My life began three summers ago. My Mommy had been left behind when her people moved away.  Why, I will never understand.  She was a beauty - black and white and sleek, just like me. So she became a "stray" - that's what humans call cats that have no real homes. 

Poor Mom.  What was she to do?  Soon she would have a family to look after - me and five of my siblings. She hunkered down underneath the mobile home that her people had left.  A few of the neighbours took pity on her and brought her food. One lady in particular always brought bread and milk, with canned cat food mixed in.  I know that sometimes Mommy didn't act very grateful.  Whenever she saw someone approaching, she would hiss. But can you blame her?  How was she to know that they weren’t going to harm her babies? But as for me, I could hardly wait until the dish of food was down before I dug in.  It was delicious.

One day I heard my Mommy crying.  "If we keep feeding the strays," she overheard one of the neighbours saying, "they will just keep on increasing. We must stop putting out food." How would she look after us if she had to go out and find food? She'd tried catching birds. Humans threw stones at her when they saw her with a bird in her mouth.  Then to make matters worse, the trailer disappeared.  Mama had had enough!  She broke the news to us that we would just have to fend for ourselves. And that's the last we saw of Mommy. So here we were, six little kitties on our own.  We huddled together in the vacant lot where the trailer used to be, venturing out only at night. Soon, as we became old enough, we melded into the neighbourhood.

But I and a couple of my siblings didn't go far. We had discovered a secret. That kind lady who had been bringing the delicious bread and milk - whose name I have since learned, is Helen - didn't listen to the advice of her neighbours not to feed the strays. Every morning on her front porch, we would find a dish of dry cat food and a dish with bread and meat, soaked in milk. And there was always fresh water.  Quite a number of other stray kitties had discovered my secret too. I counted at one time, about 10.  I'm not too good at counting, so I am not sure.

Summer came and went.  I grew into a beauty, just like my mother - black with a white bib and booties.  Winter was hard, and I was cold a lot, but I always knew where to go to find food.  I was cautious, though, as my Mommy had warned me that humans might try to catch me and take me to the pound.  So I became wary of everyone, even Helen.  She tried a few times to pet me, but I fled as soon as she got near.

Soon it was spring again.  I was one year old, and ready to meet my Prince.  But which of these strays should I pick?  One day I saw him. He was a gorgeous Siamese.  I went up to him, flirting carefully at first, then becoming bolder.  Even though I was afraid of HUMANS I wasn't afraid of this magnificent creature.  Gradually I attracted his attention.  After a few flings - oh, they were great! - my Prince disappeared.  A few weeks later I had my first taste of motherhood - three kittens, not looking the least bit like me.  They took after their daddy.  I was still leery of people, so I taught my kits to be too.  However, I did lead them to the porch where I knew the food would be.  They gladly consumed whatever food Helen put down, but they wouldn't let her, or anyone else, near them. (And they still don't, to this day.) 

It was summer again. My three Siamese kits were on their own.  It was time for me to go looking for another Prince. But which one should I choose?

Every time Helen saw me she would coax me to let her pet me.  I would roll over, allowing her come near me, but as soon as she did, I would skitter away.  "Come on, Little Mama" Helen would say - Little Mama is what she called me. Gradually over the summer I learned to trust Helen.  In the evenings on hot days, Helen would open up the front door.  I was now brave enough to go right up to the screen and look in.  That's when I saw them - all those kitties inside her house.  There was a kitty that looked a lot like the daddy to my first family, but I knew he wasn't.  This kitty was playful and would rub up against the screen.  We touched paws many times.  I heard Helen calling him, "Ezee." And then I saw a beautiful white kitty.  He just stared at me.  I stared back. His name, I learned, was "Casper." Eventually I spied a third cat, a grey and white beauty, with long, silky fur.  I heard Helen call him "Casey." He was my favourite.  I liked to touch paws with him and rub up against the screen.  Oh how I wished that I could go through that screen and live in that house. That's where my friend Helen lived. I wasn't afraid of her anymore.

Oh! I almost forgot.  There was another member of the family - a noisy one. His name, I learned, was "Rocky."  He wasn't a cat. He was what they called, "a dog."  He went everywhere with Helen.  Every day Rocky and Helen would go to the hospital to visit the man of the house.  When Helen and Rocky got home, I was always waiting for them.  I loved the way Helen rubbed my tummy.  I let her do it now. At first Rocky would chase me, but soon, after Helen scolded him a few times, he started to like me. He would come up to me and lick my face. One day I heard Helen say, "So! Little Mama, you are going to be a mommy again!"  That was no surprise to me! 

September came.  The man of the house was now home from the hospital.  It was time for my kittens to be born.  I scouted around for a private place to hide.  One day I heard Helen say, "Little Mama, where did you hide your kittens? (How did she know I'd had them?) For three weeks I kept my hiding place a secret.  Then one day Helen followed me.  One of my kits was adventurous and crept out of the hidey-hole. Helen picked him up. Soon another kit ventured out, and another.  Helen scooped them up and took them into the house.  So, I coaxed the rest of my family out from under the shed. When Helen came back outside I met her at the back door, with my other three kittens following me. Next thing I knew Helen had my kittens in the house.  She knew I would follow.  At last!  I was in Helen's house, a member of her household.

But how would Casper, Ezee, Casey and Rocky react to six little moving balls of fur? Helen put us all in a room and shut the door.  She gave us food, water, and a kitty litter box.  How was I supposed to know how to use a litter box?  But guess what!  Those things come instinctively to kitties. I not only used the box she provided, but I taught all six of my babies to do so too. 

One day, not long after we were welcomed into the house, I was horrified at what happened.  How could Helen have betrayed me like this?  I thought she was my friend.  But here we were, five of my babies and me, squished into a carrier.  Helen kept one of my babies because he looked like Ezee.  I still don't know how I managed to have one Siamese offspring from a black father.  Oh, did I forget to tell you which of the strays I picked to be the father of my babies?  It was my brother - a beautiful, sleek all-black kitty.

But back to this horrid experience of being stuffed into a box with wire windows and a door.  And then, of all things, Helen plunked the cage into the back seat of her car.  Where were we going?  To my disbelief, I learned that she had taken us to the Veterinarian's.  I listened carefully to the conversation between the Vet and Helen.  The Vet had explained earlier to Helen on the phone, when she phoned to find out what to do with a stray mother cat and her kittens, that if she were to take them to the Vet's, and relinquish them (I leaned that "relinquish" means to give them up), the city would pay for the mother to be spayed, and homes would be found for her and her kittens.  Horrors!  Not only was I to be given to a stranger, I was never to be able to have babies again!  My whole world fell apart. Tears splashed on to my babies as I sat in a cramped cell, waiting for my inevitable fate.

It is to remain forever a secret what happened to me during the next two months.

It was now very cold again.  But I didn't care.  I was free!  I was free!  I had escaped from my captivity.  I knew where I was headed.  And sure enough, there it was, the porch with the food dishes still waiting for me.  I started to gobble food down as fast as I could. 

I glanced up at the window, and there was Helen, looking out. I heard her scream, "Come look!  Little Mama's back. She's back!" Soon there were two people at the window.  The man was there too.  I heard him say, "Are you sure it's her?  Go open the door and see if she comes in."

Next thing I know Helen is standing at the open door, calling, "Little Mama.  Is that you?"  Of course it is me!  I walked right in.  Ezee and Casey and Casper and Rocky were all there to greet me.  They licked me and purred. I rolled over, in that cute manner of mine.  What a welcome!  But then along came a little guy.  He came bouncing up to me, hissing and spitting.  He didn't want me.  ThenScooter I recognized him.  That was one of my own babies, and he didn't want me!  Oh well, I would ignore him.  All the others were glad to see me.  I was home to stay.

The man of the house said, "Finders’ keepers, losers’ weepers. Welcome home, ‘Keeper’."

My name was no longer "Little Mama."

The End.

Note form Helen: It didn't take Keeper's son, Scooter, long to make friends with his long-lost mama.  And it didn't take long to learn that Keeper had escaped from her captor WITHOUT being "fixed."  But that was soon remedied. KEEPER is now a permanent member of our household of 5 cats and one dog and two humans.  She doesn't even WANT to go outside.  HD

 "If you find something and let it go, if it returns to you, it is yours. 

If it does not, it was never meant to be."

"Finders' keepers.  Losers' weepers."

If you loved this story, you will also love Helen's other stories

Do kitties have angels?

Living with a Blind Cat

The Shadow and the Chick

The Tale of the Blind Cat



A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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