We are so lucky to be a foster family for both dogs and cats from two different humane groups. We have 8 pets of our own, but we also open our home to rescued animals waiting for their own forever home. Right now we have a Mama Cat with her six little kittens. The mom was dumped right before she gave birth, and these kittens would have been raised as “wild.” I’ve never been around tiny little kittens like this, so I have been thoroughly enjoying the time. We received them when they were a day old and they are now 3.5 weeks.
The Interesting Observation I’ve had the opportunity to experience is the behavior of the Mama Cat. She is both protective of her babies, but also loving and kind. She pays attention to them and gives them the milk, warmth and comfort they need, but she also loves to be around us humans and purrs continuously when we are in the room with her.
If a baby falls out of the bed we’ve created, she gently picks it back up and puts it back in. If she hears one of our other animals at the door, she’ll leave the babies and stand guard to make sure no one is coming in.
As I watch her, I can’t help but be amazed at how God has wired this little Mama Cat with the instinct to be both loving and protective. The Mama doesn’t tell me, “I need a spa day, these kittens are bugging me” or “Why can’t they go find milk somewhere else?” Instead, she freely gives what her babies need and also takes the love and affection she needs.
If a feline can be wired this way, why can’t humans show a similar combination? Why can’t we be direct and confident, but also sweet and loving to others? Why can’t we protect our families but still have an interest in reaching out to others around us? Why can’t we calmly and consistently tend to our “flock,” however we define it, and derive energy from that, instead of feeling drained and resentful of giving too much?
As a working mom who is very, very busy, people will often tell me to take time for myself. “You need to recharge your batteries,” I often hear from others. But I feel like my batteries ARE charged from what I do each day: My children give me energy. My work gives me enthusiasm. Volunteering in humane rescue fuels me. These are things that make my life full and worth living. Why would I want to look at my children or my commitments as burdensome?
This Mama Cat has taught me so much as I’ve watched her. The calm, but totally confident and fearless way she handles her kittens is awesome to me. She has been naturally wired to take care of them, and to also take care and love from the humans who surround her. What a wonderful combination it is. What would the world be like if most of us could take care of others, but also be open to the love and care that others have to offer us?
This week, think like the Mama Cat. Stay calm. Do the things you have before you without complaining, without fretting and without looking for accolades. If someone offers you emotional love and support, take it. And stay calm, confident and in charge, but with a sense of compassion toward everyone you encounter.