Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Daisy Finds a Friend
From the day that we chose one another at the local animal shelter, I understood that Daisy (owing to her personality issues and her potential health problems) would have to live her life as an inside-only cat. She did not, however, lack for animal companionship. Thanks to the safety of the screen porch, Daisy saw lots of visitors from the other side of the screen. There have been family pets (cats, a rooster, guinea fowl) and lots of stray kitties who have come and gone.
Daisy loved the porch until Incident Coyote.....actually was more than one incident. Daisy's best friend was a feral stray called Aggie. Aggie and Daisy spent many sunny hours together from their respective sides of the screen until the day that a hungry coyote came hunting. The very worst happened, and Daisy saw it all. But, weeks later, I thought that Daisy would be safe on the porch. I was wrong. The coyote leaped right through the screen door to attack, and it only was by the narrowest margins that I managed to rescue my Daisy.
And that is when Daisy broke utterly. I had never seen or even heard of a cat having a nervous breakdown but that is what she did. After months of misery, I despaired of whether she would recover and I considered having her put down to end her sorrow.
Then something happened that I could not explain: my neighbors' cats came to Daisy as though they knew something was wrong. I had pet-sat for Spike and Patch for many years; they loved me like family. Maybe that's why they came to Daisy. It seemed that nearly every day one or the other would stand outside the windows where she liked to sleep, and they tried to catch her attention. When she recovered enough to return to the porch, they visited her there. They kept on visiting until they both passed away this spring, and then Daisy was lonely again. She didn't seem to want to be outside anymore.
This past week, however, Daisy has been demanding to spend whole days on the porch even though she had avoided the place all summer. I couldn't figure out why.
The weather has been cool enough that I had the window over the kitchen sink open. That's how I heard it: a feline negotiation. Growling. Caterwauling. But no hissing. Not a fight but a getting-the-lay-of-the-land discussion. I looked outside, and there she was: my neighbors' third cat Smokey. After the caterwauling was done, Smokey and Daisy each sat for a long while staring at one another through the screen.
The neighbors found Smokey abandoned at a camp ground a couple of years ago and adopted her. She's a feisty tiny thing--all fur and attitude. It took her awhile to learn to love her big brothers Spike and Patch but love them deeply she did and when they died within weeks of one another, she was devastated. When I pet-sat for her, I could sense her sorrow. Cats are not inclined to live in packs but they do enjoy the company of other felines.
Smokey tends to range around the rear of my neighbors' property and has never before ventured into my yard. But now it seems that she has found Daisy and that Daisy has found a friend.
Life is good.
And it is blessed with cats.