Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Handsome Returns!

I was so excited yesterday during the noon feeding of the colony. Handsome is back! He's still limping, but seems to be better. He was putting some weight onto the injured foot, not trying to hop about on three legs like before.  Also, he seemed more confident. He was still avoiding the larger and younger males, but
wasn't cringing away when anyone approached. He was confident enough to walk straight up to a feeding dish and start eating, and didn't shrink away when one of the females joined him at the same feeding station. Raven, one of the bigger and younger males, a beautiful solid black creature, just ignored Handsome, which is good. The first day of Handsome's wounded paw, Raven was being aggressive toward the older guy, holding him down in a dominance display. That seems to be over for now, thank goodness. I worry that, as he grows weaker and older Handsome will be driven away from the colony. Thankfully, not today.

Seven of the eight showed up for yesterday's feeding:  a good turnout. Skitter was the only fellow missing in action. I won't worry about that too much unless I don't see him for a couple of days. Skitter is the biggest and strongest of the males, and, sadly, he's "intact", as they say, as well. We've never been able to trap him; he's far too savvy for that. He's a stunningly beautiful ginger shorthair, also with light coloured eyes that "weep" fairly constantly. I'm pretty certain Handsome is his father.
He got his name, Skitter, about five years ago when he was just a kitten. That was the last year we had kittens, thanks to the Trap-Neuter-Return program spearheaded by our then neighbor Laura. That was also the year the spousal unit and I started feeding the colony regularly, just as we do our indoor cats. It was a beautiful crop of kittens, born under our deck.  The bravest and most inquisitive was Miss Kitty, a lovely, siamese shaped black beauty, who turned out to be a boy, not a Miss, but the name has stuck. Every morning, when I would open the front door, Miss Kitty would lead her litter mates around from the back, and very clearly ask for food. She soon had me trained to put down a plate of food by the front door each morning.

After putting down the food, I would step back inside, and watch through the screen as the little family came for their breakfast. Sktter was the most shy of the bunch, and would "skitter away", back around to the back yard and the safety of underneath the deck, at the slightest movement, the slightest noise. And so he became Skitter to us. Who knew he would grow up into such a fierce tomcat, so protective of his litter mates, and the others who joined them to form the colony?


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