Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people

This is my latest monthly column for The Catholic Free Press.
I have now admitted in print that I am a crazy cat lady!🙂

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I am a crazy cat lady. There, I said it.

While I have two cats of my own, that’s only the beginning. I also follow live kitten cams online and chat regularly with the many viewers. My main reason for visiting Facebook is to follow the lives of foster kittens after they have been adopted. Continue reading “Latest Catholic Free Press Column – Lessons learned from crazy cat people”

Sisters, sisters …

Kitty Clubbers! One of you (Rose Marie W, thanks!) sent me the perfect picture of the Sisters Spooky and Venus:

Sisters, sisters … Spooky and Venus

I couldn’t resist. I had to post this video, one of my favorite songs, one my best friend and I used to sing together.  From “White Christmas” I present Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen singing “Sisters.” Imagine Spooky and Venus in their places.🙂

Click to Tweet & Share: Spooky and Venus rival Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen in “White Christmas” singing “Sisters”🙂 #sevenkittens http://wp.me/p2D9hg-9i

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
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The metaphor of Seven Kittens

In a previous post I shared how a live cam on Ustream of a stray cat and her kittens rescued by a woman in Pittsburgh, PA had caught the attention of the world. Thousands followed the escapade of Noodles and her kittens and shed tears as they grew up and went on to their permanent homes.

This may seem like a story reserved for cat lovers but I couldn’t help but notice a universal theme.

To review the scenario:

  • A woman takes pity on a stray, pregnant cat and takes her into her home.
  • Five weeks later the cat bears seven kittens.
  • Care and love are lavished with tremendous generosity on the cat and kittens.
  • One kitten is a tiny runt with no hair. He is so small that the chat community is concerned for him.
  • The mother cat is especially solicitous towards the runt. The community takes notice and falls in love with the runt and roots for him.
  • The cat and kittens thrive under the care they’re receiving and blossom into beautiful young cats, perfectly socialized and affectionate with humans.
  • Loki (Runty) at 8 weeks with the lucky lady he would soon go home with

    The runt especially blossoms, turning into a large, fluffy and sweet beauty.

  • The girls are gorgeous tortis, the boys lean and handsome gingers.
  • The adoptions go well and the kittens go home.

End of story. Or is it?

In the midst of a dark, chaotic and polarized world, a small international community grows around creatures given a home, love and care. The love is contagious and soon the community cares for the cat and kittens. And then people in community begin to care for each other.

It proves something I’ve suspected for a long time: love begets love.

from http://matthewpaulturner.net/jesus-needs-new-pr/the-light-is-for-you-a-post-inspired-by-rachelheldevans/

We are created to seek goodness, love and beauty. We long for light, not darkness, but we get pulled off course.

We seek happiness from the outside: from the glitzy, glamorous, sexy, exciting, unwholesome and even dangerous when it fact, it dwells within, simply and quietly, waiting for us.

In an ugly world the site of a cat and her kittens being so generously cared for is attractive and touches the heart. And it drew people in like a moth to a flame.

This wasn’t just a story about cats: this is about us.

One person took a chance fostering these kittens. She accepted the risk, laid out her money, gave of her time, and poured out her heart. Although many in the chat community are sad at the departure of the family, this person must feel especially drained and heartbroken.

Happily ever after

The story, however, has a happy ending. No one in the community could deny the miracle of the blossoming of these kittens (most especially the runt); it was the product of selfless love. The weak were taken in and made strong.

And no one could deny the friendships that grew within the community. When the kittens were quietly sleeping and out of sight, the conversations continued. People began to get to know each other. Even though posts were in many different languages, all converged around a single, unifying event.

Love begets love

from http://www.profkrg.com/nerd-note-each-other-vs-one-another

Love is oftentimes depicted in the scriptures as beginning small and growing big. The mustard seed grows into the huge tree. The five loaves and two fish feed 5000 people. The small bits of leaven make the bread rise.

And love given spontaneously to a stray cat and her kittens grows into an international community.

God, who is Love, is continuously at work in the world using any and all situations to communicate with us. Like so many of the mundane, everyday occurrences of our lives, these events teach us how to love and care for each other.

We just need the eyes to see.

Linked to stay in touch

So far, two Facebook pages have set up by the new owners:

Loki: https://www.facebook.com/SevenKittensLOKI

Cosmo: https://www.facebook.com/cosmo.swishermullins

Seven Kittens has a page too: https://www.facebook.com/TheSevenKittens

And you can watch highlights from the Ustream site: http://www.ustream.tv/sevenkittens

Click to Tweet & Share: What can seven kittens teach us about love, light and each other? Plenty! http://wp.me/p2D9hg-55

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Beyond words

possibly the last time nursing together – Noodles and her 7 kittens. Photo by JL Kramer, foster mother extraordinaire

Click to Tweet & ShareBeyond words–kittens nursing for the last time http://wp.me/p2D9hg-4K

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
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Kitty Scrapbook

at 6 weeks – Noodles, at less than a year old, was a Supermom!

The response to the sevenkittens post from the other day was overwhelming! Noodles and her brood are truly an international phenom.

This weekend, the seven kittens (Taco, Hank, Ramon, Cosmo, Spooky, Venus and Loki) go home with their forever families. Noodles will be accompanying one of the boys. Everyone in the community is bidding a fond, and sad, farewell.

Real people in a viral world

On the surface it seems ridiculous to be so vested in a live cam of total strangers on the internet. But I am quickly discovering real people behind handle names like “babysmama” and “minty929,” and sometimes poignant stories of loss and healing.

It’s been a pleasure meeting you all!

Kitty scrapbook

It seemed appropriate to offer a scrapbook of pictures of the cats that belong to these wonderful people whose company I have shared during long summer days at a deadly quiet office (which will pick up with gusto come September).

And we can remember Noodles and her lovely family, happy, healthy, safe and very much loved by their new families.

And the Kramer household can slowly get back to normal.🙂

Enjoy this virtual scrapbook!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click to Tweet & Share: Missing Noodles & her brood? Come see the lucky cats owned by #sevenkittens community members http://wp.me/p2D9hg-3V

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Seven Kittens show us what an ideal world can look like

at 2 months – Hank is looking up while the others sleep

What began as a romp watching cute kittens on a live cam morphed into something
much bigger.

It was something the UStream chat community, the foster family and the eventual new owners of the kittens could have hardly anticipated.

Seven kittens and their mother taught us showed us what a perfect world could look like.

The story behind “sevenkittens”

According to the information on the Ustream site known as “sevenkittens,” the kittens were born on June 7. The mother cat, Noodles, under a year old, was a hungry, pregnant stray taken in and fostered by a kind Pittsburgh, PA family.

Here is a video of the litter, one day old:

All are spoken for

As the family already has four cats of their own, Noodles and her litter were put up for adoption. I am happy to report that each kitten and Noodles too, have been adopted (in fact, Noodles will be going to her new home with one of her ginger sons).

3 weeks, after feeding at the “milk bar”

Breakdown of the family

There are five male gingers: three are orange, one is buff-colored and the fifth is nearly white. This kitten, dubbed “Runty” by the chat community, was, in fact, the runt of the litter.

The two females are tortis, one black and the other gray.

The best of care

The foster family has lavished great care on this litter, producing beautiful, healthy and socially adjusted kittens ready for their forever homes.

Gone viral

LiveCams of baby animals are popping up all over the place, from birds’ nests to litters of puppies and kittens.

Yet “sevenkittens” has managed an astonishing three million-plus views! This weekend those of us who have been following the litter with great interest will bid a fond farewell and shed more than few tears.

What was it about this litter of kittens that attracted over three million views?

  • Loki (Runty) at 8 weeks with the lucky lady he would soon go home with

    A compelling storyline. “Runty” (now known as Loki) stole the hearts of everyone who visited. We all rooted for him as he grew from an alarmingly small newborn to a sweet, healthy and magnificent looking boy-cat.

  • Supermom! Noodles’ care of seven rambunctious kittens, especially considering her youth, was extraordinary. When she wasn’t with her kittens, she was calling to them. She’d even play with them.
  • Variety. There was something for everyone in this litter from gingers to tortis, from sweet-tempered to rambunctious, glamorous girls and handsome boys.
  • at 2 months – Ramon (left) and the lovely Venus (right)

    Beautiful, peaceful images. The pictures of Noodles nursing her kittens soothed many a viewer who would check in during a stressful work day.

  • A viable, and international, community. Kittens are universal. Members of the chat community literally came from all over the world, chatting in many foreign languages. We had a common interest in mind – love for this cat family – and we got to know each other in the process.
  • A happy ending. Animal lovers know how many strays suffer and die prematurely. We’ve seen those disturbing ads from the Humane Society. This foster family lavished their attention and resources on Noodles and her kittens, sacrificing time, money and a bedroom in their home for them. It was a generous gesture very much appreciated by the whole community. And every kitten (plus the mother) are going to forever homes.

The kindness of strangers. A community pulling together around a common purpose. Scenes of perfect bliss with a mother and her children. And lots of love.

Sounds like a glimpse of a perfect world.

Thank you to the foster family for your generosity, for opening your home and sharing your story, for capturing the best highlights for us to look at again and again, and for Noodles and her children: Taco, Cosmo, Ramon, Hank, Spooky, Venus and most especially Loki.

The live Ustream will be up at least through this Friday, August 17. Highlights are available at the site. There are also videos available on YouTube at kittensseven.

I leave you with a slideshow chronicling the lives of this extraordinary litter. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you are a member of the chat community or are just interested, email me and I’ll send you all the pictures I’ve collected in a zip file.

Click to Tweet & Share: Seven Kittens show us what an ideal world can look like http://wp.me/p2D9hg-2Q

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Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read my other blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion