Tag Archives: cat behavior

The Gift

25 Dec

This year, for me, Christmas came a few days early in the form of a feral cat named “Momma”. She gave me a gift I will never forget!

Momma is a fixture in this South Tampa Neighborhood. Many guess her age to be somewhere between 13 and 15 years old. She has long outlived all of her colony mates. Although she has seemingly blown through her nine lives, she still manages to rule the neighborhood. Her feisty independent spirit has served her well.

My parents moved into what was the heart of her territory. They would find her sunning herself on their patio furniture or sneaking into the house to steal food out of their own cat’s dishes on more than one occassion. My mom soon found herself feeding Momma and her small colony of TNR cats on a daily basis. Eventually she would solicit attention from my mom regularly, even sitting on her lap from time to time.

A year after my parents moved in Momma disappeared for more than several days. When she returned she cried painfully outside their back door. Having been attacked by a dog, Momma was in rough shape. She allowed my mom to move her into the guest room where my mom nursed her back to health. Then one morning, after nearly a month of living inside, she yowled at the front door. My mom opened it and off she went to reclaim her territory and go back on her rounds.

This pattern has continued over the past 10 years. Whether Momma is injured or weather takes a dangerous turn, she will yowl at the front door seeking shelter and safety in the guest room. Once the storms have passed or injuries heal she will one again announce the time for her departure and return to her kingdom.

Wednesday was no different. A big storm front hit Florida causing high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. Had I known the cause of all the turbulence on my flight down I may never have boarded my plane. Arriving at my parents home I went to greet my roommate for the next 48 hours. Yes, I had to share Momma’s room!

Over the years Momma has put up with my comings and goings with little interest. She would no longer run but she always remained aloof. This time it was different. Instead of taking note of each other from a safe distance outside, this time it would be in the confined space of my parent’s guest room. So I entered into her room with a little trepidation. This little feral is not one to warm up to people. The relationship she has with my mom is a special one.

She watched me with interest from her cat bed on the desk. I sat quietly on my bed and talked to her. Before long she would step out of her bed to great me with some chirrups.

Later that night she would wonder onto the bed chatting away. She would investigate and even began to knead the blankets at my feet. By morning she began head butting me for attention. I met them with short scratches behind the ears.

The next day I was met with Momma winding around me while chatting away in greeting each time I entered the room. That night, as I lay in bed reading, she snuggled up next to me on the bed.

Snuggling in bed!

The next morning I was treated with more chatter as she head butted me for pets. Now she leaned into me for pets and rubs as if she had been my constant companion for years! To be blessed with this level of trust and affection was truly a gift. A gift from a cat who trusts so few.

As the sun came out and good weather returned Momma was soon at the bedroom door crying that all was safe and it was time to return to her domain. With the front door wide open, she made her departure off into the sunshine to survey her kingdom without so much as a look back.

The greatest gift we can give Momma is to understand and respect who she truly is, a feral cat.

My First Cat…

7 Jun

Years ago I adopted a year old male cat, Mushu. Although colored like a Siamese, he was a huge block of a cat, all bone and muscle, no fat, that weighed 18 pounds. He was very social and loved to play. At that time I was just beginning to train my first Rottweiler, Greta. She went everywhere with me while Mushu stayed home. One Friday afternoon while loading the car, Mushu managed to slip out of my apartment and was gone. Continue reading

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