Written By: Romula of RHaw Creations
Everybody knows, if not everybody, that I love animals, all shapes and sizes; recently appreciating the arachnid family and jazz like that. Also, without meaning to be, I have a natural deep motherly instinct and a protective mentality, such as protecting the weak. To add, I've always felt that when animals appear in your life, there is something you are to learn from them, especially if they are feral.
Which brings us to this beautiful story that I just had to share.
For over a year, I have made connections with four alley cats, of which two of them were clearly about 9-10 months old. One of them being the beautiful Cali, a marble, calico female cat. She was accompanied with who I assumed to be her little brother, Lilith (who over time, when the balls fell, I realized he was a male, and not a female; hence the name Lilith - Dark Side of the Moon). Also, who came along, and that I was aware of, were Cali's two suitors. Cloud and Zephyr. We had a beautiful community. They had grown on me, and I had grown on them.
But I knew one day, the dynamic would change. These were feral cats after all. It was not like they were domesticated, neutered or spaded, let alone impossible to be free of fleas, etc. I knew Cali would grow into herself, just like her mother before her and her mother before her.
Each year, since my partner and I have been living in this neighborhood (4-5 years); there has always been a litter of kittens born under our deck each year. And it was always a marble, calico female who gave birth and produced another marble, calico to carry on the legacy. Cali was that legacy. She was the fourth generation litter, and I knew all to well, that my precious girl was going to become a woman. Which meant her suitors who had been patiently waiting, were ready to pounce when the time came.
Sure enough, in March or early April, the cat calls began throughout the neighborhood. Bad boys/Goons started appearing and Cloud and Zephyr had to hold down the territory. At the same time, they were chasing after Cali like she was a piece of meat. At which she somehow ended up on our roof and I had to use a broom to keep the boys from figuring out a way up there. After the coast was clear, Cali came down and receded back into the shadows for later that night for the commotion to start back up again. I do not miss those noisy nights, but I did understand how nature worked and that despite all of that wildness, there would be a future offspring.
Things had gone back to normal for a bit. All four cats were back in my yard, waiting for me to feed them. Creating a rapport with Nanae and Ziggy (my actual cats) from the sliding glass door.
Then Cali disappeared for about a week or two. I noticed her belly had been growing and I found it my duty to ensure she was getting all the nutrients necessary to carry her kittens to full term and be healthy. Often times, I had to use my foot or simply say "No" to Cloud and Zephyr. They soon understood that the food I was laying out for her, was only for her and the boys had to wait. Our dynamic was beautiful. Especially, Cloud who had these deep set eyes that could bore through your soul. I felt as though he was speaking through my mind telling me that he understood what I was doing and that he respected it. He's a gray tabby with white boots, but huge! Zephyr was so mysterious, you could never tell what he was thinking, then again he was all black. But we all had a mutual understanding. This space was a haven for them and myself.
When Cali reappeared, she looked like she had shed some pounds and went through a few rough nights. But she moved with excitement, knowing that her meal was waiting for her. For about two weeks or three, I had no idea if she successfully had given birth to her kittens. I thought she had them under the deck, like most of the former mothers, but no avail. So everyday, I kindly asked her, "Will you show your babies to me? Will you present them, so I know that they are ok?"
Before I knew it, one morning, I walked outside to the side of the house to check on the cats, and low and behold were eight little eyes staring at me from under the car. And Cali jumped from the deck and stood beside her kittens requesting her daily meal!
I fell in love! I melted! I lost it! I was in major cuteness aggression mode, but couldn't touch them. Cali was kind enough to let me get near them to feed her her food, of which the kittens who were only a few weeks old tried to steal that food from their mother. I wanted to do more for them, but I did not have space to take them in and I was not quite sure how comfortable Cali would have been if I just scooped them up. But, also, they were only a few weeks old. I had no resources to be able to hand-feed these babies. And I did not want Cali to lose her first set of kittens. She was a new mother and so far she was doing great in keeping them clean, protected, and fed.
I promised Cali that I would look after her kittens for her. At which, she took it to heart. There were times, I would come out and she'd be waiting for me. As soon as I arrived, she would walk off and leave her kittens with me. At the same time, her suitors, Cloud and Zephyr were also on baby duty. Cloud loved it because there was always a free meal waiting for him on top of the car (his favorite place) where he could eat and keep an eye on the kittens. The kitties had literal 24/7 surveillance. Talk about Momma doing her thang!
Perfect Ending! Right!
Well, there is more....
I shall continue on and I hope you continue reading too....
Sometime in May, I noticed that I was only seeing Cali. My timeline maybe a little off as everything started happening so fast and out of my control. It had to be two weeks, near the end of May beginning of June. I had not seen the kittens. I knew there was a another cat, not from this territory that the boys, including Lilith (Cali's brother) started to fight the intruder and defend the area. Some of the boys were scratched up, but the damage they did to the foreign cat, was tenfold. He never stepped foot in our yard again. Cali being an amazing mother, most likely moved her kittens to safety. But that worried me, because I had officially, unofficially claimed to be their Guardian or Grandma.
So everyday, I kept asking Cali when she would bring her babies back. And each time I looked into her pale green eye and pale yellow eye (two different colors), there was no answer. A mystery. Had I done something wrong? Had I crossed the line by touching their little noses? I didn't know, but I felt sad.
Then it was a Friday night. I think this was the second week of June. I had been working with Cali because I was thinking of trapping her and getting her fixed, as the community cats are constantly growing. I wanted to help and to keep her from experiencing such a courtship again. She had started eating from my hands. That night, Cali came right up to me, buried her face into my hands to eat. We sat next to each other for a little bit. And I remember looking at her with such awe and beauty. She had met Nanae earlier that day. No fighting. No hissing. Nanae came right up to me, and Cali stayed by the car. And I knew they were communicating and I knew they did not see each other as a threat. And I reminisced on that, while sitting with Cali that night. It was a beautiful night, that I'll never forget...
I went inside around 11:30pm-12:00am. I woke up at 6:30am because I had to load my car up for a pop-up event in Wheaton, MD. My partner, Coche, was helping me load. As he was walking out with a box of my work, (I was already on the side of the house), I heard him say, "Something is in the road.....hold on let me go check on it."
Something about the way he said it, sent me into alarm. I replied back, "No, you go and put that in the car, I will go in the main street".
My heart was beating fast. I felt this lump in my chest that I could not swallow. Everything had gone grey (or gray, ah), dull. Thoughts ran through my mind. As I walked over the steps onto the grass, I could see from a distance a small mass in the middle of the street. I knew exactly who that was despite the dullness of the fur, but I had to know the exact truth. Despite my body telling me "no", to protect me from the truth, from the gore; I pushed forward, holding back tears I did not even realize had formed. I knew who it was...and even typing this right now, the tears are flowing.
My beautiful baby...
I walked up to her fading body. Her body looked as though she was just laying on her side. Her face had said otherwise. ****Trigger Warning**** Her face was smashed. One eye lay closed, the other, her yellow eye, exposed for all to see.
I did not know what to do. Tears came down like waterfalls, but I was then presented with a bigger problem! Where are her kittens!?!?!?!
Coche and I picked Cali up and wrapped her up. I found out that Coche's father, who also lives in the neighborhood, had not seen Cali when he arrived home around 5am, but when he left to get food around 5:30am, is when he saw her in the middle of the road. Everything happened about an hour before I came out to pack my car. And the worst part is that I had never seen Cali cross that street ever as its busy. Its the road that leads you into the neighborhood.
After we wrapped Cali up, I went to my folks house to borrow one of their shovels. I began digging my baby's hole. Never in my entire life, have I had to do this. I mean, I had to take my favorite Khulie Loach from my mom's fish tank years ago and that was kind of traumatic since he fell a part. But other than that, I have never dealt with an animal loss. When my rabbit passed, she was living with my uncle. I didn't get to experience that. Here I am now, a whole adult and I am heartbroken. I couldn't even fathom it being Nanae or Ziggy, the actual animals that live with me, sleep with me, eat with me. I was tore up from the floor up, I cried and I cried, and I just was a soggy mess. And it did not help that I had absolutely know idea where the kittens were.
I had to attend my event, Coche had to finish digging the hole. And I had to be around people who wouldn't know what I was going through, but I still had to smile.
"Where are your babies?"
"Where are the kitties?"
"Great Spirit, please bring the kittens back to me?"
I kept praying, I kept asking. I kept trying to manifest some type of miracle.
After the event, I packed my car up. Gave my mom a kiss and headed home. No updates on the kitties from Coche. And just this overwhelming feeling of defeat as I drove home. Leading up to Cali's death, all I had asked her was to return her babies to this space. And just like that, her light was snuffed. How could I keep my promise that I would be like their grandma and help take care of them?
As I pulled into the driveway, trying avoid the blood stain in the main street. I stepped out of my car, head down, eyes soaked with tears stained with mascara. And before I could get around to the grass, a flurry of fury creatures scurried around my feet. It was 10pm at night and I could barely see, but I recognized their vibrant energy and it was the babies!! The Kitties! And sitting on top of the other car in the driveway was Cloud. He sat so strong and proud. He found the kittens and brought them to me. He knew what happened to Cali, I could feel the sadness around him. But like me, he too, had a duty. That duty was to find the kittens and bring them to safety, to me.
The kittens ran all over me and expected their meals just like their mother. Two black kittens, one gray tabby, and the marble, calico, just like her mother. They were all there and they remembered their names - Sable & Zorro, Mystic, and Puddle of Mudd.
I immediately posted about these babies and asking for any resources. They were at least two months which means they no longer needed mothers milk, but they needed moist food to gain all the nutrients they needed. So dry food was out of the question. Support poured in, to which one of my good friends who shares the same birthday, offered to help me trap them. She even managed to get an appointment for the kitties for them to get checked up and if they could be adopted out. I had another friend who said they would take one of the kittens in. And then, there was another friend, who him and his partner were looking for kitties to have in their home. And my dear friend Bonnie, who helped me get the appointment and offer her crates from trapping, offered to foster one of the kittens if they did not have a home.
Miracles. Blessings. Galore! The Great Spirit had heard me.
The kitties did so well with me trapping them. Their father Cloud was there (well we also think Zephyr was a father too because of the two black kitties). He actually almost helped me push Mystic into the crate as she was being very difficult, unlike her siblings. Her intuition was strong and she was not feeling it. But after I got them in the crates, Mystic (the grey) calmed down with her siblings. I explained to Cloud that I would be taking them to a better place and that they would have safe homes. He seemed to understand. He knew he could only do so much for them as a male cat.
Getting them to the vet was amazing. Clean bill of health for each kitten. Not on flea or mite. Some tummy worms, but other than that, healthy babies. Cali did her thing.
After their appointments, reality sat in. Especially as I began to bond with them, and hold them for the first time ever! They had just started meowing back, letting me know they were acclimating to humans. After this, my little babies would have new homes. And I, unfortunately, could not keep one. I have no children of my own at this point in time, so this was the closest I'd been to it. Knowing that I could not help them, house them, or keep them, it was like being a mother adopting her child. It was better for them to have homes. They would end up being outdoor cats if they stayed with me and I don't think that's what Cali wanted for them. I think she wanted me to bond with them because she wanted me to help them. Have them have a better life than what she had.
As much as it tore me up to let them go, it was bittersweet because all the people they were given to were amazing, beautiful, kind, loving people who I could trust. So even thought I sucked up tears as my friend came to pick up Puddle of Mudd (female) who is know named Cleopatra, I was happy. Shortly after that, Sable (female) & Zorro (male), were taken to Baltimore and are now called Miso & Cucumber. And good ol' Mystic, and her intuitive self, got adopted by her foster, Bonnie. And she is called Luna.
All of them have beautiful homes and every so often I am updated on their progress. I will always wish that I had a space for them, so I could keep them. But I am so blessed to have people in my life who were so willing to help that if it was not for them, those kittens would still be outside.
But ya know who still comes by every so often to check on me, Cloud and Zephyr. Lilith has a girlfriend now, so he's living his best life!
With all that said, the legacy ends. Five generations I witnessed, and one of those generations I managed to save from the unending cycle of the streets. Its been quiet, but at least everyone is ok.
The Blackberry Bush has finally produced berries...Cali is still bearing life...