Last October, my dear wife Lois passed on. The first few months after her death were extremely difficult for me, as I missed her very much. Then, one day, my pastor recommended I take up a hobby to help me get my mind off things.

Now, I've always been what you might call a lover of cats, so I decided to take up cat-breeding. And, while nothing will ever replace my Lois, I have found cat-breeding to be an extremely enjoyable pastime. Only problem is, after months of trying, I still haven't seen a single litter from those furry little gals. I'm beginning to think I'm going about this cat-breeding thing all wrong.

To be honest, I haven't the slightest idea what the problem is. As far as I can tell, I'm doing everything right. I wait until they're well in heat, rubbing up against me and yowling to be serviced. At that point, I bring them out back to the shed, where I've prepared a special breeding area.

It's cool and dark in the shed, just the way cats are supposed to like it. There are candles and nice music, too. (Actually, those are mostly for me. I know it sounds selfish, since I'm not the one giving birth to the kittens, but I like the experience to be special for me, too.) I've even laid down soft blankets where the actual breeding takes place, and put up chicken wire so my skittish lovelies can't run far if they get scared.

At that point, I'm ready to consummate the breeding process. Gently but firmly, I hold them down with one hand while I carefully and lovingly breed them with the other. You'd be surprised–the tail hardly gets in the way at all. Sometimes I'm afraid I'm hurting them, but all the books I've read say that cats tend to yowl and scratch when breeding, so I usually don't worry too much. (Heck, I yowl and scratch, too, sometimes.) The worst was the time Mrs. Purrs slashed my thigh. She couldn't help it, though—cats' instincts are so strong.

According to the books, the actual mechanical act of cat-breeding only takes a few seconds, but, just to be sure, I usually breed each cat for about 30 to 40 minutes.

It seems like I'm doing everything correctly. But after months of trying, not a single kitten has been produced. So, for the past few weeks, I've been breeding them twice as hard and long, making sure to get each of my darlings right on the money. Especially Princess. I've really enjoyed breeding her. She's a delicate Persian with a long, white coat that's just gorgeous. She's always been my favorite. I've rung her bell loud and long, and for weeks I've been imagining tiny little kittens with her beautiful coat and twinkling eyes.

But still, even after redoubling my efforts, none of them has yet to catch pregnant. Bewildered by my lack of success, I went to the doctor last Saturday to get myself checked out. Except for an unusual amount of lacerations and scrapes in my "area," the doctor said I seemed just fine. Not only that, all my tests came back negative. Obviously, either there's something wrong with my method, or there's something wrong with my precious little ones.

Concerned, I dropped off Princess, Dusty and Mrs. Purrs at the veterinarian the other day, and explained the problem. Yesterday, though, I got a call back from the receptionist at the vet's office, and she seemed very upset. For some reason, they won't let me have the cats back. I was shocked–I'd tried so hard to get it right. I hung up the phone, determined to learn more about the breeding process.

I've been reading ever since. I'll breed those cats again someday. I can feel it.