Friends in Low Places

Tom in the Barn

We have a kitty in the barn, his name is Tom. He’s pretty wild, so don’t get too close. This discovery was made by Steve when he was out feeding the girls. The next thing you know, Steve is taking a can of cat food out there every morning when he goes out to feed Oreo, Socks and the gang.

Growing up in the suburbs, I never had a real concept of what a feral kitty was. As a matter of fact, as our mom was allergic to cats, my sum knowledge about them came from watching Snagglepuss on Saturday mornings.

I’ve since learned that cats are extremely independent and that feral cats take the cake in that department. Did you ever try to pick up a feral kitten? I learned all about feral cats the hard way.

One day we heard kitten cries under the deck. There are kittens under the deck! I hear them! I got down on my belly and peered under the deck. They look sooo cute! Steve had that look of concern that I invoke from him at least once a day. Don’t pick them up. They’re feral!

Feral? Oh, okay. Listening isn’t always my strong point, as I have Mr. Magoo tendencies, so I picked one up. Holy cow it hurt! That cute little booger bit and clawed at the same time. Somehow, its cuteness shined a little less brightly in that unfortunate moment. I screamed and dropped that little cat like a hot potato. As he was already under the deck, he didn’t have too far to fall. Shortly after, he and his litter mates exited, stage left.

Feral? Ohhh, that feral. Sometimes you think you know what a word means, but you’re wrong. At least it happens to me from time to time. That foreign word took on a new meaning for me. I didn’t need to look it up in my Funk and Wagnalls as the puncture wounds and deep scratches told the tale. For a couple of weeks my hand was swollen and colored Mercurochrome orange. And yes, I do know that between Mercurochrome and Funk and Wagnalls, I am dating myself.

About a year later we rescued Pepe le Pew from that very same spot under the deck. The little guy was all by himself and crying away. Steve took the deck apart and there he was, a little white ball of fur with big blue eyes. I took my time and slowly edged closer. He cried and came to me. He was feral, but so young and alone he must have thought I was okay. I scooped him up, fell in love, and all was good.

Looking back, I see how I went about it in the wrong way the first time. It was all about my wanting to pick up that adorable kitten. The thought of cuddling that furbaby made my heart happy, but I never considered how that kitten felt. In order for me to understand, communicate, and make friends, I had to come down from the ivory tower I was living in.

To this day, I have kitty totem scars on my right hand. I wear them with pride.

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