Once he spotted Feral on our patio rubbing against Gombah through the screen, Nello suggested I not feed her because "once you feed a cat, they will become a permanent fixture." She was so small, and always hanging around. Despite the fact that I watched her catch insects and eat green salamanders whole, I felt obliged to give her water. Her helium meow then coaxed me to give her some cat food. She was ravenous. And she did become a permanent fixture. Well, at least ~ for one and a half years.
Located on our patio directly in line with our breakfast nook windows is our barbecue. Feral took to jumping on top of the barbecue and peering relentlessly and meowing her helium meow while we breakfasted. PS – The ‘fuzzy’ pics were because they were taken through the window screen – at first she was too shy for us to approach her.
Sometimes Gombah would join in unison to let us know that she was out there. When we got up to get her food, Feral would jump off the barbecue and meet us at the screened porch door ready for breakfast. Cats like routine and she definitely did. At times, she would nap on the barbecue waiting for the adoptive parents to awake and give her breakfast.
It seemed that Nello had the inside track with pets since Feral did allow him to pet her. She was more reluctant with me, although I did get in a few pats on her head (while patting her, I also applied flea repellent on the back of her head). Each morning after she ate, Nello would go out the porch door and walk around the house to get the morning paper, and she always bounded after him and waited for him and then followed him back.
Feral gave lots of attention to Gombah, who took a mature, reserved big brother stance with her shenanigans ~ rubbing against him through the screen and rolling over on her back playfully. He never showed much attention back; he just sat and stared at her. But when she wasn’t around he would jump on the window sill in the breakfast nook and look for her, meowing loudly when she appeared.
After she was around for a few months, I noticed that she was getting a full-rounded look. I also started to be concerned if the toddler next door tried to pet her, he would get scratched. The odds were that she had no rabies shots or other important shots. Since we kind of took ownership of her, it was our responsibility to make her safe for our neighborhood. And she probably wasn’t spayed. I had visions of litters of kittens perched outside our screened porch and hearing my Sicilian husband chanting, “They can’t come in the house.” .
The reasonable thing to do would be to bring her to a vet. But how? She was a feral cat and not likely to be picked up and carted off to a vet. Bless him, Nello agreed that we needed to bring her in. He started to put her food in our cat carrier and placed it on the patio and within a week, Feral was going in there to eat. Then he concocted a string to close the door while she was in there. And it worked the first time! Feral was not happy but we had prearranged to bring her in to the pet clinic. She was spayed and given her immunity shots including rabies. They kept her overnight and we brought her back the next day.
The vet said to keep her ‘indoors’ for a week to prevent infection and we said we had no indoors – we only had an outside shed. So we put food and water in there with the carrier and its door open and skedaddled out of there before she came out. However, she never lasted the week. After just one night in the shed, she clawed her way through the narrow screened window opening and was perched on the barbecue the next morning while we had breakfast. We were more than a little surprised. She bounded around like she had never been away or had ‘surgery’. TBContinued: Chapter 9 ~ Feral and Gombah Get Together
Marie Coppola © September 2012