One of my favorite films growing up was a screwball-style comedy starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn called "Bringing Up Baby." The "baby" in question was a leopard, and the fun ensues as socialite Katherine Hepburn tries to convince paleontologist Cary Grant to help her handle the big cat.
My husband and I are in somewhat of a similar predicament, but without the paleontologist. A recent rescue to our home, a lovely calico cat named Minerva, turned out to be a rescued pregnant cat.
That in itself isn't too odd, I know, but being responsible pet owners, we have always gotten our animals spayed and neutered, and it was when we were taking Minerva in for just this procedure that we discovered she was pregnant.
Did I mention we've always had our pets spayed and neutered? We've never had any animal that was pregnant, let alone one that was about to give birth to anywhere from 4 -- 6 babies.
So we followed the guidelines and gave Minerva extra protein, and watched as she progressively got bigger, waiting for the fateful day when our brood would just about double in size overnight. And on June 5th, it did just that, as Minerva had five healthy kittens. Now, for whatever reason, she had them upstairs, in the loft - which is a 12 foot drop to the floor. So, being the good grandma I thought myself to be, I gathered up the kittens and moved them to a comfy, plush box downstairs, at ground level.
How silly humans are, when we deign to interfere with nature. No sooner had I gotten the babes settled into their new surroundings, then here comes Mama Minerva, carrying them back up the stairs, one by one.
So, we then went into safety mode, laying extra sheets and pillows and other soft items at the lip of the loft edge, in case we had an escapee. But for the first few weeks, everyone stayed put and all was well.
Until last week that is -- when the babes decided that there was a big world out there worth exploring. Apparently Minerva sensed the danger and made the decision to finally move them down to ground level.
Now mind you, they aren't walking very well yet, so they sort of creep along the floor. Imagine my husband's surprise when he opened the door after working out in the garden and five mewling kittens, crawling along the floor and headed in his direction, met his gaze. It was sort of like a furry zombie movie, just cuter.
They have since gotten progressively bolder, wandering around the house and checking out the area, much to the dogs' dismay. We're constantly on alert, to be sure we don't trip over a furry speed bump, or lift a shoe off the floor to find a furry passenger along for the ride.
Now I understand why parents complain about babies when they start crawling -- all of a sudden, you have to look at everything a little bit differently, to ensure that there isn't anything they can get into that will hurt them.
My friend Megan, who has raised many a babe, from human to cow to goat and everything in between, assures me that they'll be fine. And in a few weeks, they'll be heading home with good friends to new surroundings. But until then, Strider, Houdini (guess who escaped first?), Dartagnan, Clyde and Snausage (guess who has a big appetite?), will be bringing funny moments and laughs to our lives, one meow at a time.