Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ongoing Feral Saga

her Highness, Lady Pearl

Ongoing Feral Saga

The Ferals are an ongoing tale of Sorrow  and Delight. 

The sorrow, of course, is when one disappears and you never know what happened to them.  Also, often I’ll see a cat with a freshly-killed bird in its mouth.  I’m glad they are eating well, but I love birds and am sorrowful for them.

But not all cats are good hunters.  Just the other day I saw Zeena looking very unhappy at a slow-moving spot in the road.  I walked quietly over to where she was and saw that there was a mole creeping towards Zeena.  She was scared of it and was backing away.  The mole, being blind, had no idea it was going right towards a terrifying predator.  Zeena, however, was no threat to this mole. He calmly kept up his pace until he reached the side of the road and got lost in the tall grass.  Zeena just looked at me and cried.  Then she took off in the other direction, just in case the mole might change his mind and come back.

I feed the Ferals twice a day, between 7 and 8 o’clock.  Every morning and night, they get fed.  They are pretty much used to it by now and are usually hanging out in the front yard, waiting for me to dish out the goodies.  I do a quick head count and then leave out one more pile of food than there are cats.  That way there is little waste.  But sometimes a cat will be busy elsewhere and get to the yard too late.

I don’t want to be running outside to feed them every ten minutes, so I would prefer it if they would show up on time for dinner.  But how to insure that everyone knows it's feeding time?

Then it occurred to me that I needed to call them to dinner.  I looked around and found an old bell, the kind that hotels used to use.   You hit it on the top and it dings rather loudly.  

I started ringing the bell once when I get to the porch to gather up the food.  Then after I have dished up all the food and am about to go out in the yard to give it to them, I hit the bell twice more.  It Works!  When I first hit the bell, cats come running from all corners of the mobile home park.  By the time I get to the yard, I can get an accurate reading of how many cats get fed that particular feeding time.

But the other day, I was inside when I heard the bell ring.  Curious, I went out to see what it was.  Lo, there was a cat (Pearl ,I think), sitting on the gate, reaching over with her paw to hit the dinner bell.

Yes, they did get an extra treat that day – but then I moved the bell to another, less accessible, location.