My Special Cat
Cat Talk|February 2021
Most of us have had that special cat—a heart cat with whom we had a deep connection. It may have been the cat we had as a child, or the one that saw us through a troubled time, or one with whom we bonded as we exhibited at cat shows. Whether the cat found us or we sought it out, those connections cannot be denied. These are the stories of some of those special cats and what they mean or meant to us.
Laurie Coughlan
From Feral to Family Figaro

Mary Kolencik

Long before I knew there were cat shows, I had a tuxedo cat named after the cat in Disney’s Pinocchio, Figaro. She was about six months old when she wandered into the yard one fall day. I was still living at home and commuting to college. Much as I wanted Figaro to come inside, we already had an inside cat, a seal point named Kitty who was not exactly fond of Figaro. My parents were also not fond of Figaro at first, not wanting another cat to feed. But Figaro hung around and I snuck food to her, so she stayed in the neighborhood, a friendly feral cat.

You probably can guess what happened next. Figaro attracted the attention of numerous toms and became pregnant in the spring. I was gleeful, and my parents relented and allowed me to bring Figaro inside to have her litter. Kitty was not pleased but was somewhat tolerant of the interloper. Figaro’s litter was my first official breeding, and she produced four adorable kittens that I will never forget—two tabby and white kittens and two calico kittens. Being a newbie, I couldn’t sex them and thought they were all boys so I named them John, Paul, George, and Ringo, the Beatles litter.

The day after the birth just happened to be Mother’s Day, and in the morning, Figaro wanted out of the house. She had been staying inside while pregnant but went out during the day for some fresh air, so I thought nothing of it and let her out. Figaro did not come back. That night I was in a total panic. How could a momma cat abandon her babies on Mother’s Day? I scoured the neighborhood for hours calling for Figaro with no luck. Kitty decided she wanted the kittens for herself and took up residence in their box, but she had no milk for them. On Monday, Figaro was still missing and I took the kittens to the vet to ask for help, which is when I found out the sexes. The vet told me about KMR and using a medicine dropper to feed the babies, and all about rubbing their tummies to get them to poop.

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