Quite a cat story

Published 9:24 am Friday, June 17, 2011

Newsoms’ Betty Darden was shocked when her “male” yellow tabby cat, which she had neutered, gave birth to six kittens.

Betty got the surprise at 6 one recent morning when she went to feed the cat named Moonpie.

“It was dark and I didn’t have on my glasses, but when I went to the yellow cat’s bed, I saw it lying in its bed,” she said. “I thought I saw something else moving. I rushed back into the house, got my glasses and a flashlight, and returned to see what was moving in that stuffed bed. There were six kittens of all colors about the size of the middle finger.”

Darden contacted PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which had “fixed” the “male” cat in October. The non-profit organization confirmed that the “male” cat was neutered.

The 81-year-old had noticed the tabby was bigger than her sister but assumed that’s because it was a male.

Six months after the operation, she rubbed the yellow cat’s stomach and remarked: “You sure are big. What have you been eating? Maybe those mice in my outhouse!”

Once the kittens reached 6 weeks old, Betty said she’d had enough.

“Those kittens had nearly driven me up a wall — all under my feet, playing, fighting, eating and pooping, and happy as larks in their little room,” Darden said. “One afternoon when I arrived home, they had climbed up the fence being used as a barricade and were running all around the garage and under the vehicles. Those kittens had to go.”

She found a home with good neighbors for all of them.

• Local kids got a real treat Saturday.

Courtland rapper Gameface, who is actually Marcus Boyd, signed CDs for youth at Franklin Bowling Center.

He was making his debut music video and had a production crew shoot scenes at the bowling alley, Station 1 restaurant in Hunterdale and Barrett’s Landing.

Franklin Parks & Recreation and Franklin Star Lodge partnered in getting youth to the bowling alley during the filming. The lodge paid for hotdogs, hamburgers and french fries for the youth.

• During Monday night’s Southampton County School Board meeting, outstanding spring athletes, including senior track star Ronnie Powell, were recognized.

Ronnie defended her title in the 100-meter dash during the Virginia High School Group AA Outdoor Track Championship in Harrisonburg in May and broke a state record in the 200 meters despite finishing second.

Powell posted a time 24.25 seconds, just behind winner Kiara Porter of Tabb High School at 24.17 seconds, both breaking the record set in 1997 by Keanna Schuler of Broadway; the old record was 24.36.

Ronnie told Principal Allene Atkinson that Porter put her head over the finish line to take first in the 200.

“I told her, ‘Maybe if she had hair like mine, she could’ve done the same,’” Atkinson said.

“I have loved knowing Ronnie and watching those eyes,” she said. “She has represented Southampton High School for three straight years. Her dedication to keep on going was amazing.”