My neighbor Virginia at my old apartment complex was a kind person who alerted me to the feral colony around the place. So to alleviate Virginia’s concerns I began to introduce myself. I put a large carrier with a blanket over it on my patio to provide a winter shelter. I also put out food. This had to be disguised from the management, but in addition to being lousy at their jobs, rude and nasty in general, they were very stupid, so this was not hard to do. Patio furniture hid the carrier. My apartment was only a couple of miles from the local library. I volunteered there as an ESL instructor. One April night after a meeting, it was warm enough when I got home to open the sliding doors to the patio a little to let in some fresh air. For some reason the evening was quiet. I sat on the sofa to read and then a heard it. Tiny noises were coming from the patio. Without turning on the outside light I went to take a look. That was when I met Miss Dolly, one of the feral cats my friend Virginia was so concerned about.
Say hello, Dolly.
I don’t know why momma laughed when she said that. I know she likes my name and she doesn’t usually laugh when she says it. Sometimes she calls me Miss Dee and sometimes DeeDee but that doesn’t make her laugh either. I am a very shy girl. Momma says this is because I was outside in a bad place all alone with no one to protect me. That’s how I wound up having kittens. I knew I needed somewhere for my kittens to be safe and I remembered that warm covered place, so that’s where I went. That night the lady who put out food came and looked into the warm place. I wasn’t afraid, she was quiet and gentle and moved very slowly. She made happy sounds at my kittens.
The next morning the lady came out again with some food for me. I trusted her so much I let her move my kittens a round to count them and make sure they were all right. Momma told me to keep my kittens safe we had to come inside. At first I was nervous because I knew other cats were in there but she let me. in a different door and I saw it was safe in her room. Momma says I was the best cat mother she ever saw, so calm and gentle with five babies and delivered them all myself with no problems. Those kittens were a lot of work though because they stayed with us a long time so I could teach tIhem the important cat things and Momma could teach them about litter boxes and no biting people even when it just fun. When my kittens got big enough she took them to find their own homes but I hid because I wanted to stay with Momma. I became friends with the other cats. I love Mi Sun even though she is grumpy. Momma says I act like Mi Sun is my cat mother.
It took a long time but eventually some of my fears went away. I now know I can sit on the bookcases under the windows or the top of the big chair and it’s all right. For a long time I would jump down and run away. Momma thinks because I am so pretty someone tried to grab me once and that is way I would rather be under some cover. Now I also feel safe to come and sit next to Momma and be petted. It took a long time for that. Which is kind of silly because I trusted he with my babies right away. Because I was so shy Momma doesn’t have a lot of pictures of me. She says part of the reason she got the Go Pro camera is so she can get more pictures of me on the sly. I am still a pretty shy girl but she said I am such a beautiful calico I should have lots of pictures.
Dolly remains elusive. I was sure I had a photo of her from the old apartment but the computer gremlins must have trashed it. I promise someday I’ll catch her even if I have to buy a telephoto lense and carry it 24/7.