Once upon a time, about 2 years ago, a Lady saw a sign, “Free Kittens”. She was looking to replace a very special cat that her husband had rescued, crying, from the ditch beside the road. The special cat had, inexplicably, never gotten a better name than Cat.
Maybe because she was so grateful for her rescue, Cat had never scratched or clawed, no matter how much she was pulled and pushed and cradled by the inexpert love and care of a tot who stepped on her tail and a two year old who pawed more than petted. She had also, surprisingly, never produced kittens. She was a perfect cat. But she was gone, completely disappeared.
The lady stopped to check out the free kittens. They were nondescript, grey tabbies, just like Cat. It was a good sign, she thought. She took two little kittens home for her two little girls. One grew to adolescence and disappeared, just like Cat. The other one, the new resident Cat,was a little aloof and entitled. She didn’t like Meow Mix, only Special Kitty. With time she birthed a fine litter. In the family mini van. Everyone was a little surprised about that. The kittens were not too bright, apparently, for they self destructed on the road, all but one who went to live on a farm.
Pregnancy number two produced two girls, White Nose and Callie, and two boys, Atlas and Claude. Not in the van, but under the porch. The cousins from North Carolina took a shine to Claude and he moved to the mountains where he continues a sleek and happy existence.
Cat 2 was a very good mother. Her kittens thrived, although none of them had the happy disposition of the Cat they replaced. Nevertheless, they were petted and loved and they certainly kept both the mouse and the garter snake population down. Cat 2 got pregnant again, but those kittens were never found. Then Cat 2 got pregnant for the 4th time. She was quite faithful in that way.
The Lady’s husband looked at her and said, “This. Is too much.” She had a surprise for him. You see, Atlas had grown up and turned out to be a girl too, and Atlas was also expecting. Four ravenous cats go through a good deal of Special Kitty. And there were going to be more mouths to feed very soon.
“We will give away free kittens,” she said to her husband.
Cat 2 was the first… one kitten. Very prudent and sensible. She kept her baby out of trouble, under the front porch. Then one day the little girl on the swing jumped off and came flying into the house, “Mama, Mama, Mama! Atlas just laid a kitty under the slide! I just saw this bubble thing and then all of a sudden, there was a kitty!” Over the course of the next few hours, there was another kitty and another and another and another and another and another. Seven babies under the slide on the wood chips! The little girl felt sorry for their inhospitable surroundings and made them a bed of peony petals. She fed Atlas milk and lay there under the slide to watch the babies knead and paw their mother as they nursed.
The Lady started drafting a Free Kittens sign in her head, as attractive as she could make it, seeking to replicate the one that drew her down that farm lane a few years ago.
Because, you see, the thing is, White Nose and Callie are also about to pop.