Mother’s Day is a time to honor and celebrate all mothers and their bonds with their children and family. I remember my own mother today and think back fondly of her love of animals, which she nurtured in me as I was always bringing home the strays!
In particular, I remember all the momma cats we had when I was growing up. This was a time when spaying and neutering was not as prevalent or available as it is today. Most households could not afford to get their pets fixed and being a Veterinarian was not big business yet so, there was only one clinic in the town I grew up in. As well, cats (and dogs) adopted from the shelters were not necessarily fixed before you took them home, like they have to be now. However, most of my feline family found me first!
I was a young girl when we had several mother cats at one time. They would give birth to their kittens sometimes within days of each other. I loved when the mamma cats put all their kittens together in one basket. The adult females would then get in the basket, too, and would end up nursing each other’s kittens. Then, I was amazed how they knew which ones were theirs as they gently bit down on the kittens’ necks to pull them out of the basket and carry them to another bed.
There was one female cat I had for seventeen years. Rustina was truly my best friend. Whenever she would be ready to give birth, she always headed for my bed and promptly got comfortable under the covers! What a joy that was for me! Seeing the birth of a new life at such a young age was better than school! And, there were times when my mom let me stay home from school to be with Rustina when she gave birth because if she didn’t, Rustina wouldn’t settle down and stop howling for me.
I will always remember how tender she and all the mamma cats were with their newborns as they licked off the placenta. Then, before even being able to finish cleaning their kitten, they’d be in labor again with another one coming out! I do remember the intense, gurgling howls and that did bother me because I knew my sweet kitties were hurting. However, I also knew that it was a very natural experience and so I just stayed with them, especially Rustina, and tried to keep them comfortable as much as I could. It was always such an overall beautiful experience. In those moments, I was mothering my mother cats. But, then, they were always there for me, too, cuddling on a cold night, purring and kneading on my arm when I was upset, playing with some string or ball making me laugh, wanting to follow me to school and howling on the roof outside my bedroom window to be let inside to cuddle some more!
These Queen kitties taught me a lot about life and unconditional love, just as my own mother did. I carry that love forever in my heart. ❤️
Catherine - Co-Founder
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