In the early fall of last year, Ida Floreak, a painter in New Orleans, spotted a stray cat wandering around her yard. The small black cat named Salami started coming her house after spotting her cat hanging out on the backyard stoop.
“She came by and she really liked him,” Floreak told. “They’d sniff around each other and she was more interested in him than he was in her. It was definitely clear that she was here to see him — which was sweet.”
Floreak was happy to foster the relationship and invite the friendly stray to come over whenever she wanted by leaving out some food. As a result, Salami showed up just about every morning for her free meal and a visit with her friend. The initial plan was to win the kitty’s trust, get her vetted and spayed and hopefully find her a good home.
“She was shy at first. It took a few months for her to feel comfortable just being petted,” Ida told.
Then, Floreak realized Salami started to get a bit of a belly. When the mother cat realized she was pregnant, she started to spend more time around Floreak. “My goal was to be able to take her in to be fixed and vaccinated,” Floreak said. “But before she was comfortable enough for that, she was visibly pregnant.”
As the pregnancy went on, the soon-to-be mom did warm up to Floreak, even allowing the good samaritan to pet her and give her a good brushing. That’s probably why when Salami went into labor, she rushed to Floreak’s home.
It was an April morning when Salami showed up much earlier than usual. She came by at 5 and was squeaking very insistently in a way that seemed out of character,” Floreak said. “So I let her in and she started to have her babies around 8 or 9 in the morning.”
Floreak was pleasantly surprised yet glad that the cat had chosen her home to deliver her babies. She quickly put together a makeshift nest and lined it with blankets. Salami started pushing and proceeded to give birth to two beautiful kittens. Many hours passed by, and she surprised Floreak with another pair of precious babies.
After a long and intense day, the sweet cat mom had her litter of four all lined up by her side, nursing away. The loving mama was completely devoted to her kittens, keeping them well fed and clean around the clock.
“I was super nervous never having seen or done anything like this before,” Floreak said. “But to watch her, it was clear she just knew exactly what to do. It was a really intense experience.”
With New Orleans under quarantine, Salami and her kittens received Floreak’s undivided attention for two months — and the little family is thriving. “She’s an amazing mom,” Floreak said. “She’s super attentive and sweet.”
Floreak has found forever homes for all four kittens, but Salami is staying with her. After everything they’ve been through together, there was no other choice.
Floreak’s other cat seems to have gotten used to the new normal — though he can’t wait for the kittens to go to their new homes. “He kind of misses having the run of the house, and isn’t really used to the kittens,” Floreak said. “But he and Salami are still getting on.”