If I didn't have all my stuff packed up right now, I could find old photos.
Years and years of some of the cats we called our own--cats still too wild to protect or tame, but ones we came to know from daily visits.
Ones we names Pansy, Mama Kitty, Screen Door...
Sometimes the cats shared their aluminum pie tins of food with possums or skunks, and I have photos of that too...
photos that make me smile.
"Oh, lookie who came to visit tonight!" (note 'Lookie' is a total Barb word)
One beautiful long-haired gray cat caught my mom's heart last year.
He would make gurgle noises when he saw her, and when she'd treat him with canned food.
He would go next door and steal the little boy's soft toys, making a hoard for himself.
It was hysterical.
I of course added to the toy pile with purchased balls and stuffed mice.
But it's a hard life for wild cats.
There are coyotes to dodge, and busy highways, hormonal males that fight for territory, and rude neighbors who do stupid things like put poison out.
Over the years the numbers of cats dwindled to two or three, and finally they too left.
We thought they were gone for good, though they recently appeared (to our relief).
I think a neighbor up the hill may be the house they call home now.
At least that's what I hope.
Occasionally, one black male comes around, so my mom still puts the tins out.
But more often these days, it's the raccoons that visit.
The pans are knocked about, and muddy paw prints from the water bowl give away their numbers.
The funny thing is, the toys are scattered about.
We think they bring the little balls out.
The little mouse on a spring is always noticeably more used.
The carpet on the scratching post is shredded.
I think it's so cute to find out raccoons play.
Vallen of Queenly Things wrote a great post about the masked bandits.