FINDING A REFUGEE A HOME
—Donal Mahoney, Belleville, IL
Fuzzy wasn’t my cat although I fed him every morning at four o'clock for 10 years.
He was my wife’s cat, loved to sit on her lap, be petted, jump down and rub his head against her feet.
He was a Maine Coon cat who arrived at our door as a refugee without papers or a green card. Probably was a pet once; someone had him fixed. His kittens would have been too beautiful to see.
Me he wouldn’t look at even when I gave him his Fancy Feast and Meow Mix early every morning.
I became his waiter because I get up very early and my wife sleeps on. It worked like this: Fuzzy would stare at me through the kitchen window from the bannister on the deck until I fed him. That’s how I drew the short straw on opening cans for 10 years without a meow of thanks.
Fuzzy’s gone now, no longer patrolling the yard for moles which my wife said is something he did very well. In 10 years he caught one mole that I am aware of and dropped its corpse on our door mat, a trophy, I guess, for my wife. For some reason she chose not to have it mounted.
He’s gone because we’re moving, downsizing as they call it, what a couple does when the kids have moved on to lives of their own. But it wasn’t easy finding Fuzzy a new home. He didn’t realize he had two choices—go to a new owner or to a shelter as a refugee in waiting with his demise perhaps near.
After a diligent search, my wife found two people who wanted an outside/inside cat, one that would stay outside in good weather and come inside when the temperature dropped too low. In our case, Fuzzy had spent his winter nights on a heated back porch. His padded bed was on a rocking chair and his food, water and litter box nearby. My wife added a heater set at 70 degrees. That cat had it made.
The first lady who took Fuzzy lived not far from us. She already had a dog and two cats but was often a foster mother to other cats until a permanent owner could be found. Fuzzy apparently did not find everything at her place to his liking. He was back on our deck bannister in two days.
The lady was very upset that he had apparently escaped through a series of vents that he had opened with his paw. Or so she suspects. No cat in her custody had ever escaped before.
The second lady took him to a permanent home 70 miles away. He’s been with her a week now and he's not back yet but every morning at four I look out the window to see if he’s on the bannister waiting for his Fancy Feast.
Never thought I’d miss him.
Now, as we’re packing up, I keep asking my wife why did we sell the house.
Donal Mahoney and his wife now live in Belleville, Illinois, not far from St. Louis, which is far from Chicago where he emotionally still resides. He has probably over three decades fed as many as seven feral cats, one after another, before dawn every morning. They all loved his wife, not so much him. He’s good now at popping the lid on cat food cans. (Watch for more in the Kitchen from Donal this coming Friday, March 17.)
The California Poetry Out Loud State Finals will take place in Sacramento later today (4pm at the Crest Theatre) and tomorrow (beginning at 8:15am at the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol). Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.