Lacey, the jet-black feline who was the focus in October of a custody battle between a New Carrollton cat lover and the Prince George's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has given birth to three kittens.
And her owner, Karen Salvio, who is very particular about her cats, has insisted on finding not just good homes for them, but homes where she can drop in for a look, keep in touch and solicit a purr from time to time.
Without visitation rights, she said, she was thinking of keeping them for herself. Among the prospective owners of Lacey's kittens are Salvio's mother-in-law in Bowie and a neighbor in her Riverdale Road apartment complex.
Salvio's intense feelings about her pets led her to fight the SPCA's effort to reclaim Lacey after the cat mated with Salvio's spotted male cat, Cheeta. The ensuing pregnancy violated the SPCA's adoption contract, which calls for the adoptive owner to have the cat spayed or neutered within weeks of the adoption.
When Salvio told the SPCA that Lacey was expecting kittens, the agency asked that she return Lacey and that the animal's pregnancy be aborted. Salvio balked at both suggestions. The two sides avoided a court battle when their attorneys worked out a settlement.
Cheeta, in accordance with the agreement, has been neutered. Lacey, who is still nursing her 8-week-old litter, has so far avoided a surgical procedure, but will be spayed soon, Salvio said.
Anthony McCarthy, the attorney who represented the SPCA, said both sides appear to have lived up to the October agreement.
The last problem facing Salvio seems to have disappeared. Her apartment doesn't allow pets, but management hasn't questioned her fondness for felines, in spite of all the publicity generated by the cat custody battle.
"I guess they're just happy to have the rent paid on time," Salvio said.