Friday, January 27, 2012

Wildcat Experiment Continues

(Today's update below)

(Tuesday, 1/24/12) I keep my hands off feral cats unless they’re nursing kittens who appear to be abandoned. I’m a sucker for those, having adopted five ourselves over the years and placed a few others elsewhere.

But my heart’s gone out to a long-haired cat who adopted our front shrubbery last year. It doesn’t behave like a feral tom. It behaves like a frightened abandoned pet. I kept hands-off for months, but the temps have dropped to low twenties/high teens, and the cat has made a tiny nest in the nook of the fireplace wall this past month. It’s right outside my sunroom. The first rains came last weekend.

At dusk last night I saw it curled up there, and I swear I saw it shivering. The sight plagued me. Early this morning while nesting in my warm bed, I dreamed up a toaster bed for this cat. It involves heavy-duty aluminum foil over a wire hut and under its nest of leaves (carefully saved and replaced while wearing gloves), supplemented with hanks of Spanish moss under and over for insulation. I put out food as well to make this hut enticing. I think it might be too tall to reflect any heat, but better than nothing perhaps? We’ll see if the cat welcomes my interference. I let you know.

Day One: Cat Checks Bed, Says Yes to the Food, No to the Bed

Night Two: Food’s gone again. Cat slept under my car, even though I made my husband burn the last of our wood in the fireplace. This morning I’m getting sneaky. Put two morsels in food bowl but a whole handful on two leaves inside the hut. More firewood’s on order. Mark the Walking Man has offered construction advice in his comment. I shall refine the bed per his suggestions, since I don't know shit, really, about the reflective properties of inward-facing aluminum foil.

Third Day: (Investigator's notebook)

Someone was here during the night: evidence
leaf out of place
contents of offering plate, gone
footprints on moss carpet (maybe)

Nothing proves
who: any hungry nightcrawler
might have fallen joyfully upon the altar

Possible suspects: recently noted
gray squirrel w/ high-plumed tail, sniffing fence
tomcat, B&W cruising northbound
27 cedar waxwings casing the place
skunk on road (dead)

Poetry Jam requests poems of the senses this week, so I’ve adopted the feral cat’s view of this ridiculous experiment. Find more sensual stuff here.

Wild Cat Haiku

Whoever you are
What have you done to my nest?
It smells like a trap

I see what you made
That foreign thing is a mouth
I don’t enter mouths

Food magnet draws me
Crackling danger sounds inside
Ears laid low, I flee

Catastrophic mess!
Suspicious hair stands on end
I watch, quiver, wait

Then attack the food
Place stinks but how dear the meal
It tastes like more, please


Brian Miller said...

ingenius...nicely done...i hope he takes you up on the offer...

Anonymous said...

ohhhh, poor little one ... how nice of you to make the cat a new better stronger warmer shelter! i'm curious to know how it will follow ...

Kat Mortensen said...

Hi Chris! Oh, that's a shame. Can't you bring it inside. Entice it with tuna or cream or something?

Titus said...

Oh,well done you. Do keep us updated, you emotionally engaged me with the shivering.

Anonymous said...

What an incredibly kind heart you have. Please let us know :-)

I hope you're well.

Lou said...

Even if kitty likes it, he/she will never let on. But I think you done good!

Jessica Maybury said...

the poor cat! I lovelovelove cats. Take lots of photos of him! The poor thing. You're lovely.

Jessica Maybury said...

oh,cool, an update! Put a webcam on it! Doooo it. Then I can stare at your cat that's not your cat all the livelong day.

Crystal Mary said...

Hello, I certainly hope that cat does make his home in the one you created..poor thing. Its nice that you care and leave it food also.

the walking man said...

Chris Tin foil would reflect heat back out to the sun or atmosphere, something black, plastic I think would be best then cloth...something that would absorb heat in the day and release it during the an asphalt parking lot does. If you have a wood stove put some small rocks in the stove for about and hour they will give off heat for about 6 once you take them out and let them cool to the touch. Just do not use sandstone, it explodes (cracks)

Carrie Burtt said...

When I think about situations like reminds me of what it is like for are trying to take care of and feed the cat, but it does not trust or understand you.....i think it is like that for God....He tries to take care and feed us....but sometimes we do not understand, or trust Him. Love how you captured the experience for the cat in this poem Chris....puuurfect for the senses prompt! :-)

Doctor FTSE said...

Great picture of a scaredy-cat!

Margaret said...

I want an update in the next few days... Bless you.

Mary said...

Poor cat! I too want an update. I wonder if this cat will eventually wind its way inside your home??

Lucy Westenra said...

Your cat-in-two-minds is convincing.

Jinksy said...

Made me think of Rudyard Kipling's story 'The Cat Who Walks By Himself' I recommend it , if you've never read it... ♥

the walking man said...

You may as well start to get the cat used to your touch now Chris, it knows where the food is.

Helen said...

Timing is perfect. I'm visiting oldest son in Atlanta - he and wife have two wonderful cats + a feral cat who appears on a regular schedule for food/water. We love watching him.

Your poem is delightful.

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

great, jumpy, nervous cat poetry!

Anonymous said...

wonderful poem from the cat's view!

and wonderful you for doing what you can to help without threatening.

dani ♥

Summer Rain said...

a fun one,
I bet you are tickled.


Syd said...

All of our cats have been feral. Eventually, they came to the hand if I sat long enough. I hope that this one will let you touch him. Perhaps then he can be incorporated into your welcoming household.

Dianne said...

oh the cat lady is obsessing,
I go for baby birds myself.
Love it,