Indoors or out, feral or socialized, stray or freeloader, cats find a late meal unacceptable and use all available facial and body posture cues to let you know you’ve transgressed.
As I’d mentioned earlier, I fed Denise’s feral colony twice each day for about 10 days earlier this month. It’s no small commitment to feed and care for a dozen cats who other humans have abandoned, and you can’t just not feed them if you go away for a few days.
Typically I’m here every day and it’s not too big of a deal to walk up the hill twice a day. This month was not that way as I was out shopping for my car and purchasing my car, then running errands I had put off until I got the car once I got it. That made me inexcusably late for a few early meals on several days, though to be honest this is often their reaction even when I’m on time. And then…and THEN…this human had the gall to TAKE PICTURES INSTEAD OF FEEDING RIGHT AWAY. Well, it’s for their good and the good of other feral cats to share how beautiful and happy they are. And my own good because they are so inspiring and I can’t help myself.
Considering most are feral, or socialized outside of human contact, and others are somewhat socialized to humans but traumatized or frightened or just distrustful, the fact that I get to see them at all, and some actually greet me and lead me to the door where the food comes out of and stand in their place waiting for their bowls, and sometimes I can touch them, is a testament to a domestic cat’s adaptability and ancestral need for humans. I’m honored by their trust when I take their human’s place for a while.
I didn’t get to see as many as usual this time. Every so often one of the few intact males who roam all over and are impossible to pin down stops by to eat. They can act aggressive and territorial, and sometimes even get into a screaming or swatting match with one of the regulars, which sends everyone running. The regulars to take off for a meal or two after the first time I show up instead of their regular human, but aside from these guys that didn’t happen, and I only saw Chessy at each meal sometimes.
I was surprised my buddy Spider Man wasn’t around most of the time. He usually shows up and is such a great meowdel that he’ll find a spot where he looks good and actually pose, I swear it. But we only had one photo session this time. You’ll see more of him in coming weeks.
The weather was also very hot at the beginning of the month and most of us weren’t ready for that. I saw a number of them in the cool shade under the deck or under shrubs a good bit of the time. But after a cold front came through they were happy in the sun. Chessy and Missy are the typical greeters, and I often see them like this even when I just go past the house.
And things started blooming in earnest during the days too. Chessy obliged an artsy photo.
So that’s the first set of photos from this last time feeding my local colony.
From around this date in past years
Mimi’s Adventure, and Catching Up on Photos, 2019
Start your day with a nip of happy!
Mimi scared the doe and fawn when we went into the back yard. Mimi may be small, but you don’t mess with her. Look under the trees.
I don’t want her to mess with the deer, so I keep watch for them in the back yard. It’s a sunny day and the doe has a favorite spot. I’ve been modifying the end of the yard and reconstructing my old fence, which is surrounded by piles of brambles and rolled up older fence so they can’t get a hoof-hold to jump over, but I still have sections to repair. I really don’t want her to give birth back there, for her sake and mine. Meanwhile my neighbor would be over the moon if she gave birth in his yard, he’d feed her breakfast in bed!
From around this date in past years
Mimi’s Adventure, and Catching Up on Photos, 2019
Mimi is resting in the sun on the wardrobe, reflected in the mirror, after our little adventure in the back yard. I had the feeling she might try to slip into the neighbor’s yard and with my hip still pretty stiff I couldn’t get her, but she only visits the boundaries of what she considers her territory. But she proved that though she is petite, she still has the imperious mien that kept her and her kittens safe outdoors all those years ago.
The sun was warm in the late afternoon and Mimi looked spectacular in the bright green grass speckled with violets. I stood near the back of the yard at the picnic table and she made her way toward me. At the last possible moment she turned and went into the woodland garden, a place that was off-limits because of the possibility of ticks as the deer spent time there, proved by the neatly trimmed grass in and around the area.
Mimi could keep ahead of me as I hobbled after her, stopping at the massive maple tree to smell the trunk. Just as I reached that she started through the magic portal, then turned full left and stopped to smell the tulip poplar.
As I walked toward her, she turned and walked into the brushy area that’s one of her favorites, and where I couldn’t follow. I turned back into my yard and follow Mimi as she walked along what had been the fence line before the neighbor’s tree had fallen on it in 2014. Then she stepped back into the yard and I thought I might get to her, until she walked down the steep slope that led into the neighbor’s yard. Mimi gracefully stepped her way from log to fallen branch to rock in an area I had once planted with forsythias. We reached the bottom at the same time, and she saw me and seemed ready to come my way.
When she stepped down from the log she was on, she faced the blue house that was four apartments (where the story Witness to a Rescue took place), and stared into the yard. I followed her gaze and saw a plump white cat with black spots crouched on the bottom of the steps up to the second-floor deck. Mimi stood up as tall as she could, put her tail straight up and locked eyes. She stepped up to the wire fence, which might have kept larger cats in or out but Mimi simply stepped through one of the openings, then boldly walked right up to the cat as I hurried around the end of the fence into the yard.
Mimi walked right up to him and he leaned forward ready to tap noses, but she hissed. Yes, Mimi still has it, she can walk into another cat’s territory and right up to a cat nearly twice as big as her and tell him she’s the boss. He backed up and ran up the steps while she stood her ground. I picked her up; she was not likely to smack me for interrupting. We both looked at the cat and I took its photo, then turned around and headed through the neighbor’s back yards to our front door.
“You’re grounded,” I told Mimi when we got inside. She ignored me, as usual.
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Basil is just checking out the ceiling because he hasn’t been up there for a while. He jumped five feet straight up to land on the edge of the bifold door. Cats love heights. I have no space in my 6×6 bathroom for a cat tree or tall bookcase or wall shelves, but cats will always find a way.
Three little girls enjoying the morning. Mariposa, Bella, Mimi, and Five Blackcats and one tabby and white milling around, hard to capture, Bella, Mimi, Mariposa, Hamlet, Basil, Mewsette.
When was the last time you took your cats out to graze in the back yard?
Mariposa always waits for us when we are outside. You can see her face right above Mewsette. And then I realized you could see me too, kind of an interesting selfie of us girls.
A nap for 9! As I worked in the studio all cats but Bella (who stayed on my lap) gathered on the bed for a long afternoon nap. Mimi and Sienna were on the pillows but got up on the windowsill when I came in with my camera. Mariposa always sleeps on the pillows. Not even a photo expresses what it’s like to look in the room and see so many cuddled on the bed.
Bella is making absolutely certain I finish my taxes today.
Rough crowd here.
If I fits, I sits, and even if I don’t fits, I sits and I naps. Sienna in a takeout container.
Basil is overwhelmed by his potential for mischief today. .
It’s a beautiful day for a drink at the sink. Giuseppe is going to catch that water! They have a fountain but sometimes it’s the faucet for old time’s sake.
Hamlet is preparing his bed for the day, tenderizing my pillow with a deep, slow knead.
Roasted cauliflower, apparently the most interesting thing I’ve done all week.
Mariposa is telling that dove in the spruce just exactly what she would do if not for this pesky screen.
I don’t remember the last time I saw these two bloom. Allegro’s Garden is really making a show this year.
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I worked out the manufacture of my own “die” or basically a cookie cutter to use for creating consistent shapes of one of my sketches. Each magnet is hand-painted. Read more.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!