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Sylvia's Babies

I saw the most amazing thing a day ago. The little stray cat (kitten really) that we have been feeding for the past weeks deposited a kitten at my doorstep.

  • Susan Burns,
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I saw the most amazing thing a day ago. The little stray cat (kitten really) that we have been feeding for the past weeks deposited a kitten at my doorstep. My cousin Ken had just stopped by for coffee and a chat. I had turned the coffeemaker on when I heard Sylvia meowing at the door. It was about time for her to show up. (Cats do get into routines, you know.) I opened the door to let her in and saw her and a lump of fur on my stoop. Ken and I both began dancing around and praising God like our Charismatic friends. What a delight! What an answer to prayer! We brought mother and baby in and cooed and purred together. As the day wore on, my tiny little girl made the trip down the hill again and again. She would take a few steps and stop, look and listen, go a bit further, stop and listen, all the way down the rocky road. She had to be assured it was safe before her babies came out into the cold, cruel world. She torpedoed under the trailer. With a Herculean effort, she rocketed from underneath the trailer with a kitten in her mouth. She would run a few steps and stop, renew her bite on the kitten's neck, and run a few steps further. Stop, rebite, run. The ritual continued through Tim's yard. Granny Susan got with the program and assisted. I picked up the second and third kitten and carried each back to the house with Momma Sylvia close behind. We made it inside with Number 3 just as a glorious shower danced across the hills and through the hollow.

Sylvia had dashed onto my brother Tim's porch about a month ago starving and begging for food. After a few days, I discovered that not only was she a girl, but she was or had been a nursing mother. That changed everything. Everyone was on alert to feed Sylvia. But where were the babies? What had happened to them? Were they dead or alive? Sylvia was not giving up any information. I thought she had lost her babies and when my Mom expressed interest in keeping her and it appeared that her milk had dried up, I took her to Mom's house. Mom called the next morning, "She is full of milk!" Indeed, Sylvia was almost exploding with milk! Mom and Dad brought her back to Middle Creek and we soon learned that her babies were under Tim's trailer. My brother Bob and I moved some underpinning and stood in a downpour (that resulted in flooding in Middle Creek and elsewhere in Southwest Virginia) looking for mother and babies. Once again, Sylvia was not giving up any information. The good news was that her staying under the trailer so long meant the babies were alive. All we could do was pray, watch, and wait for them to come out.

So, their appearance at my house was an answer to prayer. A blessed event, indeed. (It is the second blessed event of spring. The cat who came with the house, Samme, has four monster kittens under my bed now!)

I have had many thoughts during the days since Sylvia came to us in Middle Creek: Why do people abandon their animals? Why don't they have them neutered? We cannot have a mountain full of wild cats here! "A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, But the compassion of the wicked is cruel" (Pr. 12:10). What would Jesus do? Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from my Father. "Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah" (Ps. 84:3-4). "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travileth in pain together until now" (Rom. 8:19-22). Maranatha.

But what has rocked me most as I have watched this little Momma, surely no more than six months old herself, with her strong, passionate, single-minded instinct to save, nurture, protect, and defend her babies, is to remember how many human mommas kill their own little darlings as they rest and grow in the God-ordained protection of the womb. Millions are dead now since that damnable Roe. v. Wade of years ago. And it is not a kind or gentle death, or a "merciful" lethal injection, but a ripping and tearing and dismemberment without anesthesia. Vivisection. How far we have fallen! How far our society has to climb to get back to the level where the women of our culture can mother as well as Momma Sylvia! Holy Father help us!


  • Susan Burns

Susan  is the managing editor of the the Faith for All of Life magazine and the Chalcedon Report (bi-monthly newsletter). Susan has worked for Chalcedon since 1997. She lives in Virginia and is rather fond of animals, especially her many cats.

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