Wednesday, July 28, 2010

4 Cats, Part 3

THE BIG THING:  


As Plague and Pestilence came as a team, so did War and Famine...  As their names suggest, they go together like death and taxes.  They are so connected that it is hard to tell their stories separately.  So I will basically tell their mutual story and War’s here and give Famine her own tomorrow.
War and Famine: Dan worked graveyard shift at an onion and garlic drying mill.  In the middle of November, 1993, he relieved the swing shift supervisor who told him about the box with the two kittens that had come though the garlic line.

Now, you have to understand about garlic processing.  It is a very mechanical process with lots of machinery involved.  The garlic is kept in a huge warehouse in long mounds about 5 feet high.  A bulldozer scoops up a couple of tons of garlic bulbs and drops them into a machine called a tipplehopper (love the name).  This machine shakes the garlic bulbs down onto a wire mesh that shakes dirt, small rocks, other small junk, while a huge hooded vacuum sucks up the chaff (called "shook") and dust. 

The garlic shakes its way across to another machine, called a star separator, which is like a rotating wheel over a long, narrow slit, where long sticks can drop through.  Then onto a conveyor belt where, the last thing before going into a quick hot bath to take off the skin, real, live humans pick over the garlic to remove larger rocks, coke cans, and the occasional critter (ahem).  The line worker picked up the first kitten, then dropped it, thinking it was a rat.  Realized it was a baby kitten and removed it.  Pretty soon, along came another one.  It is absolutely amazing that they survived with all their appendages intact.


Their origin was utterly unknown...

The kittens were put in a box, the day shift supervisor promised to look for someone to take them, and Dan went home.  He was getting a cold and went to bed.  Just before the end of the day shift (another eight hours), he called to find out if they had found a home for the kittens.  Nope.  Dan got out of his sick bed and went to rescue the kittens.  Ann and Dan met at the vet's office.  Each kitten had one eye open, and the vet said they were about two weeks old.  They decided the kittens should have a Halloween birthday.  The male weighed less than 6 ounces, and the vet wasn't sure he'd make it.  They got shots, and Ann and Dan took home medicine and kitten formula.

WAR:  They named the little male kitty War cuz “he looked like he'd been through the wars”.
War was really an average cat.  He always walked with his tail held high, and was a happy cat.  He eventually got up to about 17 pounds.  His head was bigger than he was when they first got him.  He was nothing special until they moved to the country and let the cats go outside (they had been strictly indoor cats until then.  He could triangulate the exact spot on the floor where he would most be in the way (reminds me of Iza’s talent for that).  And one day Ann was making dinner.  She turned around and War was sitting there with a gopher at his feet! 
We have all read that a cat won't learn to make a kill if it doesn't learn it from its mother.  Well, we all know it ain't so.  War was a champion gopher getter and no one taught him. Ann and Dan learned more about the local rodentia than they ever wanted to know!  They learned to trade the rodents for canned kitty treats (everybody got some, no matter who brought in the not-always-dead prey).  He was easy-going and undemanding, with no real peculiarities.

His nicknames were “Mr. Tail”, “Beeg Boy”, “Handsome”, and “Speed Bump”.

He died July 11, 2010 at 16 years old.

17 comments:

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

Another great story!
Dan was so wonderful to wake up thinking of those kits and then to go and bring them home like that!
How scary they went through that automated garlic system but they were so little they probably just rolled & bounced around not knowing anything different!
What a good and mighty hunter!

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

We just noticed that the cat yesterday and today's cat both went to The Bridge within a month of each other. How heartrending for Dan & Ann to lose both so close together. Our hearts truly go out to you.

Brian said...

They really, really do have amazing stories, each baby was so unique and special.

AFSS said...

Wow, what a rough start War and Famine had and how lucky they were to find Ann and Dan.

WE are MOL about the gopher. Our Mommy would have had a conniption fit.

Jacqueline said...

What an amazing Gotcha story!...War was an excellent hunter and a handsome boy...Ann and Dan have lost 2 kitties in 5 weeks=just heartbreaking for them...I hope they can invite another kitty or two into their big hearts again soon...xo...J, Calle, Halle, Sukki

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Amazing. War and Famine survived all that as babies and lived 17 years. Can't wait to read Famine's story. Sounds like War was a great hunter. And he loved to give prezzies. Smart kitty, trading them for treats. :)

We figure tomorrow's story is going to be a real tearjerker since Ann and Dan recently lost 3. :(

Cheysuli and gemini said...

What a great story. I am so sad to learn that war died so soon after Pestilence. That must have been hard on their people.

AnnDee said...

I say, without fear of contradiction, he was the best War in the world.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

Another wonderful tale. I'm glad his kitteh friends were there to greet him when he crossed the bridge. But we feel very sorry for Ann & Dan.

Like Jacqueline, we hope there will be more kittehs in their lives one day soon. So many kittehs need the love of people like these wonderful kitteh parents!

Katnip Lounge said...

Wonderful War! What a great Cat, hunting to provide for the family...how nice to see he was a happy cat despite his dicey beginnings. We hope he's happily persuing gaphers, et al, with gusto over the Bridge.

The Island Cats said...

What a great story! War was quite the kitty! We're sorry he has gone to the Bridge, but it sounds like he lived a great life!

Cory said...

Each and every cat is a miracle and Was is a super miracle! Thanks for sharing his amazing story.

We are keeping the purrs going for Ann and Dan.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

We was gonna hold da comments until we heard alla der stories but den...I SAW DAT WAR HAF ONE OF MY NICKNAMES! Daddy calls me "speed bump" cuz my name is Speedy and I will run and run den suddenly stop and fall over just as he is coming down da hall and I just become a speed bump! Dem kitties is all good kitties. Can't wait to hear Famine's story.

Keisha said...

Those were good kitties. :)

Lisa, Jack and Baby said...

RIP, big boy. What a miraculous rescue and life you had.

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

There is nuffin wrong in being ordinary. Ordinary is good and lovable and nice. We fink “Mr. Tail” was gorjuss.
Wot a miracle those kittens survived the machinery ~ and how wonderful they went on to have a loving forever home.

Amy and The House of Cats said...

What a great story about War - and as we have said, so great that you are remembering all four kitties this week! We are sending lots of comforting purrs and prayers to their mom and dad - it is so sad that they had to go to teh bridge so close together.