We had seven feral cats who claimed our house as their own. They all live outside. None of them like to be touched. A couple of them keep a safe distance, even after all these years. Until last week, one of them was "Mama Cat." She's the mother of the four daughters that hang around. It was this group that changed everything. My dad caught and had fixed a total of eight ferals. These five and three others. Two of the originals have died, but we've had these six for several years. A few others have come and gone.
We don't know how old Mama Cat was. This summer was difficult for her. It's too hot. She'd been moving slow for a couple of months. More markedly, she hasn't run away when I come near. I hadn't seen her for a few days and figured she'd hidden in the bushes and passed away.
A few days later, I saw her again, laying close to the side door. I knew it was bad when she didn't hop up and run away. I chose a different door to exit, and she'd already moved to the grass, seeking some relief. I watered another part of the lawn, hoping to help cool things down a bit. She made her way toward me, waiting for me to turn off the water. I watered down the flowerbed beside the house. She settled in the cooler dirt.
I put some water in the freezer for a few minutes, then poured it close to where she was laying, knowing it and the breeze would cool the area a bit more. I could have touched her, but I promised her I wouldn't.
Funny how you grow attached to creatures that distrust you, and then there's the brief moment when they show a level of trust you never expected.
The next morning, she'd moved. I found her in the dog house. I placed some food and water and a bottle of ice close by. I checked a little later, and she was gone, the water and food untouched. Last week, she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She wasn't really a pet, simply a wild thing that lived outside and ate the food we put out. I remind myself that wild things can't be forced to change what they are. I'm going to miss seeing her. She's in God's care now.