Catwoman stands at the window looking out to her peaceful backyard. It’s morning and the aroma of her morning coffee brewing permeates the air. She runs through the list out loud, “Simon, Abner, Charlotte, Noches, Peter, Rosie, Fritzi.”
With a sigh of relief, she walks over to pour her coffee and grab the container of cat food. She frets so about her ferals. Will they still be there in the morning? Will they be okay? Silently she worries about them all the time. Predators abound in the outdoor world. The life expectancy of feral cats is dismal; anywhere from 2 to 8 years, while indoor domesticated cats live 15 or more.
Floyd is underfoot, clamoring for attention and his breakfast. “There, there, my sweet big guy! Give me a minute, will ya!” She feeds Floyd, strokes him and heads out the back door to feed her colony of ferals.
Just another day for this super hero, and my personal friend of 20+ years, Catwoman!
Her alter-ego goes by Mory and over these last many years, the feral cats in her neighborhood have made their way to her backyard! And, many of them have never left…
It all started like this…
Mory didn’t plan on morphing into Catwoman, but many years ago (2001), new neighbors moved in next door and they had a cat. This cat, Jasmine, visited Mory every day. Mory fed her and showered her with attention, so Jasmine kept coming back.
One day, Dexter showed up. Apparently he’d heard a rumor that Mory was feeding Jasmine and Dexter, totally feral, decided getting free food from Mory was easier than hunting. So, he kept coming back.
After a few conversations with said neighbors, Jasmine became a permanent part of Mory’s life and moved in with Mory and her husband, David. Mory took her indoors, but Dexter, the feral, remained outdoors. Then, one day, Dexter brought along Floyd.
So Jasmine was inside and Dexter and Floyd were outside. Then, Dexter slit his tongue on a can top out of someone’s trash can! Poor guy had to have surgery! Mory kept him indoors after that.
Then, Floyd got into a fight with another cat and he had to have surgery! Mory kept Floyd inside from then on.
Suddenly, Mory with no cats became Catwoman with 3 cats! All would have been fine except that Jasmine and the two boys did not get along! For years, Mory had to keep them separated! (Photo above: Pic #1 – Dexter and Floyd; Pic #2 – Dexter; Pic #3 – Floyd; Pic #4 – all the indoor cats; Pic #5 – Jasmine; Pic #6 – Dexter).
In the meantime, the cats arriving in the backyard started to multiply. Floyd’s sister Felix showed up and brought along friends and siblings. Soon Mory had a cat colony (a clowder) of feral cats! With the patience of a saint, Mory set traps for them, took them to the vets and had them spayed and neutered. Even so, the cat clowder grew and grew and five of the current seven resident ferals in her backyard are related to Floyd. The colony “allowed” two strangers to join their clowder: a domesticated cat that was abandoned by neighbors and another true feral, who was skinny and starving. Now, he’s a chunk!
Over the years, Mory has assisted 4 litters of kittens, catching all but one, for spay/neuter surgery. She’s helped so many adult feral cats that she has lost count. Fritzi has lived in her backyard for 11 years now, with Peter and Charlotte close seconds at 10 years. Rosie and Simon are nine. She thinks Noches is the oldest, around 12 (or more). And, she’s guessing that Abner is five. Over the years, many have come and stayed for a few months and then moved on. A few have arrived on-site so emaciated that Mory thought they would die. With her loving care and concern, this Catwoman has saved many of them from starvation and captured them for spay/neuter surgery and returned them back to her yard.
Food and water are available 24/7 for this Catwoman’s clowder. But, with food and water available in her backyard 24/7, other critters have gotten wind of the feast and she now feeds raccoons, opossums, squirrels, and hundreds of sparrows! Even mice and rats (but they don’t last long!)!
Truly, St. Francis of Assisi would approve! BTW – she has 40 St. Francis statutes in her beautiful backyard cat sanctuary!
Each cat has their favorite food, which they always get (the 24/7 thing), but snacks have to be outside by 3 p.m. each day or two of the cats start digging holes in her window screens looking for their Catwoman! In a week’s time, she goes through 40 pounds of dry cat food and 85 cans of wet food. Yes, in a week! In addition, they have access to her garage for shelter with beds for all.
Sadly, Stella (one of the outdoor feral cats), Dexter and Jasmine have passed away, leaving Floyd the only indoor resident cat. But, Mory the Catwoman awakens every morning to look out her window and count her cats. All’s right with the world…
The Red Plate goes to Mory…
(other posts in The Red Plate series)