The kitties are back!
Not long before our wedding, while cleaning up the backyard, I picked up a stray piece of lumber that had been hiding a nest with three kittens in it. The mama, a black and white feral cat who has been hanging around our yard for ages, jumped up and ran away a short distance, where she stood, glowering.
Christopher started leaving bowls of food and water out for the nursing mother and from time to time we'd peek in at the little ones, whose eyes were still mostly closed. Then, unwisely, I advertised the family's presence to my kitten-besotted five year old niece. Two visits in one day from a short human with a higher than average hummingbird-like vibration was too much for the mama: she picked her babies up by the scruff of the neck and moved them one by one to an undisclosed location, safe from the shining eyes and petting fingers of pre-kindergarteners.
When Dede died, we were all the more sad to be missing the kittens; suddenly we were completely bereft, for all practical purposes, catless. The feral mama continued to come out to get food--four square meals a day, I live with a generous man-- but the babies were kept in the witness protection program.
Until this week, when they came out, half-grown and more sure-footed, but still recognizably kittens, with big sensitive ears and curious faces. They're shy and will run away if they even sense us watching them. They love to hide and play under the big overstuffed red velvet chair on the patio, treating it as a playground structure. Christopher feeds them attentively, no matter how long his day has been; up at six and down to the fog-shrouded garden, and then last thing at night, under the moon.
He says the kittens are still nursing, (as well as crowding each other hungrily at the food-bowls,) but the mother is trying to kick them off the maternal teat. They don't want to go get a job, he says; they'd rather lounge around the house, playing video games and eating ding-dongs. At some point in their near future there will be a cat-carrier, trip to the vet, and the premature end to their procreative lives, so I hope they enjoy their innocent carefree days while they can. Meanwhile we're calling the mama cat Molly after Molly Goldberg.