Ira dancing about his breakfast dish this morning reminded me of how he came to live with us.
Rural residents know the scenario only too well – unwanted cats and dogs are dumped out away from the cities in the countryside, with the weak excuse of “Well, they’ll get along all right. There are rabbits and mice to catch out here. They’ll be fine.” Regrettably, the unwanted pet often ends up being squished on the highway, eaten alive by a bigger predator or starved to death because it’s never had to fend for itself until now. (That painful subject will be addressed in future blogs. Please donate whatever you can – time, supplies, money – to your local shelter.)
For now, let me tell you about a beautiful, long-haired, very thin calico who politely asked for something to eat at our back door one day. She was sweet and friendly, and allowed us to pet her. When I brought food out, she chirped, and here came a tiny, skinny solid-black kitten with big yellow eyes. She and Jr. tucked into their meal, and then she contentedly nursed him on our deck. I told her she couldn’t come in the house because we had resident cats already, but she was welcome to stay in the tool shed. I put a sturdy box lined with some old towels out there, and she and her kitten set up housekeeping. She was still teaching him the finer points of mousing, bringing in live ‘practice mice’ for him, when one day she was gone.
We have a bad coyote problem out here, and I feared the worst. A day passed, and she didn’t show up – and neither did her kitten. Three days later, I went to the tool shed for something and there was the kitten. He quivered all over at the sight of food again, and ate as fast as his tiny jaw could ‘shovel it in.’ He’d managed to find his way back to the people who’d been kind to his mother and him.
Ira’s been with us now for years, living with his half-sister, Abishag (her story later) in the converted garage where I have my writing desk. He’s evidently at least half-Siamese, as he has the narrow, pointed face, the whip-like tail and the long legs – plus the voice! He loves to tap the keyboard and add characters to whatever I’m typing. I’ll post photos soon.
In the meantime, please hug your cat today!