Yes, as a cat lover this must seem like a very strange title for a blog. How could a cat person like me ever not want a cat? After all I volunteer with Cats and I am a Cat Behavior Consultant. What kind of cat would I not want? The answer is…….drumroll……..
The outdoor kind.
Please understand that I don’t judge and finger wag at those who do have outdoor cats, but it is not what I would choose or recommend. I think that cats are happy and healthier when kept inside. I do think that they need to have good diets, regular exercise, plenty of enrichment and regular veterinary care, but with all that I think indoor cats are quite happy.
Ok, onto Mama. She appeared about four years ago in my yard with several kittens. I did exactly what you are supposed to do and tried to trap her and her kittens, but she outsmarted me as well as many other cat loving neighbors. We tried for about 2 years, but then she disappeared and I feared the worst. Happily at the beginning of this summer she strolled through my yard as if no time had passed. This time I notice she was ear tipped. Thank goodness someone had finally trapped her and she had been spayed. I was elated! Happy she was alive and happy as she would not have several litters of kittens every year. I enjoyed watching her again as I did before, although she was still standoffish and skeptical of me. I was just happy to see this pretty girl alive and well.
Then one day a few months ago she limped into my yard not using one of her hind legs. It didn’t look good and I was heartbroken. This was why I didn’t ever want an outdoor cat. Too many things can happen and I am too much of a worrier to handle it. But now here she was in my yard and needing help. I gave her food and tried to check her out as best I could without touching her. I thought maybe she had been hit by a car, but there was no blood or obvious wound. I got her on a regular feeding schedule to try and trap her so I could get her to the vet. Luckily as the days went by she started to use her leg again. By the end of about a week she was back walking with only a slight limp. Again I was elated, but now she was here every day twice a day for meals and spending most of her time in my yard. She was clearly my cat.
Fast forward to today and she is currently sleeping in her temporary house and no longer limping. I quickly discovered that she was not feral, but probably an owned cat that had been dumped. After earning her trust I found that she loves being petted and brushed. She even purrs and makes muffins! Mama is still skittish and learning to trust, but is clearly happy with all the attention. She is blind in one eye and that made things a little more challenging as she got spooked easily, but we have worked all that out and every day she gets more comfortable and trusting. I am very excited to soon gift to her a very fancy proper outdoor house. She will be living in style as she will be safe, dry, warm and loved. I hope that one day she will become someone’s indoor kitty. I will devote my time with her to hopefully achieve that goal, but if she decides that she wants to stay here outside with me she will always be safe, dry, warm and loved. She will always be my Mama Mia, the cat I never knew I wanted.
please check out http://www.alleycat.org for more info about community cats.
“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
― Charles Dickens
The Contented Cat
1 Forrest Avenue
Cat Behavior Consulting