Friday, September 16, 2005

The Breach

   Tonight my visit to the feral cats was made via canoe, not by bicycle as is my wont. The water was a little higher due to the rains we have had recently, but still placid (I'm not one of your thrill-seeking whitewater types when it comes to my aquatic excursions.) I paddled past a couple on a 'fishing date', he was fishing, she was talking; another couple was exploring the river's edge when I surprised them (SORRY!). There is a small landing spot near the cats' colony where I put in. All along this section of the Rum River is a stone wall, probably laid by the inmates of the state mental hospital sometime in the thirties. It may have been meant as a breakwater; I suspect it was instigated as a therapy project. There was a breach in this wall, and beyond it a path led to a clearing where the city sometimes dumps unwanted tree stumps, trunks and trimmings. Beyond that is the 'hollow' where the cats hang out.

   Because I came from the river, and not my usual entry from the trail, the 'sentries' were unaware of my presence- I sat by myself for a few minutes. Soon I was surrounded by cats (the Animal Ark people had posted signs telling people not to feed the cats- and they were hungry!) All I had was one can of sardines, (I would usually mix it with their food), I was like Jesus trying to feed the multitude. A few of the old timers showed up, old crimp-tail Tom, Buster and, representing the younger set, Buster Jr.- who may not really be Buster's progeny, but has almost the same markings as his "pop". I dished out the sardines and most of the cats got at least a taste- Buster, my old buddy, got a little head scratching thrown in to boot.

   Then, something new happened. Buster Jr., hitherto unapproachable, wanted a head scratch too. I obliged, but I'm thinking that he didn't know quite what to do with my ministrations. He liked it, I guess, but he also was fighting with his 'run away' instinct. We made out alright, for a first "date", he followed me about half-way back to the canoe. Old Tom sat and watched.

   So, the old state hospital wall had been breached. And so had Buster Jr.'s natural defenses. I paddled home, the full moon rising. I made a difference in some creature's life. Hooray for me. Hooray for Buster Jr., Hooray for all of God's creatures, great and small, sleeping under the full moon tonight.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Comica said...

One of the stray kittens I used to feed regularly (now practically an old maid), would follow around the leader of the bunch, a eunuch called "Plucky".

He absolutely loved having his head scratched, but she always had to fight hard not to run away when I came around.
Soon, she was mimicking him and wanted her head scratched.

When she had her first batch of kittens, they came to appreciate me straight away, and came when I called them.

I don't think my mother will ever forgive me for befriending more mouths to feed, but it was fun anyways!

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