by Kathrin Stucki
(Ponca City, OK, USA)
The days of the week have lost their importance out here on the farm in the rolling fields of Oklahoma. Far away from malls and city centers we live with our family of wild Servals, Savannah cats, bison, emus and many other animals that complete the farm. Here we go with the pulse of nature. It is the rooster who tells us it is morning, the farm dogs that want to hide in the house tell us to prepare for the upcoming storm, and then, there are the cats…
……A litter of Serval babies is due, the mother is three days past her due date. Venus, a Savannah cat mother not far from her, is lying on her side licking her big belly. Moonshine an F1 Savannah born on a full moon herself is making final preparations for her babies to arrive. Blankets get pulled out of the dens and left demonstratively in the middle of the runs, oh yes; we forgot she prefers to deliver on a bed of hay.
Martin, my husband, has the current moon phase displayed on his cell phone because he knows the night of the full moon will bring us babies, but this time we don’t need the electronics nor do we need to watch the sky. The air is filled with energy, we ourselves feel tense and we have the urge to move around, clean nest boxes, wipe the front of the barns and weed out vegetation such as dead rosebush. Martin is in the barns fixing gates and putting in windows to give the animals more daylight. We know that the upcoming full moon gives us an extra boost of energy and determination. Being married for 10 years, we have learned that the evening before the bright night is not a time for discussions or arguments or finding solutions so we keep on working on our projects like Noah the day before the flood.
It is 9 pm and the sun goes down, a final check on the pregnant moms confirms the upcoming event. None of the soon to be moms have eaten their dinner; they have not even touched their favorite chicken leg. Dea the 30 pound Serval is now 4 days past her due date. Moonshine and Venus just a few days shy of the 64 days gestation period. We turn the light off in the cat quarters and go to sleep. Charged by the vibes of the moon I want to mention the left up toilet seat to my already sleeping husband but I don’t. Instead I try to fall asleep to the sounds of two competing young Savannah males that sing and howl through the illuminated full moon night.
It’s 4am, the rooster obviously slept in the tree tonight as his crowing is painfully penetrating the pillow I’m holding over my head. I have no choice but to get up to check on the cats. Besides the crow of the rooster all is quiet.
The two Savannah males are curled up in their beds and sound asleep. I walk by the old Serval dad that sleeps stretched out in the grass, snoring with every breath he takes. Moonshine’s quarters are quiet. No sounds at all. She is not out in the run where she usually likes to sleep.
When I lift up the den box I see her, curled up and purring, front paws knitting in the hay. Hooked up to her belly are three wonderful spotted babies. They are all silver like the moon. When I hold my breath I can hear their smacking sounds as they are suckling on their mother. How wonderful, I’m thinking, what a miracle.
How blessed I am to be here at this moment. Walking over to Venus and Dea’s den I can already feel what expects me. All the tension that I felt last night is gone, I feel accomplished and peaceful. Venus’ den is quiet too; I could hear a needle drop. When I lift the lid of the den, 6 babies wake up and busily grab a hold of the nipple that fell out of their mouth when they fell asleep. Venus looks exhausted but happy.
The den of Dea, the Serval, is bigger with a heavy lid that I have to lift up with both hands. The moonlight doesn’t reach her den and it’s too dark for me to see. The mother is in there, rolled up, but I can’t see any babies. As I go closer in with my head I get a loud and intimidating hiss that makes me move a step back. Now I see her back legs stretched out, her big belly cramping her wild eyes closing as she buries her head in the straw. Only a few painful pushes and the Serval baby will be here but I will respect the hiss and leave her alone.
The farm at A1 Savannahs – photo © Michael @ PoC
Nature is so perfect, there is nothing I can do but patiently wait until the moon fades away in the morning sun, revealing another miracle that happened over night.