The Cat That Looks Both Ways
Car Engine puddy
KooKoo gots a home
Dana named him KooKoo for reasons only she knows. KooKoo was born under a mobile home in the ghetto neighborhood of Bullhead City, AZ. Many of the mobiles have poor skirting where cats set up their breeding unaware to the occupants, they quietly nurse their kittens the day long then prowl the neighborhood for a bite to eat to sustain the new life.
Feral cats have a short existence without the help of kind people who put out grub for them on occasion. I’d had a litter under my own mobile to my surprise. I’d looked out my window and 6 kittens were frolicking on my patio.
I’d been thrilled at first and picked up tiger gray and cuddled it’s softeness before releasing it to the mother who looked worriedly on at me; they’d all scurried back under there. Feral cats are into survival; they are not easily domesticated.
I soon saw that I seemed to become the cat gravitational field for all homeless cats and I counted a dozen peering in at me through the patio doors for din din. I began to panic as more came. When would it stop? How many was too much?
I started to bond with each one although I tried to keep my emotions out of it, they start to get to you, the little things they do, like when looking through the glass, quite a few of them would lick their lips, as if to say, wow, I sure am hungry, and when is dinner?
That seemed so human to me and I would smile to be their caretaker. There was a hierarchy going on outdoors. Skimishes and one-upmanship for the feed dish and territorial rights. That too, seemed quite human like behavior. I was becoming, to them, the head honcho, so to speak the pecking order was established, as I began to speak to them about sharing the food, as if they could get it, that they were safe with me, and there was enough food to go around, but they would not be spoiled or fattened unnecessarily.
I somehow secured means to have 22 of these buggers fixed so the problem was solved of more kittens gravitating here to live; save the one I found hiding in my car engine that came from across the street. I often wondered of it’s sisters and brothers and decided this one had just taken off one day. Perhaps a cat angel spirit guided NocNoc to my engine compartment?
All I know for sure, I was bugged that day by a feeling I’d better look into the engine before I start the car.
Now there are between 6 and 8 regulars around me who do not stray far, with 4 that hang out under a neighbors mobile and venture over for a meal here. The others I fixed either had homes or colonies to go back to. Most times they live outdoors, in the winter when it’s cold a few will come inside and get warm and cozy. The winters in Arizona are short and usually mild.
I put in a cat door and made a storage room into the cat room for winter, although the room is not heated, the warm beds I provide are sufficient and much better than what shelter they could find on their own. The meanest and toughest of them BigRed began to do belly flops for me as time went on. I was allowed to stroke him at last, but only at dinner time would he trade this favor.
When he first joined us all the other cats hissed at him and he seemed to want to be alpha male. It became apparent 6 toes was his son, due to they were both orange with long hair. 6 toes was here first and soon established alpha male status while his father lay down, belly up in submissive style to be able to stay as #2 dominant male.
This story is about KooKoo though, I should get back to my original inspiration to write this story.
KooKoo had no name. He’d been discovered running under my mobile early on in my adventures of acquiring cats from out of nowhere. His 2 sisters joined him at the time and all I’d caught was a flash of multi-colors scurrying under there.
I’d even had one of my precognitive dreams about these kittens coming. I experienced the same thrill of wonder about how life happens here, and that maybe the circumstances of my becoming a cat caretaker was meant to be, as I saw cats as beautiful and diverse, and like humans in some ways, like children.
I caught the kittens to bring them inside. I figured if I got them friendly like, perhaps I could find a home for them. My house was turned upside down and the potty training was not going well. I had to remove certain furniture and put plastic on my beds. I had mental adjustments to make for certain!
My twin daughters often visit me and one of them was talked into taking KooKoo home with her for a playmate for her other cat. I was ecstatic about it to say the least! I decided the gray and white splotched one would go with Dana. I thought he was very pretty and lively for Dana.
Although Girl, her other cat and KooKoo never did learn to like each other, KooKoo has provided for Dana, I think, a soul growth passageway. There’s good and bad experiences in there, and today I’m going to dwell on the good.
KooKoo and one of his sisters has a fat gene. He has grown fat as has his sister although they receive no more food than any other cat. Fat cats have their own kind of appeal to our family, so no matter about that really, I found it interesting to view the differences in cat metabolism and personality.
KooKoo soon began greeting Dana as she got out of her car. The street is somewhat of a busy suburban street, but he was quite becoming streetwise. Before this incident happened he had disappeared for 8 days and Dana had looked everywhere for him to no avail, finally spotting him in front of a bar receiving a scratch from a passerby. She was driving by when she spotted him, stopped the car and yelled HOLD THAT CAT!
After coming home, somewhat lighter in weight, he was satisfied to stick around the house and of course fixing him helped. Now, several years later, he’s quite large and still just as playful as when a kitten. Dana told me when she takes a shower he pokes around at the curtain while she pokes back. Then he jumps upon the tub and does not mind the water on his face. Finally, since he wouldn’t let her shower in peace she just took the critter into the shower with her! At first he resisted a bit but not as much as you might expect and she soaped him down for the first time in his life ever. Now I’m not sure he will join her in the shower again! As soon as she towel dried him he bounded outside and rolled in the dirt, frankly, just like a dog would. He’s not a normal cat, I think we both agreed.
Dana used to observe that when she took her dog for a walk, KooKoo would follow from a short distance, not knowing that cats are supposed to stay in the yard, aren’t they?
She no longer has her old dog to walk, but it seems KooKoo still wants to go for a walk with Dana.
Dana was walking to the store some blocks away from home one day and turned around and there was KooKoo, following from a distance and playing in the bushes here and there. Dana did not want to return him to lock him in the house as she was nearly to her destination when she discovered him there.
She talked to him as I do to my cats, as if they understand. To our surprise sometimes it seems they do understand what we are saying. She told him to stick beside her since he’d come this far.
When Dana stopped at a busy intersection and looked both way for crossing, lo and behold, KooKoo duplicated her head action, looking both ways the same! He even sat down to do this.
The street was crossed safely. While Dana was telling me this story I was holding my breath, knowing how a cat can do that darting action which cannot be easily seen by a driver. But nothing amiss happened. We later discussed a leash trained cat might be just the thing for the future! I thought a harness would be better, in case the leash hurts the neck in an emergency.
The two of them approached the store Dana was to enter which had a parking lot, KooKoo was busy with a bush a short distance away and Dana thought now was her chance to dart inside, grab her purchase and be back outside before the cat noticed she had disappeared.
KooKoo evidently had lost Dana’s trail or scent however, and now figured he was “lost.”
The purchase taking longer than Dana figured, as she was paying for the item she suddenly heard a tremendous howling from the area of the parking lot and knew it was KooKoo.
Excusing herself she said, I’ll be right back! Entering the parking lot, there in the very center sat KooKoo howling up a storm!
Ceasing the howl upon seeing Dana, he seemed to be able to understand her words; “you stay right there! Don’t you move! I’ll be right back!”
I was thinking…ah…Dana..you might be able to get a dog to stay in one spot, but a cat? KooKoo sidled up to a car bumper and sat down, it seemed he quite understood the situation, that mama would return quickly.
He did not try to follow her in the store. I later thought what I’d have done. I’d have picked up the cat, even though he weighed quite a bit and shoved my money towards the proprietor who would have been protesting the cat’s presence I suspect. However, this cat and this woman have this relationship which seems to be working as the cat did indeed stay right there where it was told to.
The walk home was uneventful, except that KooKoo hid himself from two dogs walking by and stopped once to urinate. KooKoo follows at a distance from Dana, but it still seems like an invisible leash is between them. I wonder if this invisible leash is like the bond of love?
It does seem dangerous to have an outdoor cat in the city, especially a heavily populated city, but there are cats who survive and are streetwise, and these bring pleasure to strangers as well, to see a cat survive those dangers, we are somehow inspired that maybe we too have nine lives? Dana told me this story and it inspired me to write about it. We both have always had animals in our lives, and they come and they go. Each one is special and individual and fill up a hole in our lives to care for them for without being afraid to let them explore the world outside their door, and I'm happy to say KooKoo has moved residences thrice now and basically stays quite close to home..unless Dana goes for a walk that is!