© Copyright 2002 by Judith Nakken
An enormous, wild cat was the sole occupant of our five acres when we moved onto it. We’d see it streaking from the barn across the pasture at dusk. Tall and skinny, long-furred white with a strangely flat, black tail, he raced from one hiding place to the next as he checked us out. I was worried that my tiny CoCoa, a gentle Sable Burmese, was in danger of some dread disease from the Wild One.
We vacationed in San Diego a couple of weeks after moving in. While we were gone my son-in-law was to skirt the mobile home, and the daughter’s only job was to trap the wild cat and take it to the pound.
"There were bird carcasses under the trailer," he told us when we stopped there on the way home. "That old boy must stay under there sometimes." She had to reserve a cat trap from the County, and she said they would call when one was available.
We arrived home at dusk after deciding to pick CoCoa up from the cat kennel the next day. We were unloading the pickup and carrying armloads of the debris of travel up the back path to the deck when we heard "Meow! Meow!"
"Is that a quail?" My tone-deaf husband perked up his ears.
"No!" I screeched. "It’s a cat, and it’s probably that wild cat, and it’s probably trapped under the trailer!" But we didn’t hear it again, so we put on a pot of coffee and went to the truck for another load.
"Meowrrrw!" It was louder, and came from the rear. There was the big cat leaning up against the wire fence that separated back yard from outbuildings. It called to us again, certainly complaining: "Where have you been for two weeks? Where is my little brown playmate?" As I tiptoed gingerly toward the fence he flopped against the wire, clearly trying to give me his belly through the barrier. I scratched it with a tentative index finger.
Dale, who irreverently calls my Burmese "Brownie," got in a belly-scratch and issued an invitation. "Well, come on, old Black-And-Whitey, come for a visit."
Tail in the air and walking proud, our new friend followed us onto the deck and into the house for a gobble of dry cat food. But he didn’t want to be a house cat, no matter how excellent the cuisine. When Dale closed the door after the last bag of laundry was in the house the big tom’s white face, with the large black dot under its left nostril, went feral. He deserted the food dish in a flash and climbed every wall and cupboard at the top of his lungs until we opened the door again. He fled into the night.
Our relationship progressed with the summer. He began to fill out to the size and strength of a small bobcat and came to visit nearly every other evening. He’d devour a dish of food on the deck and beg for a few strokes. On one occasion Dale said, "Look at his face. We should name him Booger! We can’t keep calling him Old Black-And-Whitey."
"We can’t name him anything, honey," I insisted. He’s not ours," and I’d put more worm medicine and yeast tablets in his food. On the rare occasion that I’d see the little brown guy in the pasture with the Wild One, I’d just pray for CoCoa’s health.
The County called. A sweet voice said, "We have a trap available for you now. You know, for trapping your wild cat?"
I didn’t know whose he was, where he lived or what terrible diseases he might be carrying, but I knew I loved his freedom. I didn’t hesitate.
"No, thanks. We’ve
discovered Booger’s not wild, after all."
(Messages are forwarded by The
So, when you write to an author, please type his/her name
in the subject line of the message.)
Judith's Story List and Biography