According to my husband, Basil, a young woman left her Siamese cat with him one wintry night while he was working at our delicatessen. Her husband had been deployed to
and she had to move in with her mother-in-law who was allergic to cats. Of course he brought her home after he closed the store and before long she settled in with our other animals – Bruno, a big, black Newfoundland; Tony, a Basset Hound; Boots, a spayed black and white female; and a neutered Calico male named Buddy. Viet Nam
Jasmine was beige with brown points and big blue eyes. She was also the most vocal cat who ever shared my home. I think Siamese cats must have spawned the word “caterwauling” which the dictionary defines as uttering “long, wailing cries, as cats in rutting time.” Jasmine caterwauled regardless of whether or not she was in heat.
Around this time we adopted a pewter gray female kitten from a friend (see The Cat With Many Aliases, 4/6/11) and named her Pandora. She had such long hair that no one noticed she was actually a he. We decided to spay Jasmine but by that time the kitten had grown and managed to get her pregnant. We renamed him Pan. Jasmine had a litter of beautiful pewter gray kittens and we found homes for all of them.
One kitten went to a young woman friend of ours who wanted company for her slightly older cat. At the time I didn’t know she had purchased a parakeet. A couple of weeks later, the parakeet was dead and the woman insisted little Shade was the culprit. I seriously doubted this because she was still just a baby and there was an adult cat in the house, but we took her back. I noticed immediately that she had a runny nose and matted eyes. I took her to the vet and was told she had a respiratory illness, so back at home I shut her in the bathroom to keep her isolated from the other animals.
Although she was on antibiotics, Shade seemed to be going downhill rapidly. Meanwhile, Jasmine had been parked outside the bathroom door and was yowling piteously. I didn’t now what to do because mother cats don’t always accept their young back, but finally I decided to simply monitor the situation and I let her in.
Jasmine immediately climbed into the bed, curled herself around Shade, and began to bathe her. Once I had given the kitten more medicine and fed her a bit with an eyedropper, I left them alone for the night. By morning Shade was improving and she continued to do so rapidly. From that time on, mother and daughter were inseparable.
Years later, when Jasmine died at age 14, Shade obviously grieved and was never quite the same. I took her to the vet because she lost her appetite and he gave some medicine, but it didn’t help. She lost weight and one morning I found her dead in her bed. I know there are some species where a male and female will mate for life, but I had never known a couple of cats, even related, would bond in that way.
Shade was only 12 but she missed her mother so much she lost the will to live.