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Dimig's House of Animals

Rachel

The Story

In April of 2001, my husbands cat, Roxy, disappeared. One night we had some dinner guests over and we had left the back door open. Apparently, she slipped out the screen. We didn't realize she was missing until the next morning. We spent weeks and weeks looking for her. Night after night we'd walk the the streets calling her name in hope that she'd come to us. We never did find her.

In early June, we had talked about getting a new cat but never did really decide on it. Finally, on our trip home from Hawaii in late June/early July, Bryan decided that he wanted another black female cat like Roxy. He mentioned this to his friend, Bob. Bob said that his neighbors had some black cats that they were giving away and that he'd check to see if they were female. That night, we came home to our cat Tiger who had three kittens and their mother with him. We wound up keeping one of those kittens. (See Blinky's story)

A few days later, Bob called and said that he got us a little, black, female kitten from his neighbor. At first Bryan hesitated about having 3 cats, but he really wanted a black, female kitten, so he decided to keep her. After all, Tiger was pretty much outside all the time anyway.

It took us a little while to decide on a name for her. Bryan wanted something that began with an R that sounded kind of like Roxy. The closest thing that we came up with was Rachel.

Rachel has been with us for a little over a year now. She has had two litters of kittens. One litter was very recently, September 15 & 16, 2002. Both litters were by accident.

The first litter happened because our daughter, Amanda, let her cat, Cinder (who is male), in after we told her not to. She had four: 3 males and a female. They were all black. The female and one of the males had long hair, and 2 of the males had short hair. When the kittens were four weeks old, the female accidently got killed. It broke my heart because the accident was my fault and she was my favorite of the four. We kept the long haired male and named him Fuzzy. And the other two we gave away by sitting in front of our local grocery store.

The second litter happened because one night when my husband and his friend Bob were partying, Rachel slipped out and had a party of her own. I was out of town overnight visiting relatives and came home the next day two find Rachel with 3 male cats surrounding her. Sure enough, 9 weeks later, we have kittens. This time she's had 2 black and white, and one solid black. She had a hard time with this litter it took her two days. She had the black and white kittens on the evening of September 15 and she had the black kitten on the morning of the 16th. We don't plan to keep any of these kittens, and they are two young to determine their sex.

Moral of this story, get your cat spayed or neutered! Seems like we would have learned after the first time.

Care Sheet

Origin

It is believed that cats originated from Egypt.

Feeding

Cats are nibblers and they would prefer to have food available to them 24 hours a day. The best way to feed your cat is to provide dry food 24 hrs a day by way of a self feeder (a large covered container that holds a lot of food) or by keeping dry food in a dish. It's best to put the fresher food on the bottom. If your cat does not like or had a hard time eating dry food, you can moisten the food by adding a little water. You probably shouldn't leave moistened food for more then a day because it can get hard and sometimes even moldy. You can supplement this feeding by giving your cat a small can of wet food once or twice a day or even once in a while as a treat. Do not give your cat only wet food because wet food is mostly meat and is not a complete balanced diet for your cat. DO NOT give your cat milk. Milk has lactose in it and can cause your cat to have diarrhea. If you really want to give your cat "milk" as a treat, give your cat a milk substitute or formula instead. You can find various healthy milk substitutes for cats in the pet aisle of your local grocery store. Also, always provide a fresh bowl of water for your cat every day.

Environment

A cat would probably prefer to sleep with you. Other places they would like to sleep is in your window sill, on your couches or chairs, or an in our case, on top of snake tanks. If you want to designate a specific area for your cat to sleep, you can try offering them a bed made of a box and an old pillow or you can purchase a cat bed from your local pet store.
If your cat will be an indoor cat, you should provide a litter box for him/her. The litter box should be scooped daily and the litter should be changed about once a week. Maybe more if it starts to smell bad or if you have more then one cat. You don't need to purchase a real expensive litter. We use Johnny Cat for multiple cats, which is very reasonably priced, and we have found that it works very well.
Cats are very active and very courious. You should provide your cat with a variety of toys. I have found that cats prefer toys with cat nip in them, toys made of animal fur, or toys with bells. The smaller the toy the better. But don't get a toy that is so small that your cat may swallow it. You will find that cats will play with just about anything though. One favorite with our cats is the little plastic piece that you peel off of milk jug lids. They just love those!
Also, cats love to sharpen their claws. They will use about anything to do it with to, especially your furniture, drapes, etc. It's probably best to provide your cat with a scratching post made of wood and carpet, or of some other kind of material. Something for them to scratch on rather then your furniture. We have provided our cats with a multiple level scratching post. They love this because cats also love to climb.

If you would like to read more about cats. I have found that "Cat's In The House!" is a very fun and informative site to explore.