Artist Ida Floreak is from Cambridge, Massachusetts, but has been living in New Orleans for about 10 years now. Over time, Ida has really settled in the place she now calls home and has met some cool people along the way. And cats.
At the beginning of last fall, a stray cat started hanging around the artist’s house. Floreak has a kitty of her own and noticed that it was probably her pet inviting the stranger over. Either way, she named the frequent guest Salami and showed her what true hospitality means.
“[My cat Bruce] is a 7-year-old Siamese, and about twice her size. He’s big and very rude but I love him. Salami does too — he’s the reason she started coming by,” Floreak told. “I would let him outside for a little while and they would hang out in the backyard together. When he would come back in, she started to follow him. Now they hang out all day, nap together, and groom each other. It’s very sweet.”
As Salami continued to spend time with Bruce, Floreak tried to win her trust and get close enough to catch the skittish cat to take her to the vet to get her fixed and vaccinated. But before Salami was comfortable enough for that, Floreak noticed that she was pregnant.
“One day, Salami started meowing insistently at my door at 5 a.m. I had started feeding her at this point so she knew to come by, but she had never been so insistent and certainly never so early,” the artist explained. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do to keep her babies safe, and Salami probably didn’t want hers to grow up on the streets. So she asked for help. “Salami came inside and just meowed at me for a few hours so I figured something was about to happen; she was so round at that point.”
Floreak let her in and she started to have her babies around 8 or 9 a.m. This took the woman by surprise because Floreak figured when she had them, she would go away for a couple of weeks or so.
Floreak did everything she could to help Salami, giving her blankets and making the bedroom a quiet safe space. After a while, four tiny kittens entered this world. Floreak said she was nervous to witness everything since she hadn’t seen or done anything like this before, but it was clear that Salami knew exactly what to do and everyone got through the intense experience just fine.
“Salami lives with me now,” Floreak said. “I was able to get her fixed and vaccinated, and she and Bruce hang out all day together. She’s adjusted really well, and is a very sweet and loving little cat. All of the kittens have gone to friends: one is in Mississippi, and the other three are all in my neighborhood. I’m glad I get to still have a connection with them.”
The artist added that this was a really nice quarantine distraction when it was still at the beginning stages and everything was particularly scary and confusing. “I had an extra reason to stay inside the house, and something hopeful.”
The story also serves as a reminder about spaying or neutering your cat or dog. To find out more about these procedures, visit The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.