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Monday, July 18, 2011


It was 12:30am. We were in a deep REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. I shifted my legs slightly, moving the dead weight of our cat who was sleeping on them. It was hot and sultry. The overhead fan had a cadenced 'whirr', which acted as a mechanical sleeping pill lulling us into sleep and keeping outside noises to a minimum.

Lilly, with her three babies.
 I subconsciously turned onto my right side and pulled the sheet up to my neck. Our cat moved with the changes and then settled up against my back. I awoke with a sudden jolt and realized that our very pregnant cat had without provocation clawed me. On went the light, waking Noline. We both instinctively rubbed our tired eyes trying to grasp the magnitude of a now wet sheet, which we would come to understand as her womb waters, which had broken. Lilly, had jumped off and was now under the bed. She was uncharacteristically meowing. We both understood her new behavior was indicative of the beginning of labor pains.

Noline picked her up and placed her in a specially prepared box with a layer of shredded paper. This birthing bed was specifically located in our walk-in closet; this was to give Lilly a sense of security from her pesky nemesis, Buster, our German Shepherd. We had obtained Lilly from Elosha and his wife Oxona. They are close neighbors to us; he was the general contractor over the remodeling of our house, and Oxona is one of my prized artists whom I have been tutoring over the past year.

Lilly is a very small cat with distinctive Siamese markings and is by no means a pure bred. Noline had requested that I allow her to bond with Lilly since the last cat we had owned had lived for 21 years, and was exclusively my cat. He had seen our three children finish grade school, high school and college. To this day I think they thought I loved James more than them. He had lived in South Dakota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, back to Colorado and finally New York City, NY. He had travelled all over the East Coast of the United States in a motor home, lost an eye to a virus, and walked on a 4 inch ledge outside of our apartment on the 25th floor in Manhattan. I still get the 'shiveries' whenever I think about that.

James, my cat who lived for 21 years
 When we put him down because of cancer we kept his ashes in a small wooden box. One of my granddaughters, Fiona, seeing me sad and dejected soon after his death, said, "papa, you should not be sad, you still have grandma, and you have me and you have James' bones." I think she was truly traumatised by seeing his bones in the box. But God did encourage me through her kind words. James, was always a thorough gentleman to Noline. If she picked him up he would sit on her lap for a few minutes making sure never to offend. But once I walked into the room he was off her lap and onto mine. 

I was more than happy to let this bonding with Noline and Lilly take its course since I had my own puppy I was bonding with. Over the course of the past year and a half we had often talked about having Lilly spayed. This became a strong resolution after she came into heat for the first time, and just about drove us crazy. This non-meowing kitten which had taken on Noline’s personality of a beautiful introvert, completely changed overnight and became an overbearing and highly avarice cat. We guarded the back door with our lives fearing the worst if she should escape into the underworld of ally cats. There were a few times she escaped into the night but fortunately this heated time in her life passed and we regained our darling little introvert.

Surviving after loseing an eye.

Neither of us suspected she would come back into heat so quickly. Displaying my gross ignorance on the topic, which I have hence rectified via the internet, I thought this condition was a yearly thing or at the most twice a year. But this furry Houdini, managed to get past the human border post and blockade without a passport, and lived an unabated and licentious lifestyle for the next two days while in primetime heat. She came home bedraggled, thin, and worse for wear.

We first began to suspect her new pregnant condition by the way she would now loving rub against your leg followed by loud purrs. She had never been a voracious eater. She would prefer to lick the juices around her chunky meat than to chew and swallow the lumps. We gave her food and she devoured everything in sight. Wikipedia on the gestation period for cats was 62-65 days. So here we were at 12:45am, 60+ days later, and we were ready for this brand new mom to deliver her little parcels.

I had repeatedly threatened to drown all but one of her litter. There are already too many stray cats and dogs in the neighborhood without adding to that number. Our granddaughter, Bronwyn, threatened never to speak to me again if I did. Do I risk my granddaughter not speaking to me and have fewer mouths to feed; or do I capitulate from my threat and let everyone come to their own conclusions whether I had the guts to do it or not. At the end of the blog you will have to decide for yourself.

It did not take Lilly long after her waters broke to be in strong labor. She did not mind us being with her and Noline was able to comfort and help her in the process. What a miracle to see the first kitten being born. With no instruction manual, human parents who simply watched but could not really assist; this new little mommy was doing everything God had instinctively built into her. She was doing an amazing job. Kudos to you our little darling. We hung around her nest changing the shredded paper as needed. This was an incredible moment, both for mommy cat and for us.

Another close up of mother and babes!
 On her third baby, we were disturbed to see she was not helping it or cleaning it. Lilly was ignoring this kitten as it moved weakly around. She bit the cord and digested the afterbirth as she had dutifully done on the first two. Then to our amazement, she stood, picked up this struggling kitten and deposited it in the farthest corner of the room in between two of our travel cases. She immediately went back to her other two kittens and continued to care for them. We were baffled for a moment, thinking she would move all her babies to the new location. But no! She completely ignored this one. We hung around for another half hour bringing us close to 2 am in the morning.

When we were well satisfied that both mommy and two babies were doing fine, we made our own preparations to get back to sleep. Noline made sure there were fresh paper, milk, water and food in close proximity so as to alleviate any concern on Lilly’s part. She would not have to hunt for nourishment during this confinement period. We chatted for the longest time about what a great mother she was, and of our consternation concerning the rejected kitten. The gentle “whirr” of the overhead fan did its wonderful trick of lulling us back into another sound sleep, and I’m sure I saw the faintest smile on Noline’s face, as she drifted off into her own world of thoughts about motherhood and birthing.

I know she was proud of this feline and of women in general. There was this “take charge” of the situation which she initiated right from the beginning. I graciously took back seat on this one. After all, she knew firsthand just what this little mother was going through and just when to help her. I was proud of both, and if Noline had glanced at me while sleep captivated my tired mind, she too would have no doubt seen the faintest smile on my face.

In the morning to our wildest surprise, Lilly, whom we thought had delivered all her babies, had given us another one. This had made a pregnancy of four with three surviving. She does not leave them for a second. From seeing this little cat who loved to be outside chasing butterflies and stalking grasshoppers, to now cherishing her new born babies uncontested, all we can say is; “God, you are good and your mercy endures forever.” “You have wowed us by your creation.” “You have renewed in us your awesomeness.” “We love you and we worship you.” “Now, does anybody want a kitten? We are giving them away free of charge to a good home.”  

1 comment:

  1. AWWW, what an awesome story of Gods creation! Thank you Pastor Neil and sister Noline for sharing! I love this story of Lilly and her babies, what a wonderful experience this was for both of you......I wish I could have there to help<3
    P.S. I'll gladly take one of those kitties:)