I’ve mentioned before about the creampuff cat we’ve named Muffin. Well, he’s finally gotten a little older, and he’s not the runt of the litter anymore. He’s now a healthy size and if he has any say about it he plans to stay that way.

Or maybe get a little bigger.

Softie that I am, I try to make sure he gets a good quality of cat food, has fresh water and a warm, safe place to sleep, that is whenever he decides to stop by. As the weather has gotten cooler, he’s spent entire days and most of the night inside. Sleeping, mostly, but not always.

He wants what he considers his due – petting, praise and whatever you may be eating.

Dad has shared his liverwurst with Muffin, who loves it. He also loves tuna, turkey and even a few potato chips or french fries. I think it’s likely more the salt he’s after but that doesn’t stop him from gobbling them up and then looking around for more.

But, alas, poor Muffin now has competition.

One of the cats that roams the neighborhood had two kittens this summer. One short-haired black kitten whom I’ve taken to calling Blackjack, or Jack for short and one fluffy, long-haired black and white kitten, who I’ve named Cici (pronounced cee-cee). Her name originally was Sissy as I think she is the girl and Blackjack is the boy. It seems to be what the genetics of these wild cats have been the past two years. Every black and white one looks amazingly like its mother. What started as a couple black and white females have now turned into five or six. And since it’s always the black and white ones that are pregnant, I figure I’m fairly safe in thinking Blackjack is a he and Cici is a she.

Knowing the cycle has to end somehow, I was able to lure Blackjack and Cici onto the enclosed back porch. They were about three months old and as long as they stayed with the momma cat, they were not about to be tamed.

It has gone surprisingly well.

We bought kitten food and set up a litter box for them. There’s a rattan love seat there and a blanket. There’s even a cat-sleeping tent that I’ve had for a previous pet, but which so far they’ve ignored.

After a week or so of feeding them, cleaning out their litter box and talking to them, progress was made. At first it was being able to reach my fingers down as they ate and lightly touch their back. That was until they realized they were being touched and then both would back away with a wide-eyed look as if I had suddenly materialized next to them and they hadn’t really sat and watched me fill their dishes with food.

This went on for a few days but then Blackjack caved. I had given him a little scratch behind his ears and sure enough he liked it, just like I’d been telling him he would all along.

Cici took another week before suddenly deciding that she wanted to know why Blackjack was purring so loudly.

Now when I open the door to the porch, both come running and want to be petted at the same time. It took another week or so for them to allow Dad to lightly pet them while I’ve progressed to rubbing bellies and roughhousing with Cici. While they play, neither uses their claws or bites. It’s as if they’ve adopted me into their family. I’m no longer the enemy.

My goal is to find homes for Blackjack and Cici. Muffin, of course, hopes that is sooner rather than later.

The kittens absolutely love him. They see him and run to his side. They’ll nudge their head next to his or try to lick his ears. He wants nothing to do with them other than to empty out their dish because their food tastes different from his. It’s as if he thinks he’s missing out on something really good. When they come inside to check out his dish, he goes out to empty theirs.

Momma cat hasn’t fussed about these two kittens not being with her any more. She had already started leaving them for long periods of time before I brought them onto the porch. She only came to the porch door to meow and let us know she was hungry. We began feeding her at a lower deck door to separate her even more from the kittens. We didn’t need to be concerned because it was just the food she wanted.

Muffin, of course, was willing to help her with that. It doesn’t seem to matter that they both get the exact same cat food in their dishes. The taste must change when it passes over the threshold, becoming something wonderful and different once it is put in the plastic dish outside. Muffin can be inside but let him see you open the door to feed momma cat, and he’s right there putting his big head in the bowl. Of course, if she nudges against him too much, especially if her dish is empty, then he simply either runs back inside or takes off for parts unknown.

I’m not sure where he goes but Dad and I speculate that he’s got another family somewhere who feeds him and gives him a warm place to sleep. Although he might not be as well fed since as soon as he steps foot in the house he heads for his dish and then to Dad to be petted and fussed over. Then again, maybe he’s just spoiled.

And so the months have gone by.

Recently as Dad and I were feeding and talking with the kittens, I heard a sound. Just for a moment and then silence. Dad hadn’t heard anything so I thought maybe I was imagining it or maybe it was a bird or the wind. So I promptly forgot about it.

But earlier this past week, that sound was heard again. This time I was standing in the doorway to an outside deck feeding momma cat and there it was – the sound of a very, very young kitten meowing. I looked around but didn’t see anything.

Maybe it’s the kittens on the porch, Dad suggested. But I know how they meow and it wasn’t the same. No, this sound didn’t come from on the porch; it came from beneath it. But no matter how I squinted, I could not make out any movement in the darkness under the porch. I watched momma cat and while I had the door open she’d come down to see what food I was going to bring out. Once the door closed, she quickly made her way back under the porch.

Momma cat had to have had another litter, I told Dad.

The first thought for both of us was now what do we do. With winter approaching, now is not the best time to have young ones. Will they survive outside in freezing temperatures during the winter months?

Friday, we got our first glimpse of the small family as momma cat slept with her three – yes three – little kittens curled up against and on top of her.

Dad had seen the feline family first before showing them to me. “I’m a great, great, great grandpa,” Dad said. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

He took me to the window of the room that faces the lower deck and the side of the porch. There just outside the opening under the porch was the bundle of fur that was momma cat and her brood.

If he’s a great-great-great grandpa, I’m not sure what that makes me but I told if he is, then he needs to get his “children” and “grandchildren” under control.

I can’t wait to see how Muffin handles this development!

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