Midlands

Could a smelly, black-and-white kitten be half skunk?

Dear Joan: Is it possible for skunks to mate with cats and produce offspring? Asking for a friend who thinks her black-and-white kitten is part skunk, because when she found him in her backyard, he smelled like a skunk.

– L.G.

Dear L.: Your friend should first make sure she doesn't have a baby skunk, rather than a kitten. But no, skunks and cats cannot mate, and should an unnatural coupling occur, they could not reproduce.

Tomcats have been known to hook up with rabbits – nothing ever comes from it – but skunks? No.

If the kitten has a pungent aroma of skunk, it's probably because his mama chose a former skunk den to have her kittens, or the kitten had an unhappy encounter with a skunk.

Dear Joan: You recently had a column that asked who adopts whom, but I think what we had was more of an invasion.

My wife and I were living in a small Berkeley bungalow, and this large Siamese cat started hanging out with us when we were out working in the yard.

The next-door neighbor told us the owner broke her hip and was in a nursing home, and the cat was stealing food from other cats, rather than confront the two large dogs belonging to the neighbor who had agreed to look after him.

One day, the cat was again hanging out with us as we did gardening chores. He came over to rub up against one then the other of us a couple of times, and then he went and sat on the bottom step by the front door, staring at it.

Several times he turned to look over his shoulder at us, then back at the door. It was obvious that he wanted in. I finally went over, opened the door and followed as the cat wandered room to room, looking and sniffing. Then he hopped up on the sofa, conveying an air of "OK, this will do."

We had no choice – we had been invaded.

– Bob van Duinen

Dear Bob: I completely agree. You were invaded, but wasn't it the best incursion into your life that you've ever had?

I'd love to hear how other people came to have their pets. Write me your stories and I'll share them in this column and online.

FOR THE LOVE OF CATS

June is National Adopt-a-Cat month. It was created a few years back to celebrate cats and how much they add to our lives. June was chosen because that's also the time when shelters and pet rescues are the most crowded with kittens.

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