She made herself a bed beside the workshop, underneath the thick azalea bushes. I counted four newborn kittens. One was gray and white, one all gray, and two were black as night. The black ones looked like twins.
I always fed and watered Mama and checked the kittens every day, and after two weeks I noticed that one of the black ones was missing. It was hard to see them in the thick bushes so I thought perhaps I had miscounted.
The kittens grew and we played and loved each other. Mama cat was the best mother an animal or a human could possibly have been. Mama taught them to hunt, fight, keep clean and keep their nest clean.
She fed them and protected them through the summer storms, the heat, and from wild animals. She was fierce—she would have given her life for her babies.
Once Mama misread our German shepherd’s intentions towards her four-week-old kittens and Mama was more than ready to take on our very big dog. My husband was standing nearby and she turned to him as if to say, “And I will take you on too.” Both stood down. Mama was a small cat, but she was dynamite.
One evening, as the cats and I were relaxing with each other, I saw a small solid black cat sitting at a distance, watching us. It had such a yearning look—so alone, hungry and so wild. It looked exactly like Midnight, Mama’s black kitten. It was the same size, the head was shaped the same, and their eyes looked so alike. My memory drifted back to when the kittens were first born, when I thought Midnight had a twin. He just showed up there, unexpectedly, out of the black night—just appeared out of nowhere. Where did this cat come from? When Mama’s babies were born, did she mistakenly think that Midnight’s twin was dead and dragged it off to keep the nest clean? Could it be that this kitten survived without Mama?
I tried so hard to make friends with this new cat but this just wouldn’t happen. One evening I looked out my window and saw Midnight and the stranger huddling together, as if they had never been apart. Then suddenly, they were gone from my sight. I never saw either one of them again.
I am still looking for them; if you see them huddled together in the midst of the night, tell them I miss them.