What are the elements that make bestseller fiction? This true barn-cat story has them all.
This true story has all the makings of a bestseller for cats. By way of background, we have two indoor cats, but this is not a story about them. This is a story about a whole community of “barn cats” that live outside our door. Yes, we feed them; that’s my mother-in-law’s hobby. Every few months, the composition of that community changes. Some cats leave. Some cats are born. Some cats die. Some cats return (not from the dead).
This is the tragic tale of a young barn cat, born into suffering, thrown challenges no feline being could bear to face. She was part of a fall litter – early November if I recall correctly. That meant she, like her three siblings, would have to face the bitter-cold Canadian winter as a kitten.
Except that two of her siblings got a ticket past the suffering of winter. Yes, she lost two siblings before snow even fell.
Over the winter, the community dug in. The two remaining from the fall litter bunkered down with five from the previous spring litters, and an occasional visit from a few relatives.
As spring approached, the male cats got humpy. She was not even six months old when she got pregnant.
She gave birth to four kittens in late April, sheltering them in the thick, but leafless, rose bushes under our window. A week later, she moved the three survivors. Yes, she lost one of her four kittens (a really cute gray color, too!) We have no idea where she relocated the kittens, nor whether all three have survived (we suspect that two did).
This, by the way, is what all the other mothers have done. As soon as the kittens are old enough, they move them, careful to make sure that we don’t know where.
About a month after moving her kittens, she showed up with a limp. She could not bear weight on one of her front paws. No worries, we told ourselves. It will heal.
Today, I caught a glimpse of the underside of the paw. I saw the exposed leg bone disconnected, hanging in the open, unattached to the paw. The paw is hanging by skin and fur, and perhaps by some veins and meat. It will not be healing.
If cats write novels, this has all the elements of a bestseller.
- Born into suffering.
- Enduring incredible loss.
- Abuse at the hands of others.
- Violence (we assume, to have ripped apart a paw like that).
- Endurance and survival.
- Cats (Hey, people love cats…and cats love cats, too).
All that is left for you is to fill in the details.