Willow has been obsessed with cats for the past few months. So obsessed, she has checked out every book on cats and kittens from the Missoula Public Library. So obsessed, she saved up her allowance and did extra chores for money, and spent it all on cat food, litter, a kitty bed, litter box, and two little dishes for food and water. And cat toys. She showed her dad and I, repeatedly, that she is both capable and willing to help us take care of a kitten.

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And so, for the past few months, our family has been talking about adding a cat to our menagerie, which already includes two dogs and a cat. We made the rounds at the local shelters, and heard all about how they get slammed with pregnant cats every spring. We decided, on the spot, to sign up to foster one of those cats, with the idea that we’d keep one of the kittens.

That’s how we came to bring home Mama on Wednesday. And how we came to to jump out of bed at 4 a.m. yesterday to watch her give birth to three ittie bitties.

And how today, on Mother’s Day, I come to be attending to another mother. It turns out Mama cat is sweet, social, soft and utterly enamored with my daughter. She comes when Willow calls her – “Mama, Mama” – and follows her around. She was cuddled up next to her, purring loudly, just before she gave birth to her first kitten at the foot of Willow’s bed. She lets us handle her kittens freely.

So of course now we’re talking about keeping Mama cat, too.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you awesome mamas out there.

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