Cheaper by the dozen? Not really.
Our brood of felines, increased by seven this past spring by heartless heathens who dumped off a litter (or I suspect at least two different litters) at our place, now numbers an even dozen. It's been many years since we've had kittens around the house, as all our adults (who usually came into our lives as already grown strays) are spayed and neutered. And now, so are these. The energy and joy these kittens possess is something that we were not prepared for, and it has been our privelege to raise these little ones and watch them progress from feral felines who wouldn't let us pet them to loving, house-trained, tame kitties who are now all complete with their spays/neuters/shots and vet check-ups. Luckily, all of them are healthy, happy and completely spoiled. There were nine to begin with, but two disappeared early on. I do not know where they went. But the seven we were left with have added to our happiness immensely.
The first one (and silly me, I thought she was the only one), was Lovie. The loudest, she was discovered first, and this beautiful grey tabby stole my heart right away. A few weeks later, a lady down the road called me to ask if we had lost a kitten. I told her that was kind of funny, as by then, the others made themselves known, and I told her that we had GAINED some. She said they couldn't keep this one, and knew we had other cats. I told her that we had all we could possibly handle, and she said she would take it to a shelter in Victoria. I hated to hear that, but really, we had our hands full. Next day, she drives up in our driveway and said that the shelters were full up, and nobody would take him because he hadn't been neutered yet. She asked, could we, would we, and I said "Of course". I couldn't turn down this little orange tabby who she placed in my arms. He never uttered a peep and somehow knew he belonged here. So into the house to join his sister he went. Our Pumpkin was unmistakably a sibling to Lovie, and they stick together now always. What a sweet pair!
The other five left outside split up into factions, with two staying near the carport, and three trotting off to dad's garage and making themselves at home. The two under the carport were as wild as the South Texas wind, almost twin brown tabbies, whom I promptly named Bindi (with half a tail, which makes her so darling and precious) for the prominent orange spot on her forehead, and her sister Heart. Both have since made their way into the house and are the most playful and rambunctious of the pack.
In the garage were the trio of Hamlet (who is just about a twin to Pumpkin, only bigger and more solid), Romeo (a solid black ball of sweetness and smaller than the others) and his Juliet (a brown tabby who must be a sister to Bindi and Heart, but more petite). It wasn't long until they made their way to our home, and made it their home. Romeo is extremely easy-going and very sweet. Hamlet is much the same way, only slightly more aggresive and larger. He tends to drool when you rub his tummy, and does he love those belly rubs! Juliet is the most timid and smallest, but she loves her Romeo and they stay together. She has been progressively coming out of her shell and now we call her little red, for she has more red tones, especially around her sweet, petite face. She seems especially attached to Dad.
So there you have it. We will begin the new year as we ended the old - with a plethora of pussycats, a wonderful world of felines. They have wormed their way into the hearts of not only the human residents of this house, but the other felines and the canine as well. The other cats, put off at first by the little ones' presence, have now gotten used to them and play with them. Most of the time, all eat together in peace, and sleep together as well. What a wonderful surprise they have all become, as just a few months ago, they would go running if we even tried to get near them.
As we have joy and new life around, the Universe decided to strike a cruel balance this past month. Just two days before Christmas, our elderly, thirty-year old quarter horse, Rio Lucky, passed away. He was in the field he so loved to graze, and finally had to leave this Earth. He has been a fixture here for around 27 years. It is strange to look out to the pasture and not see him. Every day I still have an urge when I get home to call his name to hear him neigh back at me. But he is no longer there. I know he is happy wherever he may be now. He had a good, long life. He will be missed.
Happy new year, everybody. May she be a damn sight better than the last.