I have written previously about my cafeteria for cats, but I will reprise here what I wrote then in case some of you don’t memorize my columns.
A couple of years ago, I started putting food out for a neighborhood kitty who seemed to be homeless – and wild. Efforts to have her come to me were fruitless. However, she was happy to dine on my open porch, even eventually sitting impatiently on the steps meowing if I was a little late with her breakfast. I named her St. Francis-with-an-i because I’m a great fan of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for his love of animals. I even chose to be born on his feast day. Or maybe he chose to have his feast day on my birthday. Whatever.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with saint’s feast days, never mind. I don’t intend this to be a theological treatise.
I, of course, didn’t know if St. Francis-the-cat was a boy or girl, but when she brought her three kittens to the table about a year later, I was pretty sure she was of the female persuasion. The friend whom she brought with her to dine occasionally, whom I dubbed Lady Pearl, I had to redub Lord Pearl, since two of the three kittens looked just like him.
I have been feeding the three now-grown-up kitties ever since. I named them Christopher Robin (fluffy gray one), Hansel (smaller gray one) and Gretel (black-with-green-eyes one). St. Francis ceased coming shortly after entrusting her family to my provisions. I have told myself that she must have found more appealing food elsewhere. That has to be what happened.
Last week I began to suspect I was feeding something larger than the three cats. The food bowls were overturned in the morning and the water bowl turned upside down. A raccoon, I guessed. Then my neighbor reported she saw a whole family of raccoons – mama, papa, and three little ones – running through my yard.
They have frightened Christopher Robin, Hansel and Gretel away and I’ve had to stop putting out food for them. I’ve been told that I’m now on raccoon radar and if I try to put out cat food again, I’ll probably be hostess to a cast of thousands of raccoons.
So thus ends this chapter of my life. It was such fun watching the kitties dine, but I hope they have had a healthy start and will find a new safe-from-raccoons eatery.
Meanwhile, Ivy Scarlett, the German Shepherd/Husky mix Bing and I adopted 11 years ago, can’t believe her good fortune. She now has a bit of cat food sprinkled over her dog food every day. For some reason, cat food is much more appealing to her than dog food.
I’m glad there’s a silver lining somewhere.