Cat Crazy

I like cats…really I do. But this may not end well.

A couple of months ago, a new cat showed up at the rescue. He was given a less-than-welcome greeting by Tori, our resident “cat-tester” who still has plenty of spunk at age 15. As you can see, the new cat was simply unfazed.

He not only didn’t budge – he made his way inside.

That earned him a name: Kermit. And a trip to the vet to ensure that he would not be fathering any (more?) offspring. The plan seemed to be to have him hang around the office to give Tori a much-needed break from the dog-testing duties. But Kermit was such a pest, he quickly found himself booted outside.

For weeks, he lounged around the patio – making his way back in whenever someone wasn’t looking. But today he showed up in a whole new place….the garden.

We have quite a few cats at the rescue. They help to keep the population of mice, lizards and snakes to a minimum. They all have their special places and respect each others boundaries. But not Kermit. If you recall, the garden belongs to our feral cat, Frida.

She is a mighty huntress but a tidy girl who always keeps her garden shed neat and tidy. Lately, however, we have been finding her food and water bowls overturned, and remnants of someone doing their business inside the shed. Now we know why.

It seems that Kermit has been making himself at home in Frida’s domicile – from under the shed (her favorite hiding place)

to on high.

This boy has no fear and clearly doesn’t respect our motto: “it’s all about the dogs.” And let me tell you – we have some cat-hating dogs who will be just as unhappy about Kermit’s presence in their garden as Frida!

The same drama unfolds at home, too. We have two neighbors with multiple outside cats and at least two feral cats that have taken up residence – finding ample free food left on stoops. Like Kermit, they have no fear – and no sense. They roam all of the neighbor yards looking for birds, river rats, and squirrels to savage. The fights are horrific.

Worse: my Yogi is a verified cat-hater. We cannot leave or return from a walk without running the cat gauntlet. Yogi literally propels himself straight up in the air like a helicopter when he sees them – while they just sit and stare. If I were an unkind person, I would let go of the leash. Then again, Yogi might well be on the losing side of a battle with these feline beasts.

I read that there is a controversial cat ban proposed by a New Zealand town. I can tell you, it wouldn’t be necessary if people would keep their cats inside. And yes – I know this is not their natural habitat. But it’s not a dog’s either. And while I appreciate the river rat population control – I do wish they would not pick on the poor birds!

So mind your Ps and Qs, Kermit boy. Remember that you are here by the grace of Tori and Frida, and keep an eye out for those doggies…and the owls above!

The Charmed Life of a Garden Cat Named Frida

The north wind that blew in mid-month stayed. Spring is nothing if predictably unpredictable. We went from t-shirts to down jackets and mittens within 24 hours. While the overnight thermometer dropped below freezing for a week, it stayed close enough – thankfully – to have little impact on our opening blueberry and apple blossoms. And now, there is much-needed rain on the horizon. But today, we all soaked up the warm spring sun.

A butterfly (Mourning Cloak?) warming its wings on the stone path and accommodating bunny –

big dogs walking (not available – just visiting)…

Golden dogs lounging (spoken for!)…

And going-home dogs (hurrah for Clooney, Chubbs, and Bear!).

And this?

Not a dog! This is the illusive and rarely seen Frida – the garden cat. I spied her in the field next door alternately basking in the sun, hiding in the mustard weed, and stalking her prey.

We have a few cats at Homeward Bound. Most have to earn their keep as mousers or – like Tory – as our loyal cat-tester. (No cats are harmed in the testing of our dogs.)

But Frida lives a charmed life. After being spayed and vaccinated, she was returned to the garden where she reigns. For the longest time, we only saw fleeting glimpses of her or heard her scurry under the garden shed.

Lately, she has become bolder. Rob and I leave her food and clean water. She has a tiny cat house with a comfy bed in the shed and an igloo outside if she prefers to crouch and watch the world go by. She is a great hunter – which is why I gave up feeding the birds. And she clearly does not want for calories. Recently, she let me get within a few feet of her.

And today, she most definitely saw me stalking her with my camera and decided to pose.

In late afternoon, you might glimpse her circling the garden waiting for all of us to leave. I can just imagine her joy in solitude with only lizards, birds, and tiny mouse meals to contemplate.

Get cozy tonight, Frida girl. The rain will come. But the warm sunshine is sure to follow.