Back in 1995, a graduate student found a thin, scraggly cat wondering around her apartment complex. She already had a cat, and her lease wouldn’t let her have two, so she called a colleague of mine. He already had two cats, and his wife wouldn’t let him have three, so he called me. I promptly showed up with a carrier and pulled the frightened, hungry cat out from under a chair in his office. Her fur was in terrible condition. After a few days of quiet, safety, and food, however, it became clear that she was a beautiful tabby with classic markings. After a visit to the vet, moreover, it became clear that she was pregnant.
Trini, as my Power-Ranger inspired kids called her, grew to the size of a basketball by October, when she gave birth to five kittens. Three were boys—or maybe I should say BOYS. George grew to be 28 pounds; Simba, 18 pounds. We gave away one of the boys, who grew to be Simba’s size. Trini and her family dominated our household for ten years, when, within just a few months, Trini, George, and Simba died of rare forms of cancer.
Two of the kittens were girls. They remain healthy. Jackie misses her mother and brothers, not only because she is no longer part of a ruling family but because they all remained close. Trini continued to befriend, bathe, and discipline her children all through her life, even when they were twice her size. But Jackie has adjusted and seems content. Here she is in her favorite spot, on a perch on the cat tree in our sunroom overlooking the pool.