(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)
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
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