By the time the kittens were six months old, I had a major decision to make. Not including mother, I had three girls and two boys and they were about to come into season. The last thing I needed was a load of in-bred kittens!
Firstly, there was Yinyin. From what I could understand, she was possibly about four years old and had had probably at least three litters. If she carried on, it would kill her. I approached Tammy about this. Surprisingly, she agreed to cover the cost of Yinyin being neutered. With cash in hand, I took her to the local vet for the operation. Apparently, so I was told, she was pregnant again, so they terminated the pregnancy. The foetus’ were just a few days old. They didn’t bother to ask me whether I wanted them to continue and terminate the pregnancy. Still, once home the difficult part was keeping Yinyin from going out. I had to put her in the cage for a few days. That was emotionally hard work.
One day, I was told that the RSPCA were offering free neutering for cats. Only one snag, well, two actually. First, the deal was only in Cornwall and second, you had to live in Cornwall. i.e. Have an address. The first part was easy; I’d simply drive to Cornwall. The second bit was not so easy. I decided to drive down to St. Columb Major where the main RSPCA rescue centre is and blag it.
I arrived there in the evening, so had to find a place to park for the night. In the morning, I popped back to the centre. I found that the reception was manned by a number of women. I told them that I had heard that they were neutering cats without charge. One of the receptionists explained that they didn’t do the operations. They give out a voucher to be presented to a vet anywhere in Cornwall. “OK“, I said, ”I have five beautiful black kittens that need neutering.” This statement got every female within earshot attentive! I was then told that the deal was applicable for female cats only. That news was a bit of a bummer, but OK, three out of five was good. But now the difficult bit. Where do I live? I then proceeded to explain that I am a traveller, so don’t have an address and that I spend a lot of time wandering around Cornwall. Before they had a chance to deny me, I continued and told them the story you have now read of how these amazing little black kittens came into my life. That did the trick! They were falling over themselves to get to see the kittens! Their excuse, of course, was that they needed to verify the sex of each kitten. Not only did I get the vouchers, one for each, but I was also loaded up with an armful of tins, biscuits and other treats. Enough junk food to last them a year! I found a local vet and allowed the operation to happen, handing over the vouchers.
I hung around Cornwall for a bit. Not before too long, I heard that the Cats Protection League were doing a deal on neutering. They were offering a large discount on the cost. Luckily, the operation for toms is much simpler and therefore a damned sight cheaper. I went for it. It only cost me £10 for both toms.
It was also about time this lot were named:
I’ll start with the two boys. I went for two of my favourite gods; Weyland the Smithy, forger of the Earth and Hurn the Hunter. Hurn was by far the largest of the kittens. He was also a prolific hunter. That kitten hardly ever ate with his siblings. He would go out and not come home until he had a rabbit to eat. Once he’d tucked that away, he was off to get another. That boy was full on. He could have two or three rabbits a day! One time, he had a hare! But he couldn’t get it through the catflap! So had to make do with eating it outside.
As for the girls, I went for the trilogy; Mind, Body and Soul;
For Mind, I gave one the name Raven. The Raven is a highly intelligent bird. It can solve puzzles just by looking at the problem. Like the cat, it is often kept as a familiar. It is also often depicted with a third eye.
For Body, I gave another one the name Rowan. The Rowan (or Mountain Ash) is said to represent the body of the Woman. It’s flowers are white (virginity) and the berries, red (womanhood).
For Soul, I gave the other one the name Arian. The name is shortened. It comes from Arianrhōd, the goddess of the Mother Earth Soul.