Here, kitty kitty?

A long-ish haired black cat on a wooden deck floor, in front of a food bowl.

Here, kitty kitty?

They say that when you feed a stray cat, you, de facto, adopt a cat. Truer words.

Last January, not long after Zoey passed, a quartet of cats "held a concert" on my front porch. Late at night. I began to put food out -- after all, it's winter and I couldn't have them starving on my watch.

By March, there was only one regular visitor to the food bowl. The pretty black cat with the haunting green eyes was often seen across the road, under a vehicle, looking for her dinner. Those eyes! I could see them from my living room! I could call "Here, kitty kitty," and within minutes of my going back inside, that little cat would be at the bowl.

Just before I went to Newfoundland in May, I made arrangements to have the neighbours feed her while I was gone. She looked pretty fat, and when I got back, she was nothing but skin and bones! I started feeding her twice a day, and one afternoon, I went into the back yard and found her. I talked to her, and she, in her feline way, talked back. I followed her, and she went down to the back of the yard and hopped the fence. I looked over and saw this:

A calico kitten cowering behind a board and some rocks at a fence. The kitten's eyes are the same colour of blue as the fence boards.

Henri(etta), one of Molly's kittens.

This scared little kitty instantly tore off a piece of my heart. And then, I heard mewing from the other side of the fence!

The rescue was on. Over the coming days, "mama Molly" brought them closer and closer. One day the little black kitten (Nightly) couldn't get through the chain link fence to the others in the next yard, so I captured him and brought him inside. Another day, Henri(etta) came in, but she went out again, and then Nightly got out, and I got blue.

Eventually, I did get them all in. Again, Molly did her bit. She brought them closer and closer until they were "living" under the barbecue just outside the back door by night, and playing in my flower bed by day.

Once inside, a whole new, "now what?" reality developed. I was blessed to get in touch with an organization called Street Cat Rescue, here in Barrie. They rescued more than the kittens -- they rescued me!

They provided rudimentary veterinary care for mama and her kittens, and gave me good advice as to how to socialize my new charges. There was, though, some urgency to get the kittens separated from their mother, as there was the possibility that Molly, having been outside all these weeks, could be pregnant with another litter. So, Street Cat Rescue found two more foster homes for the kittens and I agreed to continue fostering Molly, to give her a stable environment (and to decide whether this will be her permanent home).

A mother cat laying on a deck with four kittens, two calico, and two black feeding from her

Molly feeding her brood on the back deck

I am so proud to have improved the lives of these 5 lovely furballs. I am so very grateful to Street Cat Rescue for being there, to the point where I may become a volunteer for them (over fostering Molly).  I have "liked" their Facebook page, and my heart soars every time I see another kitten being adopted out, for I know that one day I'll see "my" sweet babies' faces on that page.

I truly wasn't planning to get another pet, especially so soon after losing Zoey. Molly, however, had a better idea.

Please, if you can find it in your heart, adopt a pet.

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