Once upon a time, in a land far away, Beth and I did cat rescue work. It was informal most of the time — we kept an eye on our stray population, we fed them, and when dire medical need was necessary we’d trap them and get them the help the needed. The not-as-wild strays we did our best to find homes for. We had a veritable tribe of cats that would come ’round for dinner. We created shelters during the winter to provide a dry, warm place for the cats to be. We had a number of cats in our home, as well — by 2006 we were up to seven, four of whom were literal off the street rescues, two which were “oops, shoulda gotten him fixed sooner”. Only one — Sassy — the Maine Coon Beth had when I met her (and the Maine Coon who had a heavy, heavy crush on me to the point where she’d pretend to go into heat after her hysterectomy to get me to snuggle with her — as if, as if she didn’t need to just bat those kitten eyes of hers!) was a bought and paid-for cat in our house. The rest? Rescues, literally off the street.
And then we had our outdoor cats. For the entire time I lived with Beth in Philly, there was always one of the stray cats that adopted us and walked the rounds with us when it was time to walk the dogs. They were generally approachable (though a few of them were approachable only by us), and they kept pace with us. Bella, Neech’s mum, was the tamest of the them. She’d been dropped off at some point just after having a litter. We thought about bringing her in, but she was somewhat aggressive with the other cats, and we already had five at that point. Well, she had another litter, and then she turned up with distemper, and then she disappeared, and her litter came and found us (with Neech in the lead). We lost two of the four to distemper, but Neech and a sister survived. We had “our” second litter at about the same time, and as we arranged for two of those three to get adopted out (because seven was too many! HA!) we found a home for his sister, as well. But then Neech bonded hard with the one of that litter we decided to keep, so then we were up to six. And then Luna came. And then Heidi . . .
We moved west with 8 cats and a dog. We took on two more with the house we rented, and so we were up to 10 cats and a dog once we arrived. Cat rescue became all about family work. I joke that I’m a dog person (and I am, I totally am!) but you really can’t tell by our house.
Bastet is not a goddess we are heavily involved with, but She is one whom we adore in this household. Way back when, when Beth and I were trying to fit the Heathen mould, we thought, “Freyja?” and She did receive our prayers whenever something was going on that was cat related . . . but so, too, did Bastet, and of the two, it has always felt to us that, for us, with them, Bastet is the one to turn to. When we were searching with broken hearts to rehome two of our gals, Bastet enabled us to connect with the woman who would love our sweet Valkyrie. It is a working relationship we have, without a doubt, but we love this goddess for all the aid She’s brought our way, and we do hope She is pleased with the little we’ve been able to do to help the felines that have crossed our paths.
These last weeks, as a cold has run its way through our house and two of our four remaining cats have required a visit with our awesome vet team, Bastet is on my mind. All’s well when the cats are well, after all.