My people kept many of us. We were all semi long haired. I loved them because they were kind and fed us well. The small ones would sometimes make us toys from rolled up news paper and bits of string. They also let us out of the cage we lived in and I enjoyed running and chasing, climbing and rolling around on the floor.
One day I had babies. My people looked at me a lot and whispered furtively. I did not understand what they were saying but I was too busy caring for my babies.
One morning, almost a week after having my babies, we were all packed into a box. After some strange jostling and swaying, the box plummeted to the ground and there was silence. I began to feel afraid and began to wonder what to do while nursing my babies.
When the boxed was next opened, I heard a girl’s voice. “Aiyo! Not again. Mummy cat and five kittens.” She picked us up and check us over. I was worried when she inspected the kittens but she seemed gentle if unimpressed. I was insulted as my kittens were the loveliest in the world, in my opinion that is. “Pity they are all short haired” said the girl. “The mummy has semi long hair, quite pretty.”
I was placed in a room with glass walls. This I found most disconcerting as I was accustomed to bars and steel. I could see many other cats. They were curious and came very close. This made me very worried; would they try to harm my babies? Would they steal the food I needed to keep making milk for my babies? I missed my people. I missed the children who would play with me. I missed my cat friends too.
A few days later, the girl, Olivia she was called, gingerly showed me a few more babies. My heart swelled. they were dirty and weak. Two black boys and a little calico girl. Where was their mummy, I wondered? I immediately cleaned them with my tongue and tried to feed them.
With 8 kittens to take care of, I was too tired to worry or miss my old home. In fact, I was so tired, I barely had the energy to eat.
“She is falling ill.”
“Crap, what about the kittens?”
“Not yet. But they will.” And sure enough they began to fall sick.
I heard them talking about us and making arrangements to take us to the vet. I hated being separated from my babies and foster babies. We were such a big group we had to be placed into two separate carriers. The journey in the car reminded me of my last car trip. Alicia drove us and she sent Reiki. I knew we were going to get help so I reserved my energy. “Her name is Tallulah, a Gealic name meaning ‘fruitful woman’ because she takes care of so many ” I heard Alicia say to the nurse.
Over the next ten days, we were pilled, dropped and force fed. Olivia and Weng fought hard to help us regain our health. Two of my foster babies died but gradually we got better.
“Shit! Two more in a box” said Olivia.
“Tallulah Mama is too weak. We must hand raise” decided Alicia. Dr Bel agreed.
But I was getting better and the crying kittens hurt my heart. When Olivia had them at the shop, I did my best to show her I wanted to help. I would pace my room and speak to her. She began to let the kittens spend the days with me but she took them home at night. I missed them and worried if they would be warm enough and if they would get enough milk. In the mean time, my babies recovered and began to play.
A few days ago, Dr Bel decided I was completely better so Olivia let the two new babies live with me. I am taking care of them but they are very naughty. They climb and jump like monkeys and my own babies think they are ill mannered because they did not have a good mummy like they did. I will keep trying to instill good manners and proper feline dignity in my two new babies though I think it will be a tough journey.
I heard Olivia shout again today. I know something has happened. She usually sleeps, smiles and is slow and gentle. Now she is groaning and calling Alicia. She is very animated and distressed.
I look out of my room and can see a box. I can hear more babies crying. I look at my extended brood of 8 and sigh. Can I do more?
The answer is, “I must try.”