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Story ID:5217
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Gilboa NewYork USA
Person:YUM YUM
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By Fred Wickert

After retiring from an Air Force career, my wife Tae and I moved back to my old home town of Gilboa, New York. We brought with us a number of dogs and two cats. We raised and showed American Cocker Spaniels under the kennel name of Mountain Stream Cockers. My wife opened a dog grooming business in our home. Between our own dogs and those brought to us for grooming, we always had a house full of dogs.

We also had two cats. One was a white Persian named Fuzzy, and a black short haired cat we named Spooky because she had a habit of vanishing before your eyes, only to appear elsewhere a few minutes later. Eventually, both of these cats died from old age.

After a year or so had passed, Tae began complaining we had so many dogs but no cats. She missed having a cat and she wished we could soon get another cat. One morning as I sat at the breakfast table, I glanced out the window. On the edge of the stone patio I noticed a beautiful cat sitting there, looking towards the window. She was wearing a n expensive collar studded with imitation diamonds. I told Tae to look out the window.

She was immediately excited and put some milk and some fish on the patio for the cat. The cat devoured it, and then disappeared. The next day the same cat reappeared and Tae fed her again. Again, she ate and took off. A few days later, I went in the rear door of the barn for something and saw some kittens eating some dead mice on the floor. They scampered into hiding as soon as I came in the door. The cat Tae had been feeding looked up at me and spoke to me.

I bent down talking to her and pet her. She was comfortable with that. I told Tae what I had found and she began placing milk and canned cat food in pie pans on the barn floor twice a day. She was uncomfortable doing it because there were always the remains of several mice or baby wild rabbits on the floor too. The mother was tame and we could hold her and pet her, which we did often. We ran an ad in the local papers and put up posters advertising we had found her. We also read the papers for months; looking for ads someone was missing her but to no avail.

When Tae went to the barn carrying food and milk, she began calling out, “Yum Yum. Yum Yum, Yum yum and the cat and kittens soon knew that meant cat food and milk were coming. Eventually, Yum Yum became the cats name because she responded to it.

Towards the end of the summer, the mother began to teach her kittens to hunt for themselves. One of the kittens was found dead along side of the road early one morning and I decided it was time to try to capture them before any others were killed. One of them had crawled up on the rear axel of my 4x4 truck. Tae went under the truck and came out holding him by the scruff of his neck. The mother was of course tame and easily picked up, and I caught the others with the aid of a box trap.

They were all brought into the house and kept in one wing of the house. They were taken to the vet for spaying/neutering and shots. There were three boys and a girl. The girl whom we named Buttercup looked almost identical to her mother. The boys loved to pick on Buttercup, but Yum Yum refused to tolerate that. She always went to her aid instantly, and the boys got a cuffing they did not soon forget.

The home was lost to a flood, but all of our animals and birds were taken out in time to escape the terrors of the raging waters. All survived intact. A new home was found and moved into. It was not as large as the original home and the cats had to be confined to the master bed room. It is a large room with attached bathroom. There is a double sliding glass door and a window where I provided a shelf for them to lay on. They had enough room and were comfortable there. Occasionally other cats were added and of course we slept with them at night. Food, water and a litter box was always available to them. The bathroom had a shower stall and it seemed the perfect place to keep the litter box as the home had two other full bathrooms.

Yum Yum always ruled the group. She enforced discipline with paws that moved with great power and speed. They were only a blur to the naked eye. A person with a lot of knowledge of pure bred cats saw her one day and told us we had in her a valuable Bengal cat. It mattered not to us. We loved her regardless of what her breed. It did perhaps explain her phenomenal hunting prowess, as we had seen her drag home rabbits from a great distance, larger than she was. In addition to what we fed her brood, she always provided plenty of fresh wild meat.

At night as I slept, she usually slept at the top of my head on my pillow. She loved Tae and me but I believed I was favored just a little. We both loved her and marveled at her strength and quickness and her great intelligence.

In time, Pooky, one of her sons, got bone cancer and eventually passed away. Later, Yum Yum began to fail. The doctor told us she was old and her kidneys were failing. Buttercup always stuck to her through it all. Finally, Yum Yum passed away and we grieved for her. Buttercup grieved more than we. She became very listless and refused to eat. I took her to the vet who told us it was as if she had wasting disease. He said he believed she was grieving so hard for her mother’s loss and there was nothing he could do for her. Soon, she did waste away and die and was buried beside her mother.

Only two remained. Red and Pretty Boy were with us for a couple of years more. Then Red passed away. Finally, Pretty Boy, a huge cat, passed away, ending the era of Yum Yum. One of the most talented and intelligent cats we have ever had. She has been gone as have her children, for a long time now, but they are all fondly remembered with love.

1st photo - Yum Yum
2nd photo - Buttercup, daughter of Yum Yum
3rd photo - left to right - Pooky and Pretty Boy
4th photo - Red, who was the biggest character of the bunch
5th photo - the house Yum Yum came to for help. The wing on the right is where they lived before the flood.

Please visit my website at www.fredsstoryroom.com