In early March (2019), a feral female cat began showing up in our backyard. At first we observed her. We didn’t feed her because we didn’t want her to feel welcome. As you may suspect, she was skinny as a rail and grew even skinnier the longer she hung around.
We didn’t want her to stay because cats eat birds and this one was hungry and highly skilled at fending for herself. We’ve been feeding birds in our back yard for thirty years or more and they have become our friends. Our resolve remained strong until Sandra saw the cat eating birdseed off the ground under the feeders. After seeing that, she started throwing left-over chicken scraps out the patio door for the cat to eat. Finally, it was cat food and water on a regular basis.
After we accepted the idea that the cat wasn’t going to leave, we named her “Spice.” This name felt right because of the mix of colors in her fur – black, yellow, and gray. She was both easily threatened and hungry for love at the same time. She wouldn’t let us pick her up or close the patio door when she came in the house. However, she did love being petted and rubbing herself against our legs as we rocked back and forth on the swing bench in our back yard.
One night Spice, who slept outside, woke me up with a soft yowl. I knew what that meant from my past experience with cats. She was in heat. I told Sandra about it the next morning. Several days later, as we rocked back and forth on the bench rocker, Spice rubbed herself against Sandra’s legs, waiting to be petted.
When Spice moved over to me to rub herself against my legs and encourage me to pet her, I could feel the energy of her sexual desire to mate and have kittens as soon as I laid my hand on her. The energy was so overwhelming, it felt like I was in heat too. Were we in telepathic communication* because, not only could I feel how much she wanted to have sex, it was clear to me how much she wanted to experience motherhood. As it turned out, Sandra felt it too.
* For another example of interspecies telepathic communication, read Inside Ivy. In this experience I discovered that my personal values paled in comparison to the plant’s values. Learning about Ivy’s true nature was both humbling and awakening.
Without realizing it, we both inwardly agreed to be a part of Spice’s experience. This became evident when I shared my thoughts with Sandra while petting Spice and experiencing the full effect of her sexual energy. We both remembered how important having children was to us. When we understood how much she wanted to experience motherhood, both of us agreed to support her.
During the next several days, Spice would leave the yard late in the afternoon. After a day or two she returned in the company of a large feral white and yellow angora male who literally looked dangerous. He had an oversized head in comparison to his body and large black eyes that said, don’t bother me or I’ll tear your face off!
He would chase Spice along the top rail of our fence and onto the patio roof of our next door neighbors. Several days later I heard a commotion, then a scream in the side yard near the gate and that was the last we saw of that large angora male. Evidently, Spice had what she wanted and told him in no uncertain terms to skedaddle.
The next day, as Sandra and I rocked on the bench swing, Spice approached us for some loving. As I petted her, I knew she was pregnant and told Sandra. At the same time, I wondered out loud how long it took cats to gestate. Neither one of us knew the answer but the idea of two months came up as a wild guess. A day or two later, Sandra checked Online. According to an article on the Internet, feline gestation takes about 9 weeks on average.
I didn’t know if she would use it or not but I made a nest for Spice in a cardboard box with a couple of bath towels on the bottom that I could change out every couple of days. A week or so before she was due, I placed it under a stack of outdoor chairs about fifteen feet from our patio door. The chairs had a cover over them that extended below the opening I had cut in one side of the box. The kittens couldn’t see out and no one could see in unless they lifted or crawled under the edge of the cover.
We showed it to Spice several times and, low and behold, a week or so later, she had her kittens in her custom made nest around 2 A.M. in the morning. A slight sound from her woke me up and I knew she was having her babies. I didn’t have to look to validate my belief, I just knew. As I laid in bed thinking about it, I couldn’t help but marvel at the idea that animals, especially wild animals, have no choice but to deliver their own babies.
I imagined her inside the box all by herself doing all the things she needed to do to give life to her babies. I told Sandra about it the next morning. Several days later, we peeked under the chair cover and there she was in the cardboard box looking back at us with a bunch of fur balls lying around her.
It took several weeks to figure out each kitten’s sex. As it turns out, it’s not easy to tell the difference between newborn male and female kittens. At that age, they look a lot alike. We were in no hurry anyway because we thought if we messed with the kittens too much, Spice might abandon them, leaving us to hand feed them, not a job either of us wanted, since we were volunteer helpers.
After several days, Sandra went Online to see what the Internet had to say about the matter. She found both a diagram and detailed description on one website. It seems the distance between the anus and their sex organ is the key. If they’re really close together, it’s a female. If they’re further apart, it’s a male. What happens here, does the male organ migrate to its final position under the cat’s belly as it becomes an adult? I guess so!
While Spice was pregnant Sandra and I enjoyed watching her stomach grow larger. We couldn’t feel the babies move when we touched her because they would stop. However, when we weren’t touching her, they would wiggle around like worms in a compost heap. As it turned out, Spice had five kittens, two girls and three boys. All three males are yellow with dark spots and stripes. One girl has black and gray tiger stripes while the other female has the same mixed coloration as Spice. Like her father, she has an oversized head and angora fur. She also has especially beautiful eyes and a sweet nature. As painful as it will be, we’ve decided to give the three males and tiger stripe female up for adoption at our local Humane Society. We love them all but six cats in the same house is too much for us.
It is nine weeks today, August 31, 2019, since Spice’s kittens were born and this morning, one of our neighbors stopped by with tomato soup her husband had made from tomatoes from our garden. As it turns out, Carol loves cats too and reached out for acceptance from Spice and her kittens. When she asked Sandra and I what we were going to call the angora kitten, I told her it was a tossup between several names, Lola, Little Spice, and Tootsie, although, we weren’t sure any of them were right for her. Suddenly, Carol said, “why don’t you call her Sugar? That way, you have Sugar and Spice.” What a great idea! We love it, so, Sugar it is! Doesn’t the universe work in mysterious ways.
It is so much fun watching Spice as she lives out her dream of being a mother. She does an amazing job. From the moment her kittens were conceived, we could see how they were being pushed from within by the impulse to be and create. The first time they got to look up at the sky and the beauty around them, it was clear that they were also being drawn from without by the promise of being and creation. Sure, they experience scary moments too that make them want to run and hide but it doesn’t stop them for long. After a turn of the head or a twitch of an ear, it’s off to the races again, undaunted by the sound or movement of a second ago.
It makes you wonder. What do cats think when they look at you? When I look at Sandra and myself through their eyes, I can see how big we are compared to them. Yet they’re fearless and walk between our feet until we set their food down, knowing we’ll do the best we can to avoid stepping on them. What trust! It’s not a very smart thing to do but hunger seems to supersede caution.
What do they think about the strange and noisy appliances and entertainment sources we have around the house and often use? Spice still won’t come into the living room at night because of the sounds and strange people she sees on the television screen. Do cats and dogs find us fascinating or do they think we’re nuts for being dependent on all this stuff? Or do they only care about how much love and understanding we have for them? I find myself often thinking about how much love and understanding they have for us. We all want to be loved and valued. Maybe that’s why consciousness in the form of animals, plants, and humans get along so well. They love each other.
Roger Peterson “Pete” – https://realtalkworld.com