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It was a typical New England winter day in Decemnber 2000. The snow was so cold, there was fog rising from it. As my husband stood gazing at the freezing temperature outside, he noticed a thin, raggedy golden cat. She was eating a frozen roll, tossed out for the birds. Her ribs were showing and she was shivering from the intense cold. Being a secret softie, he put out some canned and dry food and some warm milk for her. As I understand it, she gingerly crept up on the end of the porch and gobbled down her offering. As night fell, and I came home from work, I saw a golden streak head under the porch. As I sat eating my warm and comfortable dinner, I was told of our visitor. Immediately I felt guilty for being so well cared for, and my thoughts turned to this forlorn and lonely creature wandering outside. I put out more food and tossed an old blanket under the porch. Our new friend began to appear nightly for a feed, so a better sleeping accommodation was prepared. However, it went unused. The rest of that season, my trip into the driveway included a fleeting glimpse of my new feral friend. As the time passed, she began to look forward to our meetings and her bounty of food. Goldie even kept company with me in the morning, as long as I was out there with food by 6 AM. We 'talked' some - but on her terms and definately at a distance. In the Spring, she disappered for a couple of days, and I was heartborken. Little did I know that she had a litter of kittens in a near-by barn. Her appetite was more ravenous than ever, and a certain look of satisfaction had crept acrossed her face. In about 6 weeks much to my surprise, she appeared in the morning for her breakfast accompanied by 5 little fur balls. This event prompted my visit to the computer to find out what to do, and that is how I found TCS. I remember my first post asking the difference between feral and stray! The Hissy Grab was taught via the internet, and the kitty capturing process began. With each kitten gone, momma was a little more aloof for a day or two, but would then reappear with the brood. A variety of dog houses and protective coverings now adorned the side of the house and stone wall fence. Momma was now living here with her brood. This whole process repeated itself again in August of 2001. Again a litter of 5. With each day, momma appeared a little more trusting, but still a woman of independance.
In the middle of the next February. Hubby rigged the kitty condo up with a cord attached to the door and drilled a hole in the window casing of the kitchen. I began to feed mom in there and after a few days of this, we snapped the door shut with a bang! Goldie was the most unhappy cat I have seen in my whole life. I wondered at that point, if I had done her any favor, she was in such distress. I realized that she was not just fat - but that she was pregnant. Unable to work with her at all, we developed a respectful, but distant relationship of food and warmth - all within the confines of the condo.
It was March 29th of this year, and I got a frantic call from home! Goldie was in labor and was delivering kittens! I left work and came home. In looking back at it, I wonder why I was so concerned she didn't know what to do! After all this was her 3rd litter that I knew of! By 7 PM that evening there were 5 more beautiful creatures residing in my home, and momma was purring and sleeping with her brood. My thoughts went back to her other litters born without human contact and attention and I cried because I marveled at her ability to do this alone.
After all of her babies were weaned and placed in loving homes, I contacted my friends at the SPCA. Hubby and I had a battle on our hands but Goldie was plucked from the condo and placed into a carrier. All the weeks of ear scritches went down the drain at that point! Goldie was spayed and returned home the next afternoon. She spent 3 more days in the comfort of her condo, and then I left the door open . She laid in there for about 6 hours looking around and wondering what to do. Goldie crept out of that condo, and has not looked back. She spends her days as she likes - with two of her children, Ripley and Smudge.
Goldie actually let me pet her the other night behind the ears. It was for only aobut 10 seconds, but it seemed a lifetime to me.
This feral friend has taught me much about life. She reminds me how to be independant, but to accept a kind hand. She has reminded me that our children are the most important things to care about. And most of all, she has reminded me that love has no conditions, or rules.
Thank you Goldie for coming into our lives. We have now come full circle.