About 4 weeks ago I looked out my back door and found a feral cat standing right there with a bundle of kitten fur dangling from her mouth. She looked straight into my eyes and said, “Aren’t you gonna let me in?” So, of course, I did.
She scurried in with her precious cargo, deposited it carefully in a corner of my living room, kissed the little fur ball, affirmed that he was safe, then hurried to the back door to be let out again. I knew what was coming next, so I quickly found a box and put my old soft sweat pants in the bottom of it and lifted tiny tiger into it as it squeaked at me through squinty eyes. I ran to the back door and there she was, with another furry blob in her mouth. She walked very briskly and business-like and found the first one safe in the box. She seemed pleased with the arrangement but no time to inspect the new digs, she spent about a minute kissing and coddling the new arrival then was off to the back door again. Four babies in all found their way into my home that day on the risky hope of a brave mama.
I had noticed two weeks earlier that a very pregnant alley cat was no longer great with children. And I wondered if the babies were ok and safe. Well, I guess I could stop wondering now! I sat beside the box a couple of feet away to make sure wild mama didn’t feel threatened. She relaxed and nursed her tiny brood. They could just barely scoot themselves to where their noses led them to nourishment and comfort. Mama seemed to sigh in relief as she looked at me through her relaxed eyes and laid her head down on her new bed. She breathed deeply.
I was overcome with so many feelings all at once. I felt like I was handed a gift. The gift of being trusted. A huge gift! A semi-wild animal feeling safe enough to bring the most important thing in her life into my space and company — I felt so honored! I was grateful to be able to witness the miracle of life in its purest form happening right before my eyes. I felt happy. Just being so close to all that new energy was extremely contagious. Listening to those four wee creatures making tiny suckling noises and squeaky eruptions made me giggle. I felt relieved too, because I knew her babies would be safe.
I felt the thrill of a new adventure. You know, that feeling you get when something out of the blue happens to you that you couldn’t have prepared for and you just have to go with the flow and let go of all control and say, “OK, life, I’m in. Let’s go.” Not knowing how or what or when or for how long. It’s that deliciously slippery place between excitement and nervous energy. You have to let your heart fly ahead and lead the way. It’s the only way to survive without relinquishing your sense of sanity. And when you let go of the questions, it becomes the ride of your life! Things just fall into place better than you could’ve planned. You become part of the miracle. You feel the surge of the river flow through you — that invisible force that seems to carry life forward when we let it.
These past four weeks, I’ve had the sweet privilege of seeing wobbly legs take their first tenuous steps, falling into squirmy heaps of fur and surprised satisfaction. I’ve watched the vigilance of strong love and instinct guard and nurture the innocent.
One evening, mama cat started pacing around her kitten’s cardboard box home. She acted funny and strangely nervous. I was a bit concerned and confused so I sat down close to her babies and reassured her a few times, “Everything’s all right. You’re safe. Your babies are safe.” She looked at me in disbelief and I felt slightly hurt. It was the first time she breached her trust in me. She kept pacing.
Then it hit. A thunderstorm came on suddenly, and she didn’t like it. Luckily, I love thunderstorms, so I remained calm and reassuring. The babies seemed to not even notice. Then KABOOM! A huge thunderbolt seemed to hit my window. It sizzled and crackled and shook the house! WOW! It was fabulous! Mama cat fixed her gaze on me and stood stock still. I smiled at her and said, “We’re OK.” She paused there and looked at me for several seconds then leapt up to the chair beside her box of precious stones and, contented at last, laid her body down.