Mama Kitty Waheed

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That is her name and what she was. Our neighbor Decky refused to accept this (we thought appropriate) name and called her Fifi since she was so petite (more like "emaciated" from all the kittens).

5 kittens (Abdul Aziz, Abdul Wahab, Abdul Raheem, Kinsa, and Maliouba [from a previous litter])

Mama Kitty (a.k.a. Fifi) nursing her five kittens: 3 orange Abduls, a little gray Kinsa and Maliouba, aged 5 months (bigger than Mama Kitty at that point).

Born: we think around 2000

Moved In: Fall 2002


  • food

  • people (especially kids)

  • man cats


  • being confined


  • getting knocked up

  • eating wild life to sustain herself (she once downed an entire bird, feathers and all, in the course of three minutes)

Foster Story: The first neighbor we met in Ypsilanti was a scrawny orange cat that was clearly a stray if we’d ever seen one. Her fur was thin and dull. Her bones stuck out. But, she was remarkably friendly. Wendy noticed she appeared to be nursing and we tried for days to locate her litter. She kept disappearing into the yard of one of the neighboring condos. It turned out, she lived there! This family was immigrants from a land where cats aren’t treated quite the way they are in America. Well, they weren’t from China or Korea, so they weren’t likely to eat the cat, but they didn’t see a need to spay her either. We learned that she’d already had something like 4 litters of cats (people had lost count awhile before) in her approximately two years of life. This most recent litter of kittens was set out to fend for themselves at about 6 weeks. Mama Kitty (her family hadn’t thought to name her either) brought the kittens to the shade of our bush (yes, our one bush in the front yard) to nurse. It was through her and a girl named Kinsa that we met these neighbors. Kinsa is the daughter of their friend and was visiting. She followed Mama Kitty and the kittens into our yard and ran into me. Our neighbor’s wife called Kinsa in to dinner and told her to bring me along. That was how we met Kahn, Nabeela and the Abduls (our neighbor’s five sons are all named Mohammed Abdul something). The youngest Abduls became regular visitors in our house ever after.

Wendy thought she had convinced Mama Kitty’s mother to have her spayed, but before this could happen, and while she was still nursing her one surviving kitten (Maliouba), Mama Kitty got knocked-up again. The kittens were born on September 11, 2001. About a week later, our neighbor came over and asked if we could keep the kittens for the weekend. We moved the four kittens and Mama Kitty into our guest room. Our neighbors are famous for throwing enormous parties for dozens of people. I think every visitor to their house that weekend stopped by our house to see the kittens. After the weekend, our neighbor went on an extended business trip--or was it a pilgrimage…for months. We did hear from him once when we told his sons we were taking the kittens to a shelter. Their father told them that we should keep the kittens until he got home in two months, then we could find homes for them. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Wendy just said, "No, the kittens must go while they are still cute and cuddly." And go they did. Abdul Raheem went first and Abdul Aziz later that day (this is after an entire day of posting signs all over Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor as well as a notice on a website). There were many calls for Abdul Wahab, but no takers. Finally, we sat down on the couch and discussed whether to give up and just keep him (we’d already decided to keep Kinsa—the kitten not the girl). Literally as we were talking the phone rang. Abdul Wahab was gone within a few hours. That was pretty hard since he’d been with us so long.

The next biggest challenge was keeping Mama Kitty from getting knocked up until her milk dried up and she could get spayed. A kitty abortion costs about three times what a spay does! We’d kept her away from her kittens for several days (we thought for sure her milk would be dried up by then—little did we know it would take two months) when we came downstairs one morning to see her out in our dining room with 5 kittens nursing! Did we mention that her one surviving kitten from the earlier litter had also moved in to our house?

Mama Kitty was getting really stressed at our house. This included pooping everywhere except her litter box. The obvious solution was to take her back to our neighbors’ with the injunction that she was NOT to go outside. She was out their door within about 10 minutes. Eventually, we got her spayed (not a moment too soon as she was in heat the day of the surgery) and sent her home. We split the cost of the spay and vaccines with another neighbor—Decky. Within six months, though, Mama Kitty was not looking so good. Decky spent $400 on an ultrasound for her only to discover Mama Kitty had a rare form of kidney disease. We spent the summer getting up early every morning to help Decky search the neighborhood to find Mama Kitty. Decky was always sure she’d died in the night. Then, Wendy had to administer a subcuntaneous round of fluids. Eventually, it got to be more than we or Mama Kitty could bear. Mama Kitty just got sicker and sicker. Decky and Wendy finally had to take her to be put down.

Mama Kitty's progeny enjoying some lactose-free Cat-sip.