Richard H. Mock
Wild Cat came into our view and our lives for the first time as we, my wife Brenda and I, were looking into our back yard from our Florida room. It, we never determined the sex of our visitor, warily approached a bread scrap that we had thrown near the bird feeders some fifty-odd feet from the back of our house. It had quickly devoured the tidbit before moving on in search of another morsel of food. I opened the door to the yard intending to offer the hungry animal some of the dry cat food that we kept in a pan by the door for our next door neighbors' pets. Wild Cat ran away.
It was a large, but apparently immature, tri-color animal that was underweight with a dirty coat of fur. We surmised that someone had released this unwanted animal in our golf course community thinking that it could fend for itself in the adjacent wooded areas. The native small animal wildlife, foxes, rabbits, possums and racoons, populations had rapidly declined as new homes were being constructed. How could a domestic animal be expected to survive in this environment? This animal had shown its mettle and endured, but at a severe price, it had become feral; hence, Brenda aptly named it Wild Cat, or WC for short.
We began to place cat food near the bird feeders and occasionally would see the cat eating our offerings. Any remains were consumed by our resident possum in the late evenings. We noted that Wild Cat's appearance had quickly improved with its better diet, its coat was full and was being groomed. WC had become a very attractive animal.
We also noted that its fear of humans was lessening. When I went into the yard at dawn, WC was often waiting there and allowed me to approach within a few feet. As soon as I turned my back and began to walk away, WC would make for the deposit of food. The animal began to visit us several times during the day and would occasionally lounge in the sunlight near the back door. We attempted to get close enough to pet the animal, but it kept its personal distance and we did not insist on violating its space because we hoped to gain the animal's full confidence.
Then, for two days we didn't enjoy Wild Cat's visits. When it did come, we saw that it had been severely mauled. It seemed that it must have been in a territorial dispute with one of the full-grown large cats that infrequently make an appearance. It would still not allow us to approach any nearer than before, so we placed a bowl of milk in the yard. For a few days, it drank the milk and seemed to be recovering from its wounds. The last time that we saw Wild Cat, it seemed to be in worse condition as it slowly made its way to a lair that we had never located.
It's been several days since the last sighting, and sadly hoping we still look for Wild Cat.
Upon proofreading this story, I hauntingly recall William Hughes Mearns' (Educator, 1875-1965) poem:
As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today!
I wish, I wish he'd stay away.
But, I wish, I wish Wild Cat would come today.
Who is R. H. "Dick" Mock? Late in the year 2000, a sixty-eight year old happily married retired computer professional, a CDP (Certified in Data Processing), who was employed in this field as a programmer, analyst, technical writer and manager. A holder of no degrees and a former member of Mensa (No, he didn't become less smart, he tired of the pseudo intellectuals.) who has lived in ten states, some more than a single time. At this time, his desire to be legitimately published is more significant to him than any income that can be derived from his writing. He believes that if he is successful in achieving his first goal, less important to him rewards will follow.
(Messages are forwarded by The Preservation Foundation.
So, when you write to an author, please type his/her name
in the subject line of the message.)
Another story by Richard: The Sweet Clan