Last month, I put up a blog post about the "kittens," Magic and Mystic, on the occasion of their tenth birthday. And I promised to come back and tell you a little bit more about their mother, Minerva. (Pictured above.)
I went looking for pictures of Minerva (or Mina, and I sometimes call her) and realized that there were a LOT more of the other cats than there are of her. In part, that is because she is very shy, and runs away when she sees the camera. In part, it is because she is usually curled up with one or the other of her babies, as you can see below. (With Magic.)
Minerva's story is a sad one, but it has a happy ending. When I first saw her, she was at the shelter with four kittens--the kittens were in great shape, but she was sickly and terrified. The volunteers who ran the shelter told me that she'd been brought in by some "white trash people" (their words, not mine, although you do get a certain mental image from these phrase...) who handed her over, still large with the kittens inside her, and said, "This damned cat got pregnant. You take her." I just hope these folks didn't have teenagers...
[Pause to insert: PLEASE have your animals spayed or neutered. Thank you.]
That was a couple of months before I met her, of course. The shelter kept her until she had the kittens and they were old enough to adopt out. But the shelter workers were afraid that no one would want the mama cat (then named "Patsy" if you can believe it) because she'd had a rough time during the pregnancy and was sickly and very skittish. They thought it was possible she'd been abused, too. When I decided to adopt Magic and Mystic, they offered (pleaded, really) to throw in Minerva as a "bonus"--waiving the usual adoption fee and charge for shots.
I said I'd think about it, and make a decision when I came back the final time to pick up the kittens. But I really didn't intend to take her--not until I got back there and saw that they had moved the remaining kittens (my 2 and 1 other that was being picked up that afternoon) to a separate cage, right next to hers. If you could have seen that mama cat, alone in her cage, terrified and gazing with longing at her babies...well, SHIT, you would have taken her too. Yes, I know. I've got a neon sucker sign in the middle of my forehead. Those shelter people clearly saw me coming :-)
So I brought my little family home. (By way of a visit to the vet for tests, and medicine for poor Minerva.) I think it is very possible that the shelter folks were right about her having been abused, since she was extremely skittish and untrusting. It look me TWO YEARS to get her to sit on my lap. Of course, these days, she always wants to be there, so I'm guessing she's adjusted okay.
Minerva still doesn't come out of the bedroom when strangers are here (and strangers are anyone she doesn't see on a regular basis), but she snuggles with me all the time, and still adores her babies. I've never regretted bringing home my "bonus kitty." And I'm pretty sure she's okay with it too.