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Posts Tagged ‘stray cats’

As a person who habitually finds cats camped on my doorstep or yard, I have long wondered how they know MY yard–of all the yards in the area–is the ONE to come to. How can they make that decision?
I think I finally figured out the hobo signs that cats scratch on trees as they travel the neighborhoods, leaving clues for the next little furry feline vagabond who wanders along.
In my imagination, I see little claw marks along the bottoms of trees and posts that sort of resemble these figures, left by traveling cats to warn others of good and bad houses along the “kitty hobo trail”.
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Dog lives here — use caution
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Persons with gun
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Great garbage
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Even better Food
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Lots of Good food
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Crazy cat lady lives here
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Resident cats already here
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Can get a warm bed here
Bad dogs  would somehow feature a cute dog within a circle and slash
Naturally I have adopted a few little furry hoboes, after taking great pains and time to tame them down. Without exception, once they are moved inside, they acclimate within a few days and never look back on their wild wandering days. A couple have remained (years later) suspicious of all humans and visitors, while others have adopted a tolerance of anyone who might want to pat them.
Whatever their origins–feral colony, second generation wild cat, or just homeless waif– I have loved them all and they have all enriched my life in their unique ways.

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Introducing Aspen Kennedy

This pretty creature is Aspen Kennedy. She first showed up on my porch in November, around the time of JFK’s anniversary, hence the ‘Kennedy’ part of her name. It would serve as a timeline reminder for me. She was clearly as wild as the November winds, paused to give me a wide-eyed glare and then raced off in a streak of smoky fur. So I did the only sensible thing I could do–I immediately grabbed a small dish, poured some of my cat’s kibble in it and left out for her.

Sure enough, she returned, when I could not see her. Each day I filled the dish and each night it was emptied out. Once in a blue moon, I’d catch a glimpse of her, just enough to know she was still coming around. Thus began our awkward relationship.

Because it’s the sort of person I am, and I have a pretty good track record at this sort of thing, I decided to tame this wild November wind. By now we were sliding into December. I armed myself with a few cans of yummy flavored cat food and prepared for a long winter of Taming Aspen.

I could tell she never had an owner, and most likely never had a real home. Each night that I wasn’t working, I was home, sitting on the porch, waiting for her. I soon learned her timetable. She would wait until the solar lights just kicked on and twilight was falling. Under the cover of darkness, she would steal silently onto the porch, looking for her dinner. Rain, cold, whatever the weather, I was there, with a dish of canned and dry food.

She would eat and I would talk, sitting motionless except to occasionally stir the canned around for easier reach. Gradually, as the days stretched through the month, she would creep closer to me, finally getting so close that her head would rest against my leg or knee. Still, I dare not try to pet her. Any movement on my part would still make her shift backward a foot or two. It was tempting to want to pet her, but it was still too early in our relationship for such overtures. Trust takes time and it had only been maybe 5 or 6 weeks at that point.

Fast forward another couple of weeks, this past weekend in fact. We had made great strides, she and I.  I had reached the point I could gently scrub her ears and along her back and she reached the point to realize it felt good. Go figure. When she had eaten her fill, she would hang out to groom herself, sharpen her claws on the banister and slowly stretch a few times. She had reached a point where she liked my darling little Papillion when I would return later to walk Scrapper and Aspen was still hanging around.

This past Sunday evening, I was at my post, food ready for her nightly visit. At her regular time, she appeared, bringing along a surprise—

Next time–the continuing story of Aspen and see what her surprise turned out to be.

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