#Caturday post: Julianne and Norbert


My cat Julianne used to be a very tiny cat. I could always tell her from her brother Derek, who had similar orange-and-white markings, because she was so tiny. But then Derek got Julianne pregnant.

Julianne gave birth to two kittens and got ‘stuck.’ I took her to the vet when no progress had been made. The vet gave Julianne a caesarian section to get the two dead kittens out, and neutered her. She thought Julianne was just a 6-month kitten due to her size, but she was two years old at the time.

I brought Julianne home from her surgery, but her kittens had not taken in food because they would not accept artificial feeding. Julianne was too groggy to get them started nursing, and by the time she was able to be a mommy again, her kittens were already doomed. They no longer thought of mommy as a food source. Both died.

Julianne was very sad about it. I cuddled her a lot. There were no other kittens around for her to expend maternal energy on, except for Norbert.

Norbert was six months old. She was the only-child kitten daughter of mama cat Umberto, who was herself an only-child kitten. Norbert was born on the feast day of St. Norbert, also known as D-Day, June 6th.

I solved Julianne’s problem by showing Norbert to her and saying ‘that’s your kitten.’ Julianne fell for it. She cuddled with Norbert all the time. She still does. She even cuddles with Eleanor, a younger unrelated cat who has similar calico markings to Norbert. (Norbert has a white stripe on the nose, Eleanor has a black nose and bites me to show affection.) Also, since Julianne got neutered she has grown. She no longer can ‘pass’ as a kitten, and sometimes I even mistake her for Derek when they are not together.

What about Derek? He is now the Head Tomcat in Charge. His sister Julianne doesn’t like it when he’s getting romantic with other cats, so she hisses at him when he’s being a tomcat. Derek gets along with all the other cats, now that I’ve started neutering male kittens before they get old enough to be all manly. Derek doesn’t know that if we have a really cute male kitten this year, it’s going to be him instead of the kitten that gets neutered— we need to have a young, vigorous Head Tomcat so he can chase off all the neighbor tomcats that might be coming around to eat our cat food and mate with our unneutered lady barncats.

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