March 31, 2014
The Story of Mamma Cat—A Sanctuary Tale
This happened about 18 months ago. Mamma Cat was one of the invisible animals that I wrote about in a post last month.
We have a lot of animals on our sanctuary—dogs, potbelly pigs, a horse, wild pigs, and even a wild boar. We rescued one cat, but because of the nature of a few of our dogs, we didn’t feel it was safe for him to stay here, so our grandson has him. My wife has wanted a cat for a long time, and I even admitted I wouldn’t mind one as long as it slept in the barn and took care of the rats.
Then Along Came Mamma Cat
We don’t even know how long she was here before we realized it. My wife, Mikki, first spotted her late at night while we sat on the side porch enjoying a glass of wine.
“Look at that cat,” she said, and we watched the cat surreptitiously make her way into the barn.
For several weeks after that, we’d see her now and then, but she resisted all attempts at contact. She wouldn’t even eat the food my wife left for her. One night Mikki said, “I think she’s pregnant.”
It was the last thing I wanted to hear, but, as usual, Mikki was right. We found the kittens tucked into a dark corner of the barn under the tool shelves the following week. MC (Mamma Cat), as we had come to name her, stood by and watched as Mikki pet the kittens, but MC didn’t seem happy about it. The next day the kittens were gone.
It took Mikki a week to find them, this time MC had them hidden behind a fence we built as an enclosure for storing extra corral boards. The kittens were well protected, tucked between stacks of 1 x 6’s. We found remains of squirrel and rat tails, and a few feathers. Obviously MC had been busy.
Mikki took food to them every day, and by the end of the week they had actually started eating it. Pretty soon, the kittens were running around the barn. The crazy thing was that when MC went out hunting, she deposited the kittens inside the fence where Dennis lives. (Dennis is our wild boar.)
I was shocked to see this, but it was apparent that Dennis didn’t mind them being with him, and they seemed to feel safe. Before long MC began taking the kittens hunting with her, at least for the small prey in our gardens. Occasionally she would sit off to the side while the kittens ate food we put out for them. If we tried to get too close, though, she would pick them up and haul them away.
Things Happen For A Reason
The following week I had to go out of town. Mikki called me shortly after midnight. She’d been sitting on the side porch watching the kittens play with their mother. Suddenly, they froze, and then the kittens ran toward Dennis’ pen. Seconds later Mikki saw why.
A coyote had come out of the woods and raced toward them. MC stayed to fend him off. I’m assuming she did it to give her babies enough time.
Mikki grabbed a stick and ran toward the coyote, but by the time she reached them the coyote had her in his mouth, shaking her. As Mikki approached, he dropped MC and ran. Using a towel, my wife scooped MC into a box and rushed her to the animal hospital. It didn’t take the vet long to arrive at her diagnosis. She was beyond help.
When Mikki got home, she searched for the kittens, but couldn’t find them. After about half an hour, she heard a tiny meow coming from the house where Dennis sleeps. And there she found the kittens, curled into a ball together and sleeping next to Dennis. It was amazing to see this huge wild boar lying next to the tiny kittens.
For the next month or two, they slept with Dennis every night. One morning I even found one of them sleeping on top of him.
Out of all of the animals on the sanctuary, I don’t know how they knew to choose him, but they made the right choice. There isn’t anyplace they would have been as safe as they were with him. No coyote in its right mind would try and enter his fence.
By the end of those two months, Mikki had made friends with the kittens. We had even given them names, which meant they were staying. So we had them spayed and neutered, and made arrangements to build them a proper home in the barn.
Mikki never did get to pet Mamma Cat; in fact, the only time Mikki touched her was the night she died. But as you can see by this picture, she’s getting plenty of love from her babies.
And as you can see from this video, the cats are doing their job of keeping the barn free of rats.
PS: Mamma Cat was buried on the sanctuary on January 25, 2013. We buried her deep so no coyote would ever get her again.
Ciao, and thanks for stopping by,
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He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”