|Features:||Dark calico, with only a little white. Affectionate.|
|Name:||After Queen Maeve of Connacht, in Irish mythology.|
Maeve started hanging out in my back yard during the afternoons in March, 2012, lounging around near the bird feeders. At first she was very skittish and would run if she saw me, so I didn't get a good look at her. Then, one day I walked out the back door and saw her, and she didn't run--she put her tail up and chirped at me. And I saw that she was very, very pregnant.
She still wouldn't let me get close to her, so I started putting food out on the back step. She showed up like clockwork every day until March 26th, which is when I figure she had the kittens. For about a week and a half I didn't get more than a glimpse of her, as she would show up to eat and then head straight back to her den. She always left by way of the gap between my fence and the wall of the garage next door, apparently bound for someplace on the next street.
When her litter was close to two weeks old she resumed her habit of hanging around the back yard for a couple of hours or so every afternoon. And now she had decided to be friendly, and would let me pet and handle her. I kept providing high-quality food, since I knew she would need all she could get. When she was writhing on her back in the grass I got a look at her teats, and it appeared that there were six of them active.
On April 14th, though she turned up as usual, I kept seeing her going back and forth to a sort of alcove at the back corner of my yard. There is a large brushpile there where I dump dead branches and weeds and stuff, and I suddenly had the sinking feeling that she'd brought the kittens here and stashed them in the brushpile. While she was eating I went back there to look, and sure enough, I could just see a pile of kittens.
So, they were in my yard, the brushpile is shaded but not well protected from weather, and we were expecting strong thunderstorms overnight. I gathered the kittens and their mother, and settled them in my spare bathroom with a den made out of a couple of cardboard boxes and plenty of soft bedding. When the kittens were four weeks old I started giving them the run of the adjoining room, still closed off from the rest of the house and my other cats, and at eight weeks I started integrating them into the household.
I was able to find homes for three of the six kittens; the other three and their mother remained with me. Maeve settled into housecat life very well, obviously enjoying having a warm, comfortable home and not having to scrounge for a living. She shows a bit of calico temper with the other cats every now and then (and sometimes even with her offspring), but she is generally peaceable, and has become quite affectionate with me.