Bete Noire, the Black Cat

By David Ramsey

When I returned to my house in San Miguel de Allende after a trip, I entered my dark garage and heard, then felt, several furry critters scampering around my feet. I discovered three kittens and their emaciated, completely black, mother who looked up at me with smoldering green eyes. Apparently, while I was gone, this family had been left in a cardboard box outside my house and my house sitter took pity on them and let them in the garage. I intended to leave the kittens at the SPA and take the mother, now named Bete Noire, home, but Joan, the cat advocate, thought it would be better if the mother and the three kittens stayed together for a few days. A wrinkle was added to this plan when three more kittens were abandoned outside the SPA. Bete Noire agreed to mother the new ones also.

About a month later, after she had been spayed, I took Bete Noire home. The feral cats I sometimes fed were after her, perhaps because of traces of hormones still in her system. So I kept her mostly inside and let her sleep in my bed, a practice she does not intend to give up. I selected one of the less-wild tomcats as a proper suitor and chased the others away. When he comes over, they greet each other with a kiss. Then I feed him outside and her inside. I think she has grown about 25 percent since I first saw the diminutive creature in my garage.

Each morning, Bete Noire badgers me into getting up earlier than I would like so we can go from the bedroom to the living area, where she has breakfast, and I get a cup of coffee. Then she goes outside, and I go back to bed to read until the sun comes in my bedroom window. She likes to sit on the wall beneath the tree (which I planted years ago) in the vain expectation of catching one of the birds that sometime light there. Despairing of this activity, she usually races along my neighbors’ connecting walls and roofs. I often see her through the window. It makes me glad that she can still experience some of her youth, even after mothering the six kittens that were later adopted from the SPA.

The SPA has great cats and kittens for adoption. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 11am-2pm, Los Pinos 7, phone 152-6124.


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