Three years ago a mottled gray and orange stray female cat showed up at our door looking for food. We called her Ashes for her coloring. Although sweet, Ashes was wary and wiley of being caught even with a trap. Months later she had three kittens under our shed. We took them in at five weeks old and named them Ferdinand, Columbus & Isabella. Shortly thereafter, Ashes had two kittens that she brought to us to feed when they were seven weeks old. We again took them in. At the time I mentioned to my husband that Ashes did not look well but she resisted any attempt to catch her. Aug. 8, '08 Ashes had four kittens in the woods across from our house. A month later she was pacing back and forth between our front windows and our shed. Over and over again she did this until we went to look under the shed. Sure enough, there were the kittens. Somehow knowing we would care for her babies, Ashes looked first at them, then at us, meowed once and walked into the woods never to be seen again. My husband and I are convinced Ashes knew she was dying and wanted us to take in her babies. Now we have her nine babies plus the daddy. All are fixed, vaccinated and indoors! Six are named in her honor: Smokey, Flame, Sooty, Torch, Embers & Cinders. Dad is named Chief. We feel bad we couldn't catch Ashes but, we are very grateful for her beautiful babies who bring us so much joy and love.