In October 2003 a nest of feral cats was disturbed in my back yard. The backyard was ½ acer so there was a lot of growth by the time the lawn man found time for me. It was a time when San Antonio still got autumn rains and the beautiful wild flowers of fall had to die down before they could mow. I had been feeding a beige cat, a bit fluffy and what would be called oatmeal colored with a few brown tips. She was pretty, and I wanted her to trust me enough so I could catch her and get her spayed. I did not want more homeless cats to suffer and I was tired of suffering for them.
The lawn man scooped up a black and white kitten thinking it was mine and it escaped from the house and put it on the back steps. He told me later that it ran away. That night we had a cold rain, another of the last cold October rains we would have. About 2 am my cats became quite disturbed and woke me; it was then that I heard this little screech outside the window. My cats were jumping from my bed to the window sill and I could not sleep. I put on the lights and went outside in the rain and found a little gangly black and white cat caught between a Lantana shrub and the fence. He was wedged in tight. He was soaked and frightened. I picked up the little mite and brought him inside. Dried him off with a towel and held him to warm him. My big cats were sniffing him and Scholar and Inkee began licking him. The little guy calmed down. He was a baby and had no real teeth yet. I had no baby formula and it was 2 am. So I put him on another dry towel and he fell asleep. At 6 am the next morning I went to the local grocery store and bought the only can of milk replacer. Having raised many throw away kittens I had plenty of bottles. The replacer had weevils! I had to sift them out since that was the only can and poor baby needed food. He downed 2 bottles of formula and
fell asleep in my lap.
That Sunday was spent fretting about this baby- I did not need another cat - I had four. In 2002 I lost my most beloved companion cat Hodges. I was devastated at his death and still have a grief that will not go away today.
The next day I bought some fresh replacer from the vet and gave this baby his morning bottle and when I got home from work his evening bottles. He would not sleep in the bed for the first 3 days, but that Thursday night I heard him thump down from the sofa and climbed up to my bed and got comfy on my pillow and purred until he went to sleep. He grew fast and with in the month had ventured to the big cats food, He also made his trips to the litter box. Doing a stretch climb into it and a thump out of it after he finished his business, I put a cigar box step for him and he used it. Each evening when I came home from work he came for his bottle. I’d crush fleas since he was too young for the flea medication. One evening I crushed nine fat fleas. In December the vet said he was old enough for the flea stuff. It took two applications for all those fleas to be gone.
Punkee thrived and grew to be a long, tall lanky cat that looked like some naughty child got him with a paint brush. He was cute but no real “cat” beauty. He was, though, sweet and a love bug.
I continued to feed his mother and his sister outside. One day I got the sister inside but she went so wild that keeping her in would not be possible. I let her out and continued to feed them.
Months after I caught then released her. I heard a plaintive loud cry at my front door. It chilling to hear. I looked outside and there was sister cat. She had brought two tiny kittens and laid them side by side on the door mat. She sat there and cried. I came out and she did not run away. I patted her head, and picked up a baby and felt it was cold, held it close to my ear and heard no heart beat blew into its nose and mouth rubbed it a bit to stimulate it but nothing worked on either of the little mirrors of their mother. I was in tears at this point. Mama cat sat there and I told her I could not save them. She rubbed my leg, cried, and ran off. I prepared them for a burial. Under my bedroom window where I found Punkee 6 months before. I wrapped them in white hankies and used a beautiful stepping stone to mark their grave. I cried the whole time. I did see her watch me from the garden the whole time. She sat there after I left to go inside it had started to sleet. I called her and hoped she would come in now but she did not. I never saw her again. But, I have Punkee who does not look like his mother or sister except for the few longer white hairs that he is getting as he ages. His sister and mother disappeared. I moved that year in August. The person who bought my house asked about the stone in the garden and he has kept it there since when I told him the story of Punkee’s sister.