|Type:||Orange tabby shorthair.||Origin:||Stray, possibly abandoned.|
|Features:||Friendly, very talkative. Somewhat belligerent with other cats.|
|Name:||A Hindu goddess of childbirth.|
Shasti started turning up at the barn where my horse was living in late August, 2008. The woman who owned the property saw her lurking around, eating some of the barn cat's food. She was shy but didn't seem to be feral, and appeared to be pregnant. There wasn't any obvious place she would have come from, though she didn't look like she'd been on her own for long, so it's possible she had been dumped.
I caught the cat and got her vetted. She was two or three years old, healthy but a bit underweight, and very, very pregnant. The vet thought she might be at the any-day-now stage, and by that evening Shasti had started digging around in her bedding, doing "nesting" activity that often signals imminent labor. I'd been considering whether to attempt a late-term spay, but under the circumstances I decided to let her have the kittens. As it turned out, she wasn't really quite ready yet, and she hung on to them for a couple more weeks.
Of course, I was hoping for a fairly modest-sized litter. Instead, Shasti got bigger and bigger, and on September 14th she presented me with eight kittens, all orange tabbies like herself: six girls and two boys.
Fortunately, Shasti was an excellent mother. She managed to nurse and care for all eight kittens, and did it all very matter-of-factly, not showing any signs of stress. I made sure she had comfortable and private surroundings, and all the food she could eat. The babies all throve and progressed normally.
When the kittens were two months old, I found homes for three of them. The others -- Belphebe, Britomart, Duessa, Fëanáro, and Ratatosk -- stayed with me, so I have a big family of orange cats. (It's just as well that I'm very fond of orange cats.) Shasti and her kittens integrated well with the rest of my cats, and settled happily into the household. Shasti is a cheerful, friendly cat who talks a lot, enjoys being petted, and seems quite happy to be a housecat after her adventures.