07. March 2005 · Comments Off on In The Garden of Cats · Categories: Domestic, General

My back yard is entirely fenced, and sheltered from the late afternoon sun by an enormous mulberry tree, and is usually at its best during two times of the year— that is, spring and fall. Summers are hot and harsh, winters are cold and dreary, and our gardening season is split into two short seasons by them. The first best time is beginning now, when the jasmine and the potted Meyer lemon trees are out in clusters of starry white flowers, and everything else is leafing out, recovering from the whatever winter freeze we might have had. It has been a particularly wet and soggy winter, rather than cold, so this year everything in my yard will be most especially green and lush, and may yet carry through summer that way

We only had a couple of days of freezing temps, but it hit the plants I put in last fall the hardest; a grouping of native Texas plants to attract birds and butterflies, around a green glass Japanese fishing buoy in a metal stand, where the bird feeders hang from a branch of the mulberry. The fire bush and lantana, the Esperanza and liatris are all putting out new leaves. I love to sit out on the back porch in the mornings and evenings, when the big rose bush and the Esperanza are alive with birds, and there is a constant flutter of wings around the feeders.
Sgt. Mom's Back Porch
Sammie, the white cat from across the road— who was nearly blind— used to like sitting behind the potted plants, and pretending that he was stalking the birds going after the spilled seed on the ground. Alas, he was too blind to actually catch a bird, not unless it was a bird with a death-wish marching right up to his whiskers. Sammie, who uncharacteristically (according to his owner) developed a deep affection for Blondie when she was home over Christmas, grumpily tolerated sharing my garden with Bubba, the black cat from down the road who has been coming around for years. I think Sammie and Bubba looked on my garden as a sort of gentleman’s club; not in the nasty, titty-bar sort of way, but the comfy chair and old-port English manner of gentleman’s club. Alas, Sammie was side-swiped by a car one day when on his way over; he was not seriously hurt, just shaken up, and stays in his own yard these days, which is for the best.

Bubba, the wise and wily old survivor, who does not have to cross the road— he frequently arrives by strolling along the top of the fence that runs along the back of all our houses— does not have the place to himself though. For the last two weeks, another young cat has been trailing along in his lordly wake, at 6 AM and 6 PM sharp. Just as young Percival the sort-of-feral began hanging around for the food, and was eventually coaxed into tolerating caresses, and then the soft life of an indoor cat of the First Degree, I am contemplating doing the same with this one…. But oh no, not for myself! I have four cats already; another one will be crossing the boundary into “crazy neighborhood cat lady”, as well as being frowned upon by the code compliance section of the City of San Antonio.

This new cat— who may yet actually belong to a neighbor, just like Sammie and Bubba— has been coming around for two weeks now, and already accepts being petted, and tolerates me sitting on the glider and listening to the radio while he crunches through a bowl of finest Science Diet Light. It is another young male, all white underneath with a brindle brown and grey patch on his back, and on the top of his head. He seems touchingly eager to reject the call of the wild, and curl up on soft furniture and embrace the life of an indoors cat…I must be strong and resist! But as soon as he is tame enough to handle without shedding a couple of pints of my blood— and I know for sure that he doesn’t belong to someone (Judy, my neighbor who knows all this sort of thing, says no, he is a stray) he is off to the spay and neuter clinic, and on to the waiting list for the Animal Defense League shelter, awaiting a soft chair and a garden of his own.

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