October 28, 2008


I am still feeding Penelope the white cat that is Frida’s mother. Several weeks ago she approached me on an outside wall, walking over and crouching down, then meowing soundlessly, and saying, “Senora, I am desperately starving, you took my baby so you owe me.”

She was piteously thin. There were lots of little black specks of fruit flies crawling on her fur and her eyes were draining almost as if she was crying. She looked most pathetic. I took pity on her and told her I would feed her, that yes I had taken her child, and I did owe her. I went in the house and got cat food, and when I came back out and put it down I realized from the way her sides were distended that she was pregnant. So then I told her I would keep feeding her so her kittens could be healthy.

Well now she comes every afternoon and I feed her. For a week now she has been skinny again. Once I thought I heard kittens miaowing nearby, but it could just have easily been my imagination. I actually don’t know if they are ensconced somewhere or whether they were so malnourished that they didn’t survive their birth as it was pretty late in the game that I started feeding her.

She now looks well fed which means that she has the energy to hiss at me everyday as she approaches me for the food I put down for her. Her eyes are a glacial pale blue with a baleful cast. There’s nothing like a little gratitude—it goes a long way. Nothing is more humbling than caring for something that snarls, “I hate you but I will eat the food you bring me anyway.” Maybe the payback will be if I see some little kitties trapsing out to join her one day. I wish there was someway to get her fixed, but she is really wild and untrusting and she would just as soon bite the hand that feds her.

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