She was the fourth in a line of feral or stray cats that had found their way to our property. First, they find shelter in the barn. Then, over a period of days or weeks, they grow bolder. Eventually, they wind up on the porch staring in the kitchen window, hoping for a meal. They stay for a while, just enough time for me to grow fond of them, and then disappear- their fate not to be known.
Zinnia was different. I could tell she was in the early stages of pregnancy looking for a safe anchor. Poor dear- a teen pregnancy, barely not a kitten herself. She was petite, with a sleek body that sported a shiny black coat. Her topaz eyes that glowed like the high beams on a car, visible from across the yard. This cat could model on a perfume commercial
I fed Zinnia liberally – high-quality food for her growing babies and she returned the favor by letting me pet her and love her up. She disappeared for a couple of days on August 10th and gave birth, we think, in the neighbor’s back barn. I knew she would eventually move closer. Mom cats like to move their kittens around for safety. Then one day I spotted her entering hole in the brick foundation of the old metal smoker behind the house. It was all I could take to contain my excitement to investigate until they were almost a month old lest she move them again.
The time came and I peeked into the brick foundation and along with her eyes, I spotted several pairs of others. Then a little black and white kitten toddled out between the bricks out to say hello. That would be the kitten I would keep. I named him Zander. There were four kittens in total. Obie –Juan was all black like his mother from tips of his whiskers down to his toenails, Stripe, the runt was a silver-gray tabby and then there were the two black and white tuxedo cats I deemed “the Twins.” The tuxie with a black heart on her white chest I named Zoe. She was small but approached the world with the moxie of a lioness.
Sadly, we lost Stripe due to unknown causes at about 4 weeks but the rest have grown into robust little cats. Obie –Juan has found a home within the family and Zoe will soon go to my son. I will have a difficult time parting with her as will her twin and partner in crime, Zander. He will remain here with us with mom, Zinnia.
For weeks we have reveled in the antics of these kittens from their final outside home on our porch. Nothing melted my heart more than their sweet little bodies held in my arms. They found their way into my heart and my artwork , some which I have included in this post.
Sometimes the universe can offer such gifts in the midst of hardtimes. Amid a pandemic, forest fires and political turmoil I found peace and happiness from the offerings of a stray cat.
Thank you Zinnia for picking us.
Alanna also blogs at onesweetearth.com
Images and artwork by the author