Mina - ????-2005
Mina, the mother of the kittens, died today while in surgery getting fixed.
Flash back to about 5 months ago; my parents were here visiting and Susan and my mom saw a skinny ferral black short-hair male cat near our old house. They tried to catch it a few times without luck. Finally Su got a trap and caught a skinny ferral black short-hair cat - but this one turned out (after a trip to the vet) to be a pregnant female.
The name "Mina" arose because she had lost the skin over her upper canines, so you could always see their full length, like a little vampire. Hence, Mina Harker.
Su decided to keep her until the kittens hatched, then find homes for her and the kittens - we thought Mina might make a good barn cat. She was fairly sociable for ferral - she'd watch us, wouldn't always hide, and so on. When the kittens came she was great with them, and much more sociable with us. Once the kittens were weaning, though, she retreated back into her shell and avoided us and the kittens, although she'd still cuddle them if they were placed together in an enclosure.
The kittens are all doing well. They all have nicknames: tabby boy, tabby girl, princess, little guy, and white-tum. Little guy is promised to one of Su's co-workers (who's off on her honeymoon) and is formally named Rex. Tabby girl went off to her new home on Sunday with proud parents. The others are still looking for homes. I'll be sad to see white-tum go - he's much more advanced physically, socially and mentally than the other cats - very curious and good at problem solving, although tabby boy may be catching up.