It happens this way …
My local friends are probably tired hearing about the anxiety I’ve been feeling — not about important issues like the virus or riots — but about the appearance of a feral momma cat and her two kitties in our side yard two weeks ago.
Feral cats are nothing new in our neighborhood. We’ve banded together over the years to have them fixed so they won’t populate the earth. However, the cycle of birth and rebirth has started again. We have three traps in our backyard ready to be set as soon as the kittens have been weaned. How will we know when? I have no idea.
Interestingly, the momma which we call Dahlia — as in Black Dahlia — was a kitten herself a bit more than a year ago. Her momma who lives next door also had kittens recently, so we have all these generations running around. Our intent is to find homes for the kitties and have the mommas fixed. But to catch them when they’re here one day and gone the next is crazy-making.
I’ve had to practice letting go and giving control back to Mother Nature. Cats will do what cats will do and, while we have their best interest at heart, we’re not in charge.
As for why I don’t own pets, here’s a poem that captures my history with them.
Love’s Labor’s Lost or Why I Don’t Own Pets
into our bamboo shades.
The horny lizard’s
in their hazy bowl,
its down side up.
dad booted out
the lab who
his cabbage soup.
The speckled mutt
away the next.
A droop-face cop
our summer yard
two frothing pups.
I fall in love
I applaud all you pet-lovers and -keepers. You have a vocation that requires commitment and love. This vocation is not mine this lifetime. However, I will do my best by the ferals. That’s the least I can offer the critters of the earth.
Pattie Palmer-Baker says
oh you made me cry
Kathleen Cassen Mickelson says
Thank you for taking care of the feral cats the way you do. I have to admit those kittens are adorable!
Carolyn Martin says
We try, Kathleen. And, yes, seeing those kittens scamper in, out, and over our big hostas leaves is precious. Here’s to catching them and finding them a new home.
Penelope Schott says
Yes, the willingness to have your heart broken again and again.
Old Zen saying: If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.
I have seen this poem before, thanks for sharing again. We personally spent $2000 more than twenty years ago fixing a series of generations of feral cats and kittens. The first quartet showed up shortly after I returned from Utah…John’s and Joan’s crash. I was sitting out back with my husband after the plane trip home and heard soft mewling. I wandered about trying to find the source. The four little babes, eyes still closed, were under the floor of my greenhouse. No mama to be found. We managed to reach in and rescue them, covered with fleas. We bathed them, put them in a safe, padded box and went straight to the pet store for bottles and formula. We took care of them this way until we weaned them. When they were old enough we took them to our local vet for checkups and neutering. One of the females was already pregnant! I suspect she had a me too story. We let them wander around the back yard freely but we fed them the most expensive food on the planet and they were not interested in leaving us. I am highly allergic but honestly I was glad. I love cats and can’t have them in the house but outside…yes please. That period also coincided with the birth of my third grandchild. She was just two months old when John and Joan (not long out of Good Sam) came over to visit. I have a touching picture of Joan holding Deirdre. One childlike gaze to another. Kats or Kids, I am a sucker.
Carolyn Martin says
What a story, Shawn! Those kittens knew the right place to be born. God bless ya for caring so much!