|Little visitor to our meadow.|
Living on the edge of the forest brings with it many surprises each day; most of them are of the “good” in nature though. Like the many people that live in the world, the woods too have many creatures, all being different and with their own individual personalities. One day you might see an opossum walking by on its way to some unknown destination, while yet even during the same day, a deer will be seen investigating the fallen bird feed on the ground near our home.
Most early mornings during the warm months (7 months of the year), Anne and I can be found sitting on our porch early in the day drinking coffee. The sun is just getting up, yet while our children are still dreaming in their beds. We enjoy this time together in the still of the morning, it is during these moments that we reconnect, relax and talk about our lives. But, there are other times that the forest presents us with a surprise that is unexpected. One such day while sitting on our porch, a half grown feline began to meow in front of us. It was obviously hungry, and we could see that it had not eaten in quite awhile by the ribs that were showing on its sides. This little surprise walked up to us and began to meow profusely, and I could see that Anne was feeling sorry for it. I too have a soft spot for such animals that have lost their way.
|Efforts to insure each cat gets enough food.|
During the course of the summer we get many predators wandering our meadow in search of rodents that live in the heavy grass. On this day though we could see that this little calico was not having much luck in filling its stomach. Without saying a word to Anne, I went over and left it some cat food on the driveway. This was a prelude for this little feline in becoming a part of our family. Toby our other cat too was a stray and came to join our home when it accepted the scraps that we set out for it.
Once shortly after Toby adopted “us”, a friend (Dave) was feeding her outside when we were gone on a trip. We intended for Toby to be an outside cat, but then again like most cats, she had other intentions when the cold weather came. She tried to get through Dave’s legs when he entered our house to check on the heat and water inside. Dave later called us and asked if Toby had become an indoor cat. We had said, “No, she was an outside cat.” He then asked us, “Does she know that?” He then told us what Toby was trying to do, and said, “You had better tell her that she is an outside cat since Toby is repeatedly trying to get through my legs when I enter your house!” Toby eventually won out and we inherited an indoor/outdoor cat. We soon came to realize that she had been left or got lost from some other family. This was easily deduced when discovering that she had been neutered already. Kelly as well was neutered and so we realized that she was in the same situation.
|Each child does a project before bed while daddy or mommy |
reads a bedtime story. Toby guards the children against ferocious
hummingbirds at the flowers nearby
Back to Kelly. As the days went by, Kelly would spend more and more time outdoors and less time with our family. It became a struggle to keep her in when leaving or entering the house knowing that she would try to wiggle through our legs to get outside. We continually had to treat her for ticks; and in that battle alone it was a real challenge. We loved this little kitty, but soon realized that its draw to the wild was stronger than her desire to stay with our family. One day, Kelly did not return to the house, we looked for her for several days. We thought perhaps that she was hit by a passing car or attacked by a night predator. In an effort not to alarm our children, I secretly went out driving around looking for her, but to no avail. After several days, we resigned ourselves to the fact that she was indeed gone. Anne and I tried not to say anything to the children, knowing that they were very close to this little kitty. We had hoped that over time, Will and Abby might see Kelly’s disappearance as the way of nature, but sadness could be seen in their eyes as they glanced down at her dish. Soon afterwards, it was time for our yearly vacation in the South. We left with instructions for our friend to let Kelly in if she showed up. We received no phone call, so we assumed that she was lost to us. Then one day I received a call from our vet that a cat who looked like Kelly was brought in with small injuries by a gentleman. The vet is our friend and was kind enough to call us all the way down to Florida. I knew at that point that it was time to find another home for this little kitty. He said that one of the employees there was taking care of it and had fallen in love with her, and perhaps would adopt it as an indoor kitty at her residence. Kelly, in the ways of providence was to get another chance at having someone to love her and to take care of her. Our children accepted our decision to have Kelly adopted, and we told them that she would receive a kind and loving owner. It was hard for them to let her go, but they knew in their hearts that it was for the best. On the one hand, we could not guarantee her safety in the future, or for that matter, ours. A kitty that is constantly in the wild can pick up many things and bring them into the home, things that are not conducive the health of a family. Kelly would now be an indoor cat that would be treated well and have many good years ahead of her.
|Toby inspects Abby's project.|
Toby, on the other hand now finds herself once again being a one-house cat with her monarchy intact. When Kelly arrived, she became the dominant cat and took over Toby’s regular haunts, both indoors and out. Toby then became reclusive and visibly sad. She stayed to herself and basically let Kelly take over her world. Toby now finds that she does not have to compete for our son’s legs to lie next to at night, or Anne’s lap to sit in while she sews or works on her computer. She now does not have to share cat food with another feline or for that matter, the litter box. For Toby, she is happy to have a house and nearby forest to herself. She goes out for short times each day and then returns thankful to be let inside and have a family that greets her with love and hugs. Toby now talks to us continually and we listen to all that she has to say. Abby and Will are good interpreters for her, and they let us know what is going on with Toby and what it is that she wants. Kelly too is being loved in another home, a place that offers her security, food and warmth.