The cat that I started feeding about a month ago has brought us kittens.
Our guess this whole time is that she was dumped by so
meone (as people do in the country) who didn't want her any more, or that she was just really not looked after by whoever owns her, as she was skinny as a rail (you could feel every individual vertebrae as you pet her, and every rib, though she had a swollen little belly).
She's been quite sweet the whole time she's been coming here, purring, begging to be pet, held, fed. But always skinny as anything. Then I noticed her teats were quite swollen and, well, it felt and looked like something was nursing from her. So I continued to feed her meat scraps, cream and milk. I finally convinced my husband to buy some cheap cat food so we could feed her that a few times a day. She was over constantly, and once the ducks were big enough, we let her back into the house, wormed her, and let her sleep on the couch, always kicking her out when we went to bed.
Two days ago, I walked home to hear high pitched meowing coming from our wood pile, and the cat running to greet me, and leading me to the wood pile. Inside was one tiny kitten. I eventually tempted the little thing out with some food and grabbed it by the scruff and brought it into the house with it's mama. She seemed somewhat indifferent to it, just wanted more food. So we got a box, filled it with dirt (make-shift litter box), and kept the cat and kitten in the house for the night (because you just can't kick a kitten out of your house).
The next morning, my husband woke up and let the cat out. She left her baby. And came back with three more.
So now we have 4 kittens and a cat. We're more sure now that she was dumped by someone, friendly as she is to people, and thin as she was until we started feeding her. She's gotten a bit plumper then, and she obviously trusts us enough to keep her babies with us. We're going to double-check with neighbours, make sure she belongs to no one, and then give the kittens away once they've stopped nursing. They're quite adorable. Though two are still seriously shy, one will crawl on your lap and sleep, and the other follows her a bit. And mama cat just checks on them, nurses a bit, and leaves to wander her own merry way, or sleep on the couch.
Box o' kittens. The calico is still terrified of us for the most part
Two of the more brave kittens, not afraid to be out among us
Brave adventurous little girl, the first (experimental) kitten "our" cat, Asparagus, brought to us
Our landlord doesn't know anyone around us that owns a grey tabby like our Asparagus, and rekons that cats like that choose their owners, anyway, and that she's chosen us.