This is one of the most inspiring stories we here at The Best Cat Page have come across in a long time.
This story takes place in Australia.
Renate writes: “My eight-year-old daughter wanted a cat for her ninth birthday. We already had one but he was a boy — a major disadvantage if you want to see how kittens are born.
Fortuitously, a neighbor was saddled with a litter that was not exactly planned. We chose a grey and white kitten and named her Poppy.
Poppy was a darling and quickly grew to the age where we could expect kittens. Living on the fringes of large acres of bush, where many cats thrived, we hoped for a speedy and successful union.
A year went by before Poppy became suspiciously fatter. The day arrived when she was clearly in labour, and a large kitten was born — but to our dismay, it was dead.”
Tears flowed but we could see that the contractions were continuing, so we put her back into the prepared bed. I took the dead kitten, wrapped it in newspaper and put it in the bin. Very soon, much to everyone’s delight, a live kitten was born: a small black and white scrap.
We went to bed happy; but not Poppy. She came to our bed mewing piteously. We gave her milk, we gave her water, we gave her food but nothing stopped her crying.
“I think she is mourning for the dead kitten,” I told my husband.
“Anthropomorphic rubbish,” he said. “Cats can’t count.”
In the morning, we let Poppy out of the house and immediately she went to the birthplace of her kitten. It was obvious to me what she wanted. I took the dead kitten out of the bin, unwrapped it from its shroud of newspaper and put it on the ground.
Poppy inspected it closely, sniffed it, licked it a little and then went back to her live kitten. Four more times she inspected the kitten and, seemingly satisfied, went back to feed her little one.
The next day Poppy disappeared. The day wore on but she did not return. Tears from my daughter and unsuccessful attempts to feed the kitten followed. Night came — but no Poppy.
We kept the kitten as warm as we could and spent a sleepless night imagining the worst. Twenty-four hours after she had disappeared, Poppy returned, quite unperturbed. She took over her kitten with aplomb and from that moment on was a model mother.
Exactly 66 days later — the gestation time for cats — Poppy went into labour. A small, live, black and white kitten was born. It was wonderful to watch her feeding both kittens at once, making sure the smaller one got enough milk.
“She went out deliberately to replace the dead kitten,” I told my husband.
“Rubbish,” he said.
On the veranda, a contented Poppy lay in the sun looking after both her kittens, as she was surely meant to do.”
How inspiring was that?”