|Boomer checks for signs of the wild cats.|
Brutus the bully cat is a yellow tom that stalks the neighborhood. He has a harem of five floozy cats that are probably related. Sorry, but that’s probably true. And, I’m pretty sure at least one of them is pregnant right now. If the others aren’t they probably will be.
These cats live in the neighborhood sheltering in whatever shed is available, eating whatever is available. Our neighbor has made friends with a few of them and sets out food. We did too. We set out the reject food from Boomer, our spoiled rotten former wild and spare cat. It seemed a waste, especially since there are starving cats wandering the neighborhood. It would usually disappear within minutes, especially in the dead of winter. But we won’t be setting out food anymore.
We won’t be setting out food because Brutus the bully cat beat up on Boomer. A couple of times. He drew blood! Even after we tried dealing with him by scaring him off, catching him nearly in the act! Stupid Brutus the bully cat insisted on coming back to make his mark, and scare the stripes off our cat. Granted, he was here first and doesn’t really have someone to love him. Even the floozy cats give him wide berth and run from him. It’s not surprising Boomer has stories to tell.
“Hey kid. Move it. Take your tail and go.” That was the first thing he said to me. I was sitting on the patio watching the birds go by. Then he spit on me and growled and pinned my face to the doormat. When he turned to go, he sprayed all over me. It was disgusting. “This is my house now,” I hollered. When he turned back toward me, I threw up a little. Sheesh he is a big. I should have shut up. One of my people came to the door and I was glad to run inside. They acted like it was my fault I smelled though.
You have to understand, my people have moved us twice in a year and one of those was from far far away. Sure I got to ride with the guys in a truck but things were way different where we landed. I was born in a much warmer place. Much warmer. I kind of think of myself as tough. Heck I grew up where thorns and fire ants sting and I was great at not getting caught on the roof. I had a buddy too. Junior was my best buddy. He wanted to be just like me, right down to the stripes. He hated his real name, Hersheys…see? Silly. So he liked it fine we called him Junior Boomer, Junior for short. He had to stay back where I came from. My new place is okay. It has rain, snow, cold, mud, and no good places to litter box. I’m sure I’ll be fine. My people will be fine. We’ll be fine. Really.
Last summer we watched a batch of kittens play in the summer sun. They slept under my husband’s workshop and came out mid day with their mother. She’d leave them for a time and disappear into the woods and they’d attack grass, jump for bugs, and wrestle with each other. Boomer and I would watch from the patio. They were cute but wild. We were never able to get close. At first we thought there were just three, a gray, a yellow, a tortoiseshell. But it turns out there were two grays. At least one of the gray ones isn’t around anymore and we think the rest are now part of the harem.
Boomer came to us as a stray. He just appeared in the neighborhood and started hanging around. He’d lay in the sawdust as my husband built furniture in the garage. He’d rub against me as I weeded the garden, and he’d sit with me on the lawn chair and bump his head into my arm until I pet him. Pretty soon he had his own dish in the garage, then he came in the house one day to meet our indoor cats. After that he came in to visit now and then. Then our old cats died, and he came in to be our cat, and we were his people.
There’s a wild and mean side to Boomer. I usually say he has bad manners. Our daughter says he was raised by dogs. Not that I think dogs have bad manners…Boomer just isn’t the typical cat. He can be rude. So we know bad cat manners when we see them. Brutus the bully cat has horrible manners. He’s just mean and nasty and I no longer think he might be friendly one day. It’s not going to happen. I’m not the cat whisperer I think I am.
Boomer was bleeding this week. We didn’t see the altercation but after a flurry of near misses, one of which involved my husband pitching a cup of coffee at the tom, it seems most likely Brutus the bully cat clamped down hard on Boomer and got him good. I know it makes no sense to apply human logic here, but it’s our house and yard and the wild things should know where they aren’t wanted!
We’ve been plotting how to trap the wild cats and take them to someone my husband knows who works with feral cats. She takes them to get “fixed.” Some are returned to the wild. I’d prefer not to perpetually have wild cats terrorizing the neighborhood pets, but maybe there is hope in the fixing?
In the meantime I’m left curious how we tolerate bad behavior in one and not in another, for animals, and for humans. Is it the personal history we know, the love and affection we feel that redeems one from another? Boomer and I need to have a sit and a think about this.
Photo of Boomer by Kate Travis