Posts Tagged ‘relationship second chances’

Sluggo during her "modeling" phase

Maybe I should be  jealous.  She’s cute, small yet has quite the big personality.  She’s looking svelte after a plump phase…and my husband dotes on her whenever she appears. Which, to Roger’s chagrin, is not as often as it used to be.  She’s his furry girlfriend—the other woman.  And there is a lot of history tied into that small bundle of energy known as Sluggo, Slugg Mamma or just…The Slugg.

If you were to look for a definition of a feral cat, you would have seen her picture and a description:  a wide-eyed tortoiseshell calico, wiry, looking for a quick handout and a place to raise her many litters of young.  Yes, for nearly two years this diminutive female was one major kitten-producing machine.

At first, we did not know how to deal with her—which, we actually thought a him, given the cat’s demeanor towards the other ferals: quite the ball buster who took no attitude from other felines or …dogs.  Aptly named Sluggo, at first we didn’t realize that the saggy belly was NOT due to extra fur.  We were so unschooled in handling pregnant cats, and we didn’t realize she was “with kittens” until the first litter: Pumpkin and Junior.  Then the second…Tawny, Blackie, Minnie Me.  Then the last…Chewie, Puffy, Bear and Corrina.

Oyyy…we feared the cat population growing exponentially.  And since we did not want to become the neighborhood cat maternity ward, Roger began to feverishly research ways to humanely trap her for spaying. Yes, you could rent or buy these specialized traps, but Roger just did not like that idea. Our first attempt was a failure: Roger constructed this large, cage-like area on the property.  But the idea was too unwieldy and I was not available to help at the needed crucial moment to close the door—so she escaped and hurt her ear in the process.  Now permanently bent, we both felt really bad over that fiasco. 

That slice-of-life experience was a great looking glass into how available I am and have tended to be over the course of my relationship with Roger.  Sometimes the image reflected back is not very pretty.  

In my mind at the time, I was busily preparing to travel for paid performance gigs south of Denver, in Colorado Springs.  Couldn’t this trapping wait another day or week? I had a week’s worth of early rising, and I had to be well rested for the drive and to perform optimally.  But in my husband’s mind, this was the perfect opportunity to catch this kitten bearer.  And she got away—and stayed away for nearly three months—due, in part, to my not being available.

Sluggo Today

While we both realize we should have done something to curb the kitten producing from the outset, Roger took this lack of forward movement as a personal reflection of his inability to handle life’s circumstances.  And my not being available to help when he was so close to resolving this issue just added to the emotional maelstrom…  As a life partner, I should have realized that my sacrifice in rest would have been greatly offset by  my contribution to marital accord.  Hindsight is always clearer…

POSTSCRIPT:  Roger finally did catch Sluggo—with another type of trap “box,” researched on the internet—and had her fixed late fall 2009. 

 And partially out of guilt and to make amends, somewhat, I’ve continued to indulge my husband’s predilections for wanting the do the right thing…  That is why I agreed to bring the partially feral  Blackie inside the home after Minnie Me died..which created quite a bit of havoc with the cat hierarchy.  But I put my foot down—literally and figuratively—when he started campaigning to bring Sluggo inside.  Seriously?!  A nearly 100% feral female into a home with one woosy poosy and four half brothers?  Roger will just have to be satisfied with feeding his furry girlfriend out in the courtyard.

Just for fun, the cat timeline:

August 2007: Tigger born

November 2007: Adopt the Tiggster from Dumb Friends League

May 2008: Junior and Pumpkin born

December 2008: Blackie, Tawny and Minnie Me born

June 2009: Pumpkin is gone (doesn’t return)

June 2009: Chewie, Puffy, Corrina and Bear born; August they make their debut

September 2009: socialize the June brood; a friend adopts Corrina and Bear

Late fall 2009: Roger trapped and had Sluggo spayed.

January 2010: Minnie Me dies (hit by car) and Tawny is gone

June 2010: Take in Blackie

August 2010 – June 2011: caretake Fuzzy (in courtyard and garage throughout the winter)

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