If we were having coffee, I’d have to tell you about the kitten. “Yes, another cat,” I’d say.
We already have eight but this one just showed up about a month ago, living in the crawl space under the house. I was afraid we had a litter or something, it was so tiny. But it was alone. I waited a few days after I first saw it, just to check for more, or to see if it found its way home. We have one outside cat, Buddy, abandoned by a family who moved away. He basically came with the house. He was the source of food for the kitten. So one night when I fed him I pretended to go into the house and here she came, right on cue. I was shocked at how tiny she was, I estimated she was no more than three months old. Smart too. She already had the food routine down pat.
I have some experience with feral cats and I knew one thing immediately, this cat, although wary, was not feral. She had been handled. Once the ice was broken, it took very little time for her to let me pet her and pick her up.
Was she cute? She’s a kitten, how could she not be cute.
Of course we don’t need another cat but understand this … all our cats are rescues, most from a feral mother who turned our detached garage into a nursery before I finally trapped her and had her spayed. Then I released her back to the wild. She came and went in the years after that, always coming back to hang around a little. Sadly, after about five more years she was hit by a car. I found her in the road not far from our house. She probably lived longer than she might have as a permanent unwed mother, but it was sad.
That’s the thing about five of our cats, since they were her kittens we know their story. Two others were adopted from a local shelter, so we know at least part of their story too.
But this kitten is like Tex, our other cat. He showed up one day about nine years ago. He was smallish but the vet thought he was full grown based on his teeth. What a cute full-grown 8 pound cat we thought. His life on the road had obviously been long and hard. He’s a monster now, pushing 20 pounds, paws almost twice the size of any of our other full-grown cats. I assume his development had been interrupted by the rough conditions of his life on the road. He wasn’t feral either.
That’s the thing about strays like Tex and the kitten … you wish they could tell you their stories. I mean, she’s still a baby. How did this tiny thing appear at our house, barely weaned? How did she figure out how to survive? How did she find her way into our crawlspace, then find a warm cubbyhole to sleep, then find food, and so quickly learn the routine? She probably started out getting Buddy’s leavings, but pretty soon I think it was Buddy who was dining on her leftovers.
She’s headstrong and assertive and smart as a whip. She’s a survivor.
“And,” I would add as I drained the last of my cup, “she’s found a home.”
I’m a writer living in North Carolina … for more information about me and my current and upcoming publications go to http://thefensk.com
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