Ting-a-Ling had multiple litters. She was the best teacher on how-to-mother, absolutement. She nested. She was attentive and caring and nurturing. She was a teacher. She was healthy, protective and, probably most important, she used feline instincts. And thinking back on it now, she taught how not to be a helicopter parent because she taught how to let go and let her children move on without her. Instinct and letting go. Are we missing something by moving away from nature into more constructed lifestyles?
Lady Godiva was her name, kitten in this photo, (one of the most viewed photos on MotherPie's Flickr). She might not have been the teacher that Tinkerbell was for my youngest child but maybe the teaching was modeled inadvertently. Lady Godiva's mother was a rescued feral cat and her birthing environment had been a cage. Lady Godiva's birthing environment was not the garage, as Ting-a-Ling's was and Lady only had one litter before being fixed. Ting had the door cracked and a feral instinct very intact. Ting-a-Ling's lessons came from later litters.
There is a sad ending for both cats but that is for another writing. The significant model for mothering my daughter had could have been the weekly five hours we spent each Saturday together over two years caring for babies and toddlers that otherwise would have been warehoused in hospitals. Supplementing the 24/7 nursing staff, volunteer care helped these little ones readjust to a drug-free, non-abusive and loving world. Caring for others beyond our own litters...sometimes that is the most important nurturing and modeling our young could ever have.
Eeeewww meow: Toxoplasmosa, the parasite that cats carry (and pregnant women should avoid), was the topic of a recent NYTimes article linking possibly to schizoprehnia. Miss Cellania has a wonderful post with a bunch of links on cats here if you want more cat stuff. Scientists have now bred an allergy-free kitty using a technique called genetic divergence, physorg.com reports and they cost $4,000. Wow meow.