Easter came and went, and in its wake were many tears. Tears of beauty and sadness, good times remembered and endings that seem to have come too soon. There is nothing like a mother. Take a look at this beautiful woman. Note she is holding a cat. My mom loved cats and I can remember from childhood that her favorite was Myrtle Rose, a calico - a rather fat calico as I recall. I believe the name of the cat she was holding on her lap in this picture was Blackie.
We had so many cats while I was growing up, and though I didn’t know it at the time, my mom was teaching me how to be a mother and how to be responsible. I remember her once letting my brother, sister and I all name a Siamese tomcat “Hungry-Thirsty-Yankee-Doodle.” Hungry-Thirsty-Yankee-Doodle’s turf was the alleyway behind our Oak Lane duplex in Scotts Valley and I suspect he was the reason I remember so many Siamese kittens!
In those days – not all that long ago – there weren’t the spay-neuter programs we have today. Places like Best Friends with the tag line “no more homeless pets” weren’t yet in existence. Now, mind you, our cats all had a home, and I can only hope that the kittens we gave away lived long and happy lives, but if doing it over today, we wouldn’t have allowed cats to reproduce the way we did back then. I guess it was Bob Barker on the popular game show “The Price is Right” that I first remember mentioning the words spay and neuter, and learning what they meant.
Santa Cruz’s Project Purr traps, sterilizes and releases feral cats to reduce the number of feral cat colonies in our area, as well as educating the public. Also, mandatory spay-neuter bills, while controversial, are becoming more popular as society recognizes the need to humanely end pet overpopulation. In just my lifetime I have seen a huge difference in the way our country views pets, social responsibility, and humane treatment of animals. This brings me great comfort, though the work is never done.
As far as being a good mother, my mom taught me the value of being considerate of others and not participating in gossip; she taught me that loving is worth it and that forgiveness, even in the hardest of circumstances, is possible. I’m still growing into all the ways I can be a good mother, for me that means to my pets since I don’t have children.
As I look forward from this sunny, post-Easter spring day, I do so with gratitude for every moment I shared with my mom, good and bad, every lesson learned, and every cat we ever cared for. Each was an integral part of the treasure-filled tapestry of my life, leading to the here and now.