Saturday, November 15, 2008


My mom, for as long as I can remember, has left dry catfood out for the feral cats that roam here.
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.



Blogger CatHerder said...

GREAT post, and the story of my life...i got some great video and pics of the racoons at night getting into the kitty food (shortly after i decided to bring it in before dusk)..we have a few we rescued and kept, and a few we cant catch, and one neighbor cat that wont leave, he thinks he lives here as well as our indoor herd...your moms got a good soul! your blog

9:04 AM  
Blogger CatHerder said...

Got your responses on my blog (thanks for visiting)..just wanted to tell you that although they arent pictured, that real photographs are actually a good portion of my work...i started out because one of my cats died i wanted to make a memorial pendant..they saw it at the vet and i started getting orders, thats how i starated...and Sundance..YES..Jes MaHarry is a huge fave of mine...thanks for swinging by!

2:55 AM  
Blogger Queenly Things said...

We have a yard cat that came to visit several years ago and is still there every morning. She is solid black and goes by Velvet or Bird (because she chirps) and is there crying at the door every morning for her breakfast. She puts up with the raccoons who join here in her revery at night and, I suspect, cheers them on as they watch my mom sleep through her upstairs window every night. The cat sleeps in the cushiest patio chair and never leaves our very small yard ever. I think after this many years we should actually own up to having "another" cat.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is wonderful. I've been watching Autumnwatch a BBC programme and they show things like that.

3:46 PM  
Blogger The Tattered Rose said...

This was so funny to me. My relatives used to feed their skunks (unwittingly) when they used to leave food out for the wild cats. One winter the skunks even moved into the crawl space under my aunt's house and she almost had to move because however they would board it up, they would still get back in. Their smell was so stong that your eyes actually watered when you sat in her living room. One day, almost 20 years after my grandmother passed away, I looked out one day and there was one big white persian cat eating with the skunks and I said that looks like grandmother's cat, Sissy. My aunt said it was Sissy. She had lived outside, presumably in friendship with the skunks because they all ate together out of the same pan without incident. For all those years! I bet if she could have talked she would have had some great stories. Your post brought back all those lovely memories! Thanks.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Gina E. said...

Hi Barb, I enjoyed this post so much - and the comments equally as much! We don't have raccoons in Oz, but I know what they look like from American movies etc. They sound cute, even if they are messy! It's nice that the cats don't kill them. Cats here will kill our native possums if they don't get away quick enough, so people that care for our wildlife are very strict about keeping their cats inside at night while the possums are out and about.
BTW I've put some photos of our newest baby budgies on my blog - just for you, LOL!

3:09 AM  

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