A Parade of Cats: Sharing Our Delight with You!
Hello and welcome back to Beginnings, where we talk about Fresh Starts, New Cycles, Exploration, Experimentation and Creativity.
Well, I have a treat for you today! Below I share a story of the furry variety and what we can learn even from the beloved animals among us.
Since coming to a new neighborhood in recent months, we have had the pleasure of making acquaintance with the furry felines that stray about the ‘hood. And it didn’t take long for that to happen. No. As soon as we made our first appearance, so did they. It’s like they owned the place…and I suppose they really believe they do! Ha!
Well, I decided that I just had to share this experience with you, my dear friend and reader! Why keep the delight to myself, right?
Now, below I have shared a summary of sorts of each furry feline we have become acquainted with through conversation, observation and of course, tasty meals of the cat variety plus a bit of human delight as well. Let’s just say that when the communal bowls are filled, we like to refer to our place as The Cat’s Meow where we feature the tasty "fast food" of dry bits in the bowl (or two…), plus some gourmet options of the fish, chicken and beef variety that just hits the kitty spot! (It’s so much fun watching them devour the goodies!)
Due to the nature of the feline stray, it has taken some time to build human-cat trust, so they can be very skittish and run off if we’re not careful. (But they always manage to make their way back…)
I like to talk gently and ask if they’re hungry and looking for some nibble and assure them it’s alright. We’re just here to make sure they have full bellies!
Since they do run off, it has been difficult to visually capture them on camera. We’ve managed to get some video here and there and some photos through the window blind, so if the images aren’t the clearest, you now know why!
I will introduce you to each feline in the order we have come to their acquaintance:
Desperado (Despi for short)
Ah, Desperado! He immediately appeared when we did. Medium black fur with a spot of white on his chest and with dark yellow eyes. Despi (the nickname I use for him that he answers to!), has the look of always being worse for wear. Why? Well, in a word, cat fights! Yes, he seems to draw them unfortunately. He often has wear spots in his fur from being attacked by other male felines, especially Big Tom who I will introduce below. Plus, Despi is a very assertive cat with his loud persistent meowing for attention, affection and food. (We think he might have once been an inside cat…) Now sometimes he can be a real trouble maker, especially with using the immediate lawn as a litter box instead of being more discreet (and more so than the other cats), and even when we scold him for being less than neat about it, he does it anyway. We think he’s marking his territory concerning the other male cats, but he still gets bullied anyway. He recently has been coming and going, rather than sticking around most of the time like he used to, since he’s trying to avoid more trouble. But he still comes for the nibbles! He was our first buddy. So we have a soft spot for him.
What we can learn from Despi: Stay in your own lane and don't try to usurp someone else's spot if you can help it! (and be more civil, especially towards those who help take care of you.)
Mama Oreo with Dancer, Prancer and Vixen
When we first met Mama Oreo, she was a regular companion to Desperado. Black with white tuxedo and boots, I named her Oreo. She is quite the queenly cat in disposition and attitude. After having seen her and feeding her for several weeks, we were met with quite the surprise: three kittens! She brought them up onto the porch in pile and we were delighted to meet them and feed them as well. (You can see them feeding in the video.) Once we found out she was a female and a Mama, we were determined to give her lots of attention, especially when feeding her little ones. (No petting, just food and conversation in gentle tones.)
One day she brought up a small rat ? she killed and brought up to the porch to train her little ones. We got to see them pounce and learn how to handle their prey. She disposed of it later herself.
Her three little ones:
Prancer is a mini me, looking just like Mama Oreo, and the way she walked around, she looked like she was prancing!
Vixen and Dancer were both grey and white, Vixen being much rounder in shape, and Dancer being the runt of the litter with a stub of a tail. Whenever Dancer would walk, he appeared to be dancing. Thus his name.
The little ones are no longer in our vicinity. We hope they went to good homes.
What we can learn from Mama Oreo: You can be Queen and stately in your approach to life, even if you meet with the unexpected.
Shadow appeared from no-where one day all by himself which was quite the surprise since he was just a kitten (still is!). But Mama Oreo soon adopted him so he was like part of her litter. She even let him feed on her. Shadow has made our outdoor patios his regular pad. And since Desperado has been getting into so many fight with Big Tom, he has made himself scarce except when he gets hungry. So Shadow has been making himself the dominant Male (or attempting to!) in our space. Of course, Despi won’t hear of it and puts him in his place with bites and even hissing, even though they’ve been buddies for a while. Shadow is a beautiful kitten, all black with pale green eyes. He is the most energetic of the lot, playing hide and seek and peek-a-boo with Precious (see below), and chasing his own tail. Absolutely adorable. Shadow is our buddy!
What we can learn from Shadow: Seek and you will find. And don't be afraid to assert yourself even if you meet with resistance. Enjoy life to the fullest and have fun!
Princess (Mama) and Precious
The next family of cat includes the Mama Princess, who we had seen before a few times, along with her little one, Precious, who is play buddies with Shadow; they are now regulars at The Cat’s Meow! They look identical to each other, with white and gray coloring, which is so adorable. Sometimes they each come solo and sometimes together. Princess is rather skittish so we have to be very gentle with her and our approach when bringing food. Precious is also skittish but she has a more assertive way about her, less shy than her mom, especially when other cats are around.
It is so much fun watching Precious and Shadow play together. (You can see on the video!) Pouncing, Peek-a-boo, and chasing. Precious is always curious about what Shadow is up to and often follows him, if at a distance.
What we can learn from Princess: Even if you're shy or insecure, you can still get what you need with courage.
What we can learn from Precious: It's fun to make friends and see what they're up to! Seize the moment and don't be afraid to go after what you want.
A Very Pregnant Snow White
Now, Snow White, all white as is obvious, comes from down the street in the other direction. We saw her sitting on the fence two houses down initially. She was not a regular. But in recent weeks (July 2023) she showed up regularly for food as she was VERY PREGNANT. She was so round in the middle, she swayed. So we put food out especially for her during that time. Then once she had her kitties (off site from our space), we continued to feed her until she didn’t come around. (We trust the other neighbor is feeding her). Don’t know if we’ll see her kitties in the neighborhood at some point.
What we can learn from Snow White: Don't have all your eggs in one basket. Sometimes you have to look for what you need.
Ok, Now for BIG TOM. There is only one other cat we’ve seen in the neighborhood who is bigger than Big Tom. He has the widest face, the longest, thickest body, and he is tiger striped with a swirl on the side with white boots. Tom is a handsome cat and he has taken issue with Desperado, who attempts to be the King of the neighborhood and Tom just isn’t having it. So cat fights have ensued. But recently, Despi only comes around for food and then leaves. And whenever he sees Big Tom nearby, his body language goes into high caution, ready for takeoff if necessary!
Interestingly enough, Shadow has been in the process of taking Despi’s place, so he is attempting to assert himself with Big Tom, who actually puts up with a lot of pushing and shoving as Shadow tries to get him away from the feeding dish! (You can watch on the video!)
We gotta give it to Shadow for trying to assert himself and only being a kitten!
What we can learn from Big Tom: Sometimes you have to fight to keep your place and sometimes you give a little, especially with a new comer!
Smokey & Midnight
The final two cats in our Parade are worth mentioning. They’ve been coming around more so of late and we think one might be pregnant and one might have just recently had kittens.
Smokey has been here before when she wasn’t pregnant; gorgeous shiny smoky grey fur with green eyes. Since she’s been back, we’ve noticed her looking heavier, thus suspicions she’ll be Mama Smokey with kitties soon!
Midnight is a very recent arrival, with inky black fur and yellow eyes. We think she might be nursing kittens due to how dominant her feeding area is underneath.
They are both cautious but not overtly skittish, probably because they need to eat for the little ones they carry or they are feeding as well. We always try to put out extra nibbles for the ones with littles! We have a soft spot for the Mama cats around here at The Cat’s Meow!
What we can learn from Smokey: You gotta do what you gotta do!
What we can learn from Midnight: You will always find what you're looking for.
We trust you enjoyed our Parade of Cats as we shared with you our experiences with The Cat's Meow and the furry, fun felines we have had the delight with which we aquaint ourselves! I'm not sure how each of our stray kitties would feel if they knew they were the star of the show...Despi would probably want all the attention. Mama Oreo would be attentive but not looking for glory. Shadow would show you how much fun he has! Princess would probably take a back seat but Precious would be too curious not to check it out alongside Shadow. Snow White wouldn't even know about it at all since she's too busy feeding her littles! Big Tom would be cool and busy eating all the food in the bowl and keeping Despi from taking over the show. As for Smokey and Midnight, they'd be too occupied getting what they need in the moment.
Thanks for reading our fun feline story and have yourself a Furry Nice Day!
Of all the Cats featured here, which one do you identify the most with and why? Which lesson (what we can learn from) resonates most with you and why? If you were a cat, what would be your disposition and what would you look like? Describe this in detail in your journal.
Dawn Herrings is an Artist, Illustrator, Aspiring Musician, and Avid Journal Keeper. She enjoys spending time writing songs, composing for the piano, playing with all kinds of art media, including colored pencils for illustrating, exploring design and textures, having fun creating spreads in her art journal and writing about her day, her dreams and her vision in her journals. Dawn is also Office Manager and partner in business with her husband, Bill, of 33 years.