white kitten with a white stripe up his nose, had run out from under the steps just as someone was walking down them. He was stepped on, and his back was broken. No one knows just how extensive the damage was, but he died later that day. Tuffy was around for quite awhile and he lived a happy life at my Grandma's. He disappeared one day.
The next batches of kittens that she had were given to good homes and some are still living happy lives today.
Melanie gave birth to more kittens, and she always brought them to me to find homes for. One day we found her by the side of the highway. She'd been run over.