The small, black-and-white cat paces beneath our bedroom window. Her plaintive meows keep me awake, thinking about mothers and children. Thinking about maternal instincts, broken hearts, and people who do what they think is best for the little ones.
She is a feral cat who had kittens beneath our house. After a couple of attempts foiled by Momma-cat's ferocity, we were able to capture the kittens. Three adorable little balls of fur. They are old enough that they will drink milk from a syringe we offer, and after a few hours, they are purring in our arms. We hope, we believe, there is a very good chance they will be adopted into a loving family after we take them to the SPCA.
I don't want to overly anthropomorphize or make assumptions about what this little cat is thinking and feeling. But I can tell that Momma-cat knows her babies are in here. She doesn't know or care of our good intentions. Even days after they were taken from her, she hangs close to our house. Though I truly believe we have done the right thing, not just for ourselves, or for our neighborhood. Her offspring will likely live longer, more luxurious lives than they would scrounging for food in the alley and dodging coyotes and having litter after litter themselves...if they survive the pound.
But all I can think of is how hard Momma's worked to birth her babes and care for them in the wild for weeks. Whatever she's trying to communicate to them now as she wails beneath our window, it conveys her deep, deep unbreakable connection to her children.