People who know me well call me the "crazy cat lady".

At first, I took offense, but then I realized I am pretty close to the description.

I have a lot of cats.

We got one cat two years ago. While I was out-of-town the week my father died, my cat - now cleverly called "Mama Kitty" - had four kittens. She was pregnant when we left to see Dad. The night I arrived home, I noticed she was skinny. We looked all around for the kittens and found them in a planter close to the house. It was storming that night and Mama Kitty was sitting on them like they were eggs in a nest, all warm and cozy and dry.

We immediately gathered them and her, giving them a home inside the laundry room. She nursed them there until they were big enough to start crawling around the room, then we found a large box and made a much bigger "nest".

That litter had three fluffy orange kittens and one black/brown tiger striped kitten. We immediately named him Howard after my dad. The others my daughter named, and we found homes for them. Except for one very fluffy orange kitty. I named her Penny - after the Big Bang Theory - and she became my favorite.

I had not been privy to a litter of kittens since I was quite young, so we are talking perhaps 45 years since I had been around any. It was a very wonderful surprise after a week of sadness when we lost Dad. I learned the value of a pet more than ever. I could get lost in those kittens when nothing else could occupy my mind, their silliness and unimaginably cute furry faces distracted me and made me laugh when my heart was breaking.

We had a couple more litters of kittens over the next year or so. Every time, it was such a joy to meet them. I was very proud of my Mama Kitty and how she cared for them. I was criticized by at least one person for allowing my cat to have kittens and I understand the whole thing about overpopulation of animals. But these were mine and they were loved with lots of attention from not only me, but my 10-year-old daughter as well.

So we have four adult cats that live with us now - and Mama Kitty was expecting again. Wednesday night, she had a kitty miscarriage and lost them. There were six of them. We found her with four, already dead. The fifth was born alive and I held it in my hand until its heart stopped beating. The fifth was stillborn. They were far too premature to survive.

Over the past 30 years, I've been through a lot with my animals. I've rescued many. I've buried many. Some lived their full lives. Some were dogs and some were cats.

Some were killed by cat-hating dogs that irresponsible pet owners allowed to run loose and ended up in in my yard.

I posted an ad online saying I would take abandoned newborn kittens and care for them until they were big enough to be adopted - and then I would find them homes.

So keep me in mind.

The Crazy Cat Lady.