From Pipi’s Pasture: Happy Mother’s Day, Mama Cat
Among the residents at Pipi’s Pasture — the cows, cats, wildlife, and humans — there are lots of mothers, including me. However, this week my thoughts are on one mother in particular, a cat known as “Mama Cat.”
She’s a short-legged, brownish-black-gray cat with one cropped ear, as if she had an ear mark. Mama Cat just showed up here one day about three years ago. We have no idea where she came from; perhaps someone dropped her off. Apparently she was content with what she found here at Pipi’s Pasture and decided to make it her home.
Most of the stray cats around here remain untouchable, coming for food but not choosing to get too friendly. However, Mamma Cat decided early on to join me in the garden those early mornings as I weeded the vegetables. She spent her time rolling around my feet, and eventually she let me pet her — just pet, not pick her up.
Then she caught onto my morning routine and started waiting for me on the front porch. When I stepped out onto the porch, there she was, waiting for me to give her a little dry cat food and to stroke her head. If some of our kids or grandkids were around, she hid somewhere.
Mama Cat had several litters of kittens. She kept one batch in an extension of the shop, where the lawnmower is stored. They were cozy and safe in a little space between stacks of tires. When the kittens got old enough to stray, they chased the tractor, believe it or not.
Mama Cat eventually brought these kittens to the chokecherry bushes at the front of the house. This was handy for her so that she was next to the front porch where she got her morning treat. Besides that, she came to rub on my legs when I sat outside on hot summer evenings.
It is nearly impossible to keep track of kittens so we don’t know what became of all of hers. We do know that one kitten probably ended up at our grandkids’ home on the eastern slope. It was a late fall kitten that they found wandering around by the haystack in October. We guessed that the kitten had fallen out of the haystack. Mama was nowhere around; perhaps she had taken the others to another safe place. Anyway, the kitten looked just like her. The kids fed the kitten with a dropper and raised it to adulthood. “Sheldon” lives with the family today.
This year Mama Cat spent the winter around the back of the house where there is a storage shed for crawling under and a patio that is partially dry and well-stocked with cat food and water. Each afternoon as I sat on the patio, waiting for the stock tank to fill, she came to my chair, put her feet upon my legs, and waited for me to pick her up.
It was the first time she ever let me pick her up and put her on my lap. We spent pleasant afternoons together, no matter whether sunny or stormy, as I stroked her head and she rewarded me with purrs.
Then, perhaps because the skunks came out, Mama Cat moved back to the corral area. She comes out from somewhere to greet me at 2 a.m., when I check the expectant mothers at the corral. She follows me to the corral and then back to the gate. As always, she gets a pat or two.
Mama Cat is heavy with kittens that will probably be hidden under an old pickup truck or under a pile of lumber next to a fence — at least that’s where she seems to come from these mornings. It’s another litter of kittens for a sweet old cat.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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