Back in 1998, a tortoise colored calico feral cat dropped a littler of three kittens in my dad's cornfield.
My dad noticed the little puddle of multi-colored kittens when he was getting ready to plow under the dried corn stalks in his cornfield.
Of the three kittens, two were male and one was a female.
Snowball was an all white male and the largest of the three kittens.
Rusty was a tiger stripped big boned male.
Molly (aka later as "Miss Martha" when her dominant personality became known) was classic gray, white and with a bit of orange calico female cat.
When my dad told my Mom what he found in the field, she wanted to rescue them. Even though they were kittens of a feral cat, they were easily rescued. My Mom brought them down to their house. The Mother Cat seemed to appreciate that her kittens would be cared for. However, she stopped around several times each day to check up on them, never letting any human getting near her.
My Mom would put out a plate of food for her which she would come down everyday and eat. She did this every day until one day she stopped coming around. We found her along side the road a few days later. She was dead, apparently hit by a speeding car.
In time the kittens grew up. Snowball, the bit white male, was the dominant cat. He protected his smaller brother and sister.
About the time the kittens were one year old, my Mom found Snowball dead by the back porch. Apparently he got into a fight with the neighbor's dog who got loose. Snowball lost defending his siblings.
Molly took over as the Head Cat even though Rusty was much bigger. Rusty, all his life, as big as he was, was always a Fraidy Cat.
Mom, Molly and Rusty enjoyed a close and harmonious relationship over the next twelve years.
Rusty thought he was "married" to Mom and was very protective of her. Whenever Mom went out to hang up the clothes, there was Rusty guarding her. Whenever Mom took her daily walk, there was Rusty on the sidelines, keeping an every watchful eye out for any potential mugger.
Molly was Mom's hot water bottle. She always slept with Mom. Rusty didn't like to stay inside the house. He still had strong feral cat instincts. If the weather got too cold, Rusty would relent and spend the in the enclosed front porch but come morning he wanted OUT. If Mom didn't get him out fast enough, he would attack the door Garfield like. The door has plenty of Rusty's claw marks to prove this.
When Mom's health began failing last October, we decided to move her to live with brother John in the South. Isaac (my brother who was living with her) and I decided she couldn't survive another Pennsylvania winter, which proved to be very fortuitous given the back to back blizzards we had last year.
Mom couldn't take her cats with her. They were used to the only home they knew. Mom left without her cats. They were the one thing she really missed when she moved south to my brother John's home.
Late this summer Rusty and Molly must have realized that Mom wasn't coming back. Rusty died in August. Molly died in September. Mom died last month. They're all together now. And this is as it should be.
This I believe with all my heart and soul.