The More Kittens You Put In Your Heart, The More Love Grows

For more love of life, give of yourself to a fellow living being

Love conquers all, Christyl Rivers

It’s not just true for kittens, it’s true for almost every living thing. It’s just that with kittens, the more your put in your heart, the more room they claw and knead open up space for even more love.

Years ago, after my last miscarriage, I gave up on human babies. Our household, instead switched to hot and cold running cats. Hot cats, ones that snuggle up to you at night, and Cool cats, ones that may be feral, frightened, aloof, and independent.

Either way, cats love to run. And jump. And climb. And chase. And play. Kittens, especially love to play until they are completely tuckered out. Then they collapse into an adorable pile, or if they are singletons (lone orphans) they sometimes tunnel into a pile onto my husband’s after work nap, like the guys in the picture.

When I say I gave up on human babies, that is not entirely true. I am always looking for a foster stand-in child, now grandchild, neighbor, or that cute kid in a grocery cart to share smiles. You may not know it, distracted, frazzled mom, but often total strangers are playing peek a boo at a respectful distance with your toddler. Screaming kid on an airplane? I’ve bewildered a few into appreciated silence with the same tactic.

Making faces at restaurants may become a thing of the post COVID past, but I’d like to think it’s all in the eyes anyway.

At home, though, we always have a least one cat. You should try fostering at least once in your life. The need is great. The cats teach more than you teach them. Their play and curiosity give off sparks of laughter and inspiration.

You need only one walled off room, even a bathroom. Otherwise most shelter cats often just languish in bread box size boxes, and sadly — until people universally learn to neuter their pets — many thousands are put to death each day. You network with others actively searching for adopting parents and Fur Ever homes. Then the kitties find their place in the world with your love, and your blessing.

Trying to have our own human kids after the expense, and hormonal roller coaster of IVF’s that failed every time, it was time for my heart to fill up with love for life, not loss of it.

Kittens, especially if they are orphaned, need the same amount of attention as human babies. They need warmth. They need feeding. They need comfort. They need to be changed, and then potty (box) trained. They need a mom, but not necessarily their biological mom. Also, a great many of those moms are also men.

It is not respectful of women to try to link mother love solely to human babies. Think that for most years of a woman’s life, she is not fertile. She is still human, though. Our attitudes about women staying in the home should definitely equate with being an essential worker, but it should be by choice, not by an expectation for procreation.

And please remember, if the first words out of your mouth when you meet a woman, are “Do you have any kids?” You may have opened up a private place in a broken heart, that may or may not, need your tender attention and further inquiry.

I like to say I have cat kids.

Or even that I have thousands of flowering trees and shrubs, fruiting harvests of citrus, mac nuts, cacao, avocado, bananas, papaya, and more. Living on a farm means you have more attention and nurturing to give than you can even think about.

The world doesn’t need more people, at least not right now. But it sure needs love. Even the wild world needs less of our stuff, and more of our re-connection. Most other animals, indeed, the living biosphere,needs you to remember your kinship with them. Hint: this also prevents world pandemics.

At the end of the day, it’s time to walk to the vacant lot, or nearby other cat colony and offer some pats, scritches, and treats to the feral (or sometimes dumped) house-cats someone discarded.

A local charity looks out for these misfits and throwaways. People who give generously of their time work hundreds of hours for no pay. They are the cat women, (usually women), and not the cat ladies, (if you please, and thank you!) of the world.

Their love ensures our communities are not over run with rats and other vermin. Their love reduces the amount of cat fighting, howling, and contagious diseases and parasites that come with unattended cats.

In place like Hawaii, colony cats have fewer natural predators, such as coyotes, so without trap and neuter programs, many thousands of cats would need to either have miserable lives, or to be euthanized.

Like all animal charities, trap and neuter programs are not without critics. Yes, cats do kill birds, but having fewer cats to kill fewer birds has great value in my opinion. Kona advoCATS, alone, has neutered over 20,000 cats, each of which could have produced twenty plus more cats per lifetime.

Trying fostering for a limited time costs only your time and some kitty kibble. Like any enterprise taken on to nurture the world, it is rewarding.

Especially if you love babies, you will love fostering kittens. It is painful when it’s time to say goodbye, but it is necessary in order to find the new orphan who needs you even more.

Unlike cures of questionable safety during times of crisis, or loneliness, fostering a dog, cat, or just volunteering for some outings for very appreciative animals is so life-affirming.

Try it, even if only for a brief afternoon. You can make a difference in a life, and it may even be your own.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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