I brusquely asked T to go fetch a handful of cat food from the house - he brought it out to me in a dish and I fed the little girl (I checked) a few pieces. She quivered in my hand, torn between lunch and fear. I put her down and let her be...I cannot bring another cat into the house - not fair to the three who already live here, not wise when I can't afford to get her shots, flea treatments, tested for communicable diseases. She flung herself away from me and I went in search of the others.
I found the little tuxedo kitten under a tree and managed to put a hand on it. It bit me but good, my own fault, and let me know what it thought of me. Mum was nearby, staring at me. I tried to soothe them both, but they were too wild. I let them go. Eventually, the peach/gray colored one rejoined them and all four were back on the steps, a blessing of sun-warmed wood during the day and a haven from cat-hungry critters at night.
Of course we started feeding them. We owe them. I will not let them starve. No one goes hungry 'round here if I can help it.
At first, they would scatter when we brought food out. We had a dish on the bottom landing of the back steps and fed them daily. Eventually, they simply retreated a short way and stared while we filled food and water bowls for them.
By late Summer we stopped feeding them - hunting was good and we didn't see much of them, just glimpses here and there in the neighborhood.
In the Fall, I notice that the mum-cat (I call her "Little Mother") was limping. Something was wrong with her foot...she couldn't run, or even walk very well, although she certainly tried.
She would never let me near enough to see what's wrong, let alone to touch and possibly help it heal. I decided to start feeding them again. I wouldn't make them endure cold weather on empty bellies, and with a pronounced limp/hobble, I knew Little Mother wasn't hunting well.
One morning, she sat in the driveway and cried to me. It had been a few days since I put out food, and she was hungry! At my behest, T ran inside and opened a can of tuna, which I placed on the ground. I sat on the concrete and waited, perhaps four feet from the tuna. Hunger won, and she came close and ate. I inched nearer, until I was perhaps two feet away. She always had an eye on me. I was worried about the kittens, because they used to follow her everywhere - but it turns out they had begin hanging out with the Ginger Tom (a neighbor's cat - I've asked him to neuter the lad, but Neighbor seems to think it's not necessary. Sigh.) following him around like a little parade.
I was putting their food near my trailer, because they like hiding under it. The little black one filled out nicely, no longer looked like she would blow away in a stiff wind. One evening, when some friends and I were sitting outside so our kids could run wild, Little Mother actually came quite close to our group and joined the conversation. I brought out some food and she ate, still watchful but not as prone to jump and run when someone moved. I was quite pleased.
To be continued...again...
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.