Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shelter


For two days the storms have rolled past. With thunder and lightning and the threats of worse.
Tornadoes.
For now, all is still--that eerie stillness that forebodes yet another wave on the western horizon. We watch and wait, ready.

There’s a pile of cast off lumber stacked upon the uneven floorboards in the barn. And a small room with a dirt floor, once used for tack, where bricks and concrete blocks fill the edge spaces now, stacked almost to the rafters.

It is morning, yet the interior of the barn is dark. The sound of another hard rain on the metal roof muffles small steps. Scattered windows on the north side let in just enough morning light to silhouette a cowering ghost of a form.

Her low, throaty moan warns, “Not too close, for I do not yet know you.”

Squatting on the wooden step, I wait.
Sitting motionless in the darkness.

To the protection of this quiet corner, she has brought her kittens. Scarcely more than a kitten herself, seeking the shelter of a welcoming barn.

She calls to them softly—and 5 small spots emerge from beneath the boards. Then, just beyond the tip of my shoe, lies down, so they may feed.
I don’t know whether it is trust or sheer exhaustion that allows her to remain close. For when I slowly extend a hand for her to sniff, she nudges against it eagerly.

I gently stroke her back.
And, beneath my hand, feel what her eyes attempt to tell.

She has no home.
But has found shelter in the old barn.




Update: Mama kitty didn't come back to feed last night or this morning.
On my way to work, I found she'd been hit on the road.
She would've been a nice companion for our Lily.
I hope I raise her kittens well.




Last year at this time, Lily arrived, also seeking shelter.
She has become our happy porch cat.


Thanks to Wigger's World for hosting Skywatch Friday each week at his site!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

68 comments:

Kerri said...

Oh the kitties are so adorable!

I hope your weather gets better soon!!

Lynne said...

I read this post twice Nina. I very much love your style of writing. I would like a whole book of your words to read.

Poor kitty mama, I hope you can find her a home.

Eco Enthusiast said...

Very enjoyable read. I am glad I don't live close to you--I would probably want to take one of those beautiful kittens! Joan

possumlady said...

During the Great Depression, homeless and out of work men would make a little sign in front of a house to show others that a kind soul lived there that would provide them a meal. Many of my neighbors have told me they think a cat has made a simlar sign in front of my home so that all the stray cats of the DC area know where to go to for a kind pat, food and fresh water.

I think if you look close enough on your property, you will probably find a sign that Lily made ;-)

They are just adorable!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Those ominous clouds must have been a sign for the homeless cat. Those adorable kitties are lucky to have been left in your care. I am sure they will grow to be nice companions for Lily...if she accepts them.

nina said...

I've had to add a sad update to this post already.
Mama kitty didn't come home last night or this morning to feed.
Driving to work this morning, I found her on the road--she'd been hit yesterday while I was away.

Five hungry mouths await my return.

possumlady said...

Oh, I just read the update! How VERY sad. At least mama felt the warmth and acceptance from you for one night.

MojoMan said...

So much sad news. Julie's Ruby and your mama cat meeting sad ends while the babies wait...and wait.

Tommy v said...

nice black clouds

She sure is strange! said...

How awful! You take care of those darlings for her, I think that's why she left them there.

Molly

quinttarantino said...

Hello Nina, great post but with a very terrible update!
Hope those little ones manage with your help.

Anemone said...

Really nice sky watch picture !!
It`s a war uo there.

And the kitties..., so very very beautiful. And you must be a very kind woman.

Nice weekend to you, from Anne in Norway.

Marie said...

Great clouds!

Poor cat, I think you will take good care of the kittens :)

Rose said...

I like your sky watch photo, but so sorry to hear the news on Mama. The kitties are adorable. If I was near you, I would help you raise them. My oldest daughter raised a kitty from a couple days old when she was in college full time and working full time. With a little help from me. And our collie mix dog...

fishing guy said...

Nina: Sad but beautiful SWF, I hope the kittens make it through.

Angie said...

Great post.I love your style of writing

Musings said...

So sad about the mommy cat but I'm glad her kittens have found a hoome with you. Tornadoes are so scary. I'm hearing they even have small ones in Hawaii.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I like the post and kitten.

Champ Townboy said...

Great post. I'm sure they'll make it with your help!

Dewdrop said...

Where are you located? Lots of tornadoes in the forecast. Keep your weather radio on.

That sky certainly looks ominous.

My SWF shot is up on my blog.

The Texican said...

Dark enough, but not the color of pea soup. That's when you have to really watch out.

Ackworth Born said...

so glad the tornado didn't come your way.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Such cute kittens, but I'm so sorry to hear about their Momma! They are so lucky to have someone like you who cares.

SandyCarlson said...

That's quite a powerful looking sky!

I enjoyed your post and the story of the kitty.

***Fotografia e Luz*** said...

Beautiful sky with colors and wonderful with these beautiful kittens

Daniel J Santos said...

great post, great images.

For The People said...

great post

Voz do meu Coração said...

Magnificent photo, until it seems that the sky is about to collapse, congratulations.

Dina said...

What a moving and strange story.
It does look like you were chosen.
The baby photos are delightful.
Take care under that sky.

Ida said...

Powerful and dramatic look on that clouds.
I hope the kittens will be fine!

My Sky Watch

Lyn said...

very nice sky watch :)!

Me & my puppies said...

Oh, I am sorry to hear about mama, do your best in raising her babies.

imac said...

Sush a beautiful post.

My lady and her lamp - are now up and running.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

That is a powerful sky and I must say, your story on the kitty is awesome... thank you for the good read... Good luck.
Rocky Mountain Retreat

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Ominous clouds; so glad they passed on by. I was touched to tears by your story of the mama cat and her babies. I hope they make wonderful companions to your Lily, or you can find good homes for them. Wish I were closer; cats recognize a sucker when they see me coming!

Luiz Ramos said...

Beautiful story. Great storm shot. Nice baby cats. And mama cats...?

JeFf & NoVa said...

A very sad ending, i'm sure that you'll raise that baby kitten good, too bad for the mama cat =(,

i like the very first sky photo, as it shows of two different layers, the white and then the black...

perfectly capture... keep it up!

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

That is one scary looking sky. On Saturday and again last night, they had us in a tornado watch, but luckily we only had thunder storms.

The little kittens are cuties. Sorry about their mama. Lisa

babooshka said...

Very cute kittens, awesome stormy clouds, great storytelling.

KatDoc said...

Nina:

Glad you came though the storms OK; those were pretty scary Wed, weren't they? I was at my Mom's for dinner when I heard we had tornado warnings in my part of the county, but I didn't get any damage, just the neighbor's big table-covering umbrella in my yard.

So sorry about the mama cat, but her kittens should be OK. From what I can tell by the pictures, they look to be about 5 weeks old, and should be able to eat wet kitten food. Let me know if you need "parenting" advice.

~Kathi

Suzanne said...

Oh I love that sky in the top photo.

Seabrooke said...

The kittens are so cute. Very sad about the mother, but one of the dangers facing stray and outdoor cats. The kittens are fortunate she brought them to you before it happened, you'll take good care of them. My parents have had many strays come stay with them, but none ever last more than a couple years, eventually hit by cars or taken by coyotes. The exception is an extremely wary, extremely wily female who's been around for five years so far. She's produced at least one litter, and sometimes two, every one of those years; attempts to catch her to have her spayed have so far failed. She's earned the name "Momcat" for her reproductive success. It's been a challenge finding homes for all the kittens, but we do our best to catch them (they're easier than the mother) since they won't survive long outside otherwise.

chanpheng said...

Beauty sky photo - and the story about the kittens is heartwarming. Except for the part about the mother. Where I live, the feline mortality rate is very high but it still makes me sad to lose a critter.

Carletta said...

What a sky! We have had the same weather here in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia. My sky shot showed storms too.
Love those kitties - too bad about Mama!
Hope you'll update on them - I'm a kitty lover myself.

Island Rambles Blog said...

Nina I must tell you that you definitely touch our hearts and deep in our souls with each of your posts..I don't know if it is a natural talent of yours or if you struggle to achieve this wonderous gift of yours...I want you to put out a book of this!!!...oh I sure wish I could have one of the kitties..sorry about momma cat though...where will you take my heart next oh master of the written word!!!!

Michelle said...

Nina, your story is stunning. A friend recently passed along her story: when she was a young girl, a barn cat led her to her brood of kittens. The mama cat died a few days later, and this friend raised the kittens.

Your mama cat may have done the same thing, letting you see her babies. Cats (and most animals) have an eerie sense about such things. She picked you.

Chuck Pefley said...

What a sad and touching story. Those kittens will be well taken care of, though, I suspect. May the storms continue to pass by ...

Steven and Aisha said...

You have such a cute kitty and really good shot of the sky! :)

evlahos said...

very dramatic sky as your post. cute kitty i hope to be ok.

bobbie said...

The clouds are ominous looking, but very beautiful.

The kittens and mama are also very beautiful. I know you will do a fine job caring for them. Yes, I agree, mama left them with you for a reason.

Pam said...

You touched my heart also with this post.Your site is a beautiful place to visit.Your storm photos are stunning.

Sandpiper said...

Good morning, Nina,

Great Skywatch picture and such cute kitties. So sad about the mama kitty. I'm glad she came to you. The kittens are in good hands with you.

Lin

Melli said...

THAT is an awesome sky! I love it! I'm so sorry about Mama Kitty... I'm glad her kittens have YOU!

R.E. Taylor said...

You sky watch photo is very dramatic, so sad for the mother cat. Good luck with the little ones.

Kathiesbirds said...

Nina, what a sad end to this captivating story! Poor Momma! Those kitties are so cute! Your first photo is so foreboding but I didn't expect the sad ending. Great photography and excellent writing once again.

Gary said...

Ominous clouds for a sad post - I'm sure Mamma Kitty had foreseen her demise and brought her kittens to a safe house knowing they would be well looked after.

Gary
Bodge's Bulletin

zetor said...

Great clouds. So sorry about the kitty. Check out mine , scroll to bottom of my web page to see my beauty. I adore cats!

eyestothesky said...

Ahh what a sad ending.. Poor mamma
I am sure you will do a good job raising her babies. They are beautiful. thank you for being a good person and doing what you can for these wonderful babies! Kodous to you!!

Carolyn H said...

Nina,

Such a very sad update to your story. I'm glad, though, that mama kitty knew where her kittens would be safe. They are simply adorable, too. They look like Maine Coon mixes.

Carolyn H.

sandy's notes said...

What a beautiful skywatch, but my heart cried about momma kitty. The babies are precious. I hope you can raise them well too. Oh so sad!

Max-e said...

That sky really looks ominous.
Pityy about the mamma cat. Hope the kittens are ok.

KGMom said...

Oh Nina--I just hate road kill. I sickens me, and when the animal is a cat or a dog, I so wish I hadn't seen it.
Now your story--makes me mad at the driver--couldn't he/she have missed the cat.
But I am glad you found her, found the kittens, and now they will thrive with a human mom.

nina said...

Yes, I wanted this story to convey the tragedy of homeless animals. When I discovered them, I first experienced the "aww, how cute" of new kittens--but as soon as I touched the mama and felt her starving form, I was horrified.
Whoever disposes of an unwanted animal at the end of someone's driveway, should realize it often sentences them to a struggling life--the choice of the local shelter would have been more kind.

Her kittens are in my bathroom now, eating like monsters, as they are starved, too.
But if I can find responsible owners/homes for each, I will have done well for mama.

mon@rch said...

Those are such cute kittens and I hope you keep us updated on how they are doing!

scienceguy288 said...

Poor cat. I hope the kittens do well...even though I tend to find house cats annoying. But besides that I am glad all is well.

Old Wom Tigley said...

I called back to see how well your great Sky Watch had done.. then saw I had not commented.. I looked at yours first.. and was sure I left a comment.. I do this at times you know.. sorry about that..

Susan Gets Native said...

God love ya, Nina.

Mary said...

Oh, Nina. I cry easily in the morning. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thanks :o)