Excerpt from “Small Measures of Peace” of Humbling and Humility
I learned so much from Lucy, the feral cat mother, who adopted us and our home. I learned from her, and her alone, that in Wariduna’s dry air, bedeviled by static electricity, it is good to brush your body against walls and other items in the house often. This helps dissipate charge accumulated, and lessens static shocks. I learned this watching her rub her fur all over the place rather than just on us. It is a habit I have now adopted zealously despite not having as much fur as she does.
Did I tell you about how she came to live with us? Not in any detail? Let me do that now, before I tire of penning my many stories. Lucy is important to my little family. She is family too, and taught us much about being family. So much so that my daughter and I have begun to write a kids book about her, about what she taught us.
Cleaning my backyard, many years ago, I happened upon a young black cat watching me. She was standing on the gravel spread along the side of my house. With no pet collar visible on the cat, I walked around and looked for a broom to shoo it away. Back with the broom, I proceeded to make loud noises, but the cat stayed in place, standing between me and a lawn mower lying beside the house.
Looking more carefully, I saw three tiny heads poking out from behind the mower. This was a new mother looking for a place to raise her young! What could I do, now knowing the reason for her resolute presence in my yard? I went into the kitchen and came out with a bowl of milk, for the kittens and the cat, that I laid beside the boundary wall.
My children, quite small in those days, were the first to notice the presence of the cat. They brought it to my attention, and now were most pleased by the turn of events. Needless to say, replenishment of the bowl of milk became our daily family activity. Over time, the kids’ mother also involved herself in this pursuit. She insisted that milk could be bad for the kittens, and replaced it with kitten chow. This changed things somewhat. We now began to cater to their needs specifically, buying whatever was required. Looking after them now became a chore to plan for. The kids named the mother cat Lucy, and her kittens, Black Panther, Brave Heart, and Recluse.