This poem is about a mother cat that has just given birth in an old mill. She tells you, in her own words, of her constant struggle to feed and defend her kittens.
One night, while she is out searching for food, she is hit by a car. During her last minutes, she wonders who will find her kittens, they are hidden so well.
“Who Will Find Them, I Hid Them So Well”
by Mary Lee Harrington
I didn’t ask that they be born. I didn’t ask that they
All I asked was to be spayed, to cut this cycle of endless strife.
I’ve often dreamed of having a home and a friend, but mostly a name;
And I waited and waited, but no one ever came.
So I birthed another litter in this old abandoned mill,
Where the walls are still crumbling and the floor slowly starts to fill.
But it’s where I call home, though my bed is on the ground,
It’s where night predators are lurking; I can’t let them be found.
So I’ll move them again, higher up, a new place I must seek,
And I’ll carry each one though my legs feel so weak.
They’ll be safer now, well hidden, completely out of view,
Yes safer now from predators and sadly humans too.
Each one’s unique as I feel their breath,
I will feed and defend them until my death.
I wash them and warm them; their ears feel like silk,
Each open mouth needing my milk.
It’s a small litter this time, two tigers and a grey,
I wish their life was different is what I want to say.
I’ll just wait now till they all fall asleep,
Then leave for food that I must seek.
The night is cold and it’s starting to snow
The dumpsters will be empty, my search will be slow.
Sometimes I’m lucky and people are kind
Mostly I’m scared; I don’t know what I’ll find.
The snow is falling harder now, more difficult to see
I can’t see the cars and they can’t see me.
I should have been more careful and searched during the day
It’s just that I’m so hungry; I have to make my way.
I’ll just cross this street, but wait a light is coming this way
I’m too weak to run- too long as a stray.
If I should die and be covered with snow,
No one will find me, no one will know.
If I could speak, I could tell,
But no one will find them, they’re hidden so well.
All I ever wanted was to be a friend and have a name
But no one ever caught me and so the litters came.
Now as I lay here I can’t hear their cries,
They are in my thoughts and in my eyes.
I know where they are, but I can’t tell
Who will find them, I hid them so well.
The purpose of my poem is to try and increase awareness of the continuing problem of hundreds of stray cats, needlessly born into a life of loneliness, starvation and finally death.
Our shelters are over-crowded and do not take in feral/stray cats. If litters are found and rescued, they can be put up for adoption, but what happens to the mother cat? She just continues going through endless cycles of births until her death.
Since moving to Lowell, Massachusetts, I have become involved with a non-profit, no-kill shelter called Kitty Angels. They are strictly a volunteer organization with hearts of gold but have limited resources.
Two years ago, they helped me trap some feral cats that were living in an abandoned building. I had heard their cries as I walked by. They were spayed and returned to the building, the only home they had ever known. They were and still are considered feral and not adoptable. Now with the help of two dear friends, I am able to care for them, they are in a safe place and are fed on a daily basis. On the mornings that I feed them, they are usually waiting for me by the fence. If they are not there, I simply call and they come running. You see each one is unique, if only a stray, each one has a name now; there are two tigers and a grey.
If you would like to adopt a kitten or an older cat, make a donation or simply volunteer some time, please visit Kitty Angels at www.kittyangels.org or call 978-649-4681.
Mary Lee Harrington
Copyright © 2006 Mary Lee Harrington. Used with permission of the author.
Kitty Angels, Inc. P.O. Box 638 Tyngsboro, MA 01879
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