Monday, February 05, 2007

Cats Tuesday: Matilda

Matilda and her son, Turnip

I want to tell the story of Matilda and the moth. When I taught in the inner city in Connecticut, I found Matilda behind the school. She was just about the cutest thing I had ever met. Her huge eyes enchanted everyone and her sweet, outgoing personality endeared everyone. As young as she was, she quickly became the mother of all the cats in the house. We learned very soon after rescuing her that Matilda was going to be a mother for real!

Young Matilda
Matilda was the best cat mother I have ever observed. She taught her family of five kittens how to drink from a water bowl by having them sit around the bowl while she drank. I then watched as one by one they tried to drink it. Repeatedly Matilda would demonstrate the technique for them as they struggled with this new skill.

Another day as the kittens were lined up on the kitchen floor (how did she get them to do this?), Matilda brought a huge moth into the kitchen. We lived in the city then, but had built the cats a large and safe run so that they could be outside. Occasionally different animals like moths, earthworms, snakes, and even birds were killed and brought into the house.

Using the live moth, Matilda demonstrated her hunting skills for the kids. Some were horrified and cringed in fear of the moth. Others tried to jump in and play. But Matilda kept them all in control until she let them kill the moth with their play.

I miss those days with Matilda and the kittens. I kept all the kittens except one which I gave to my son. There are only two left now: Zorro and Turnip. Zorro you have seen before in my photos. Turnip is in the first photo of this post with his mother.

Matilda died the day after Thanksgiving 2005, from a severe case of ECG, an auto-immune disease that is not controllable forever. Even while in severe pain, Matilda was kind and gentle to others and slept in my arms all of her last night. I was unable to let Matilda suffer any longer and tearfully let her go in peace.

Even dogs trusted Matilda and allowed her to nibble their mouths.



  1. A tribute to Mathilda, she really was an exceptional cat ! And what a lovely cat face she had. I love to watch cat mothers, they are so "Mother" there is no other word. Pookie never had babies, but she is the "mother" of the whole househuld (us included) She also is an amazing little cat. It's so sad to have to let your cat go, I experienced it 3 times in my life and it was awful. The last one was our Max who died in 2005 because he was too old 20 years ! Now only little by little I can talk about him, and will surely write about him too, but until now, I just couldn't.
    Your post is perfect and a small or big logo is the same, that doesn't matter. But I think if somebody wants to participate to this meme, they also should play the game and respect the rules. Otherwise it will never work. Don't you agree ?
    I love tuesdays, it's so nice to read so many cat stories !
    We are all convinced now, that Arthur was "kidnapped" by a child who wanted to keep him and were probably locked up in her room and the parents didn't know about it. Because when he returned, he was not hungry not thursty and just looked fine. Probably they let him free, when the parents discovered Arthur. That's the only explanation. I think in summer he will get back to his own self, by now he probably is afraid of being kidnapped again, lol !

  2. Matilda sounds like she was such a sweet cat. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story :) I'm sure it was difficult to see her go, but at least she didn't have to suffer anymore :( And at least she was survived by her kittens :) Happy Tuesday!

  3. What a beautiful cat Matilda was. It's heartbreaking to have to let a cat go. I actually don't know which is worse, having them put to sleep or the cat disappearing never to be seen again. I've had both happen and it's just awful.

    A lovely post.

  4. What a beautiful cat, and a wonderful story. It is terribly hard to let go of a beloved cat. I sat with my Ratbag in October 2004, as he peacefully went to sleep, after a brief illness (lymphatic cancer). I think I cried for weeks ... still do, at times. It was like losing a part of my family.
    Hope you are well.
    Take care, Meow

  5. Matilda sounded like a wonderful kitty!! What a great tribute to her!

    Have a great Tuesday!

  6. Matilda was such a beautiful cat and sounds like she was such a sweetie! This post was a beautiful tribute to her and I love the pictures you included.

  7. A very sweet entry about a caring and wise cat. It's so nice to observe how cats teach their kittens - even humans have something to learn from them. And Matilda must have been very special.
    For one reason or another, I to posted an article about kittens and mother this week


  8. What a wonderful Mom Cat Matilda was. Zorro and Turnip are now her treasures to you.

    Thank you for sharing Matilda with us. D :)


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