Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I had my first cat, a stray, when I was about six. My mother told me how to trap using a wooden box, a stick, a long string and a bowl of food as bait. The cat was a female who lived outside and had a litter a few months later. I had to resort to the trap to catch the kittens. The cats were unwilling pets with claws that occasionally drew blood. We lived in that house for about two years and when we moved the cat and kittens were left behind as ferals.

My next cat was another stray that had a short life. I never questioned where cats slept, how they got food or found water. They lived outside and took care of themselves.

When my children where in their early teens we lived by a river which was a magnet for people dumping unwanted pets. A tame cat walked through the yard and my son laid claim to it. In short order he decided the male needed to father kittens so he asked a teacher friend for a female kitten. The lady examined each kitten and selected a female. Not long after he told me "She may teach biology but she can't tell a male from a female." She had given him a male. In the end one was hit by a car and the other disappeared except for one hind leg that we found in the back yard.

It was about this time that I learned never to spend money on cats. A vet bill insured a short life. My daughter found a kitten in a tree in the front yard. I told her not to feed it with hopes it would wander off in search of a more altruistic family. Three days later she said "There's something wrong with the kitten. I think it has a broken leg." Indeed it had fallen out of the tree. We fed it and my wife took it to a vet who set the leg with a metal pin. I can't remember this cat's name which took $200 in vet bills to an early grave a few months later. There were other cats, all strays, all with short free lives.

Broken flower pot.
Broken flower pot. Maggie bolted out of the sun room and used a flower pot on the top step as a spring board.

Julie brings cats home, a habit that I don't try to correct. In the last 10 years we've had 10 cats. At present we have two cats. We haven't seen the third cat in a couple months so it has set off on an extended journey or has contributed to the health of a coyote.

Maggie is the newest and lives in anticipation of the evenings when she can sleep on Julie's lap in contorted inverted positions. Macy (aka Streudel) is older and was trapped when she was about five or six months old. She's not well socialized and can't overcome her wild instinct. She will lick food from our fingers but always with caution. Any attempt to touch her causes her to retreat. Recently I changed tactics and was able to pet her. Each evening she begs for mayonnaise. I place some on two fingers on one hand and let Maggie have one and Macy the other. Her addiction to mayonnaise is so strong that I can pet her while she eats.

Maci and Maggie.
Macy is the cat in the foreground. It has taken eight months for her to accept touch.

In all likelihood Julie will out live me by several years. I've told her to find someone and enjoy those years. Her reply is always the same. "No, I'll get more cats and one day someone will find my body in bed surrounded by a bunch of cats."

Julie enjoys cats. I enjoy cleaning up broken flower pots and watching Julie enjoy her cats.


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

The wife informed me we were adopting a cat due to our Son-in-laws sudden alergy to cats. Thus, I never considered this to be MY animal. But, of course, who does this thing gravatate to for lap time, back rubs, etc? You guessed it........

1/14/2010 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Hodgens said...

I remember "Boots"... very attentive to some gold fish we had...up to a point where there weren't any more.

And Nelson, the hunter, until he became the prey to a wandering car

1/14/2010 05:43:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home