I’ve had cats as pets all my life, starting with our Siamese, Holly, when I was four; her son, Stinky; Piño, who came with my college apartment; Pokey and Lai Fu (Mister Fu), a Siamese and Tankanese bought at a pet store when I was in college; the cats who volunteered when we lived in the country: Whiskers (intelligent orange cat #1), Patch the calico, Tabby, and Shadow (a sweet black cat who moved with us to our new house in Fort Valley); Sassy II, a fat Siamese from the Humane Society; and Willie, intelligent orange cat #2, who came to us after having been practiced on by students at the university’s vet tech department.
But my recent cats all have come from the woods. First there was Jeff, an old gray tabby who never let us pet him, who ate outside our door, and who apparently fathered a litter. From that litter, we got two of the kittens. First, Corey (“Wrong Way Corrigan”) was left behind and cried in the woods until our son rescued him by trapping him with tuna. Then mama cat returned (more interested in being fed by us this time) and nursed the rest of her litter in our yard. All disappeared except Sister. We managed to get her spayed, and she was very friendly, but she refused to come in because Willie kept smelling her behind. After Sassy and then Willie passed away, Sister deigned to come in. She is extremely loving and wants a lot of attention. She tolerated her brother Corey.
But then, mews and meows emerged from under my car that had a car cover on it. It was a tiny gray tabby. We fed her, and a neighboring cat seemed to check in on her regularly. One day when the porch door was open and Corey was calling out, she dashed inside. After much patient talking and waiting, she let me touch her, and then, of course, she had to be spayed. She had a hard time eating with the cone when she got back and was isolated on one room, so I went in there and fed her with a spoon. She would lie on my lap afterward, glad to have a friend. She gradually adapted to being a house cat, but she goes outdoors every night and sometimes in the day. She and Corey have bonded, though she jumped on him constantly when she was a kitten, thus the name Pounce.
Now, Sister is not happy. She still comes in the house, but she hisses at Pounce and sometimes at Corey, too. Still, I managed to feed them all by placing one bowl strategically away from the others. Until, . . .
Corey, who already was a nervous cat and scared of everyone but me, developed stomatitis. Luckily, Dr. Hodges, our vet, caught it early. But it required giving Corey an antibiotic and my catching him then bringing him in 12 times for laser therapy to heal his gums. He had stopped eating due to the pain caused by the sore gums resulting from an autoimmune reaction to his own tartar and plaque and had lost 8.5 pounds. The laser therapy gradually worked, except now Corey only can and will eat soft food.
Well, you can’t give tasty, fragrant canned food to only one cat. So now we have a new dance at feeding time. I’m realizing that the love they give me is more than half the time a request for more food. But Sister hisses at everyone when they are fed at the same time. This chases the others off most of the time, sometimes leading Pounce to go back outside and return later. Meanwhile, Corey is still highly suspicious that I might grab him and put him in the cat carrier again and scared of my husband, so he runs off easily. If I manage to get bowls strategically placed so all three can eat, Sister sits and looks grumpy while the others go at it. They all are messy and leave lumps of canned cat food outside their bowls.
I love these crazy kitties from the woods, but someday, I’d like to get normal domestic cats again!
Observations on the subjects of friends, family, country, cultures and nature.