Monday, June 26, 2006


Last Fall my mom and the woman next door began feeding a group of local stray cats. The roster of cats that would show up every day and night would change, gradually, but we were able to recognize some regulars and learned their personalities. There was the timid little black-and-white who would run away if other cats approached, and the little gray tabby who would only eat soft food. There were cats who would run away at the sight of a human, and cats who would sit on the steps and cry until someone brought them food.

I warned my mom not to get too attached to any of them. We live on the busiest street in Nanticoke, and it seemed inevitable that with so many cats crossing the street on a regular basis, at least some of them would wind up as roadkill.

I only named one of the cats. It was a big orange cat who was completely friendly and absolutely fearless. He - or she, I don't know - would run up onto the steps as I was pouring food (yes, even I got into the act) and rub his head against my hands as I poured. If we left the door open for too long while he was in the area, he would come up onto our back porch and look around. My mom thought he was not really a stray but was actually somebody's pet. He showed up so often and interacted so much that I decided I had to give him a name. I named him "Sammie", which I figured would work for a boy or a girl.

Winter was the major time of feeding, when our food probably meant the difference between life and death for some of these cats. We also set up little shelters here and there where the cats could seek refuge against the wind and the cold, dark sky. I'll never forget Christmas Eve - well, Christmas Day, since it was after Midnight Mass - stepping out onto the back porch and being greeted by a chorus of hungry cats, gathered on the steps by the door like so many Christmas carolers. I fed them, wished them a Merry Christmas, and went to bed.

This weekend there was an orange cat dead on the street a few blocks from my house, its head shattered into a bloody pulp. Was it Sammie? I don't know. I haven't seen him in months.

I wish I had taken my own advice about not getting too attached to stray cats who are probably destined to be roadkill.

1 comment:

Betz said...

This made me sad Har. I hope that it was not Sammie, but even if it wasn't, tis still sad.