Him and Her

To reach my posts about the dear kittens, we must first introduce the daddy…

Meet Buttons. He didn’t come along till we had Patience for almost a year.  And he got to know her for quite a while before they mated.

When we first started seeing Buttons, he was coming into the yard to have food. Every time we’d open the door, he’d run. he was very skittish, and apparently had not had good experiences with humans. He slowly learned that we were not trying to scare him away. He soon would sit on the fence and stare at us. It was a little while of gaining trust before we were able to start touching him. Slowly, as he learned that we both were providing food and meant no harm, he warmed up to us. The only thing we never mastered was being able to hold him for much time. We got to the point where we could pick him up, but we never tried holding him for long. He almost always went around with this alarmed look on his face, which is funny to see looking back at these pictures.

We’d only saw Buttons in the evening. He would jump over the fence and march around the house to the patio at six o’ clock sharp; rolling his call. He never said, “meow”. What he said was ‘Mreow’ and it was rolled, like some foreign accent. After dinner we’d go outside and pet him. He always came at six o’ clock. When it was summer, there was still light outside, so we could hang out with the cats outside. In winter, it would be dark when he arrived, but it was always six o’ clock.

Buttons was never fully relaxed around us till the kittens came. As you can see in the picture, Patience is completely at ease. Although Buttons was letting me lay next to him and pet him, you can see that he is still at the alert. But he was tamer, not so skittish, and even affectionate at times.

The kittens didn’t come along for a while. Patience’s first batch of kittens (three) all died the night they were born because she hadn’t known what to do. When we found them in the morning, it was too late. I’m not sure if Buttons fathered that batch or not…but either way, they had to start all over.

Buttons was a very handsome cat; he was black and white; with black on his tail, his back, and his face. But he was always dusty or had scratches on his nose or face, so it’s easy to guess he was always fighting. We soon learned there was another cat hanging around our neighborhood. It was bigger and black all over, and it never came in the daylight (that I recall). At night we’d sometimes hear the two fighting in the backyard over the food or property rights. Dad would run out in his bathrobe carrying a flashlight and the be be gun, but I don’t think he ever nailed Noodles; that’s what we called the black bully.

Buttons was a gentleman. He never ate before Patience (or the kittens, when they came along). He always waited his turn patiently. Oh, see his scratched face above?

This picture was taken not long before Patches and Mittens were born. He was much more used to us by then, and we were brushing, petting and touching him was ease. But, like I said, we just didn’t hold him for long. He preferred being dirty, because right after I brushed him in this picture, he went and rolled in the dirt. Very annoying. I’m 11 in the picture above.

I read a lot outside back then, so the cats would sometimes sit with me while I read. Sometimes it was annoying, but I enjoyed it most times. I laughed when I found this picture; a cat on either side of me. I wish I knew what I was reading…probably a Boxcar book….

So these are the nicest shots of the lovely little ‘courtship’ between Patience and Buttons….

~Jamie Joyce



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