Who Turned Fauvist Painters Loose at the Creek?

High sun on low water

High sun on low water

We walked through the forest down to the creek in glaring sunlight and, yowie, it looks like Les Fauves have been there, painting over parts of our fall creek scenery. We spooked ’em, they must have dropped loaded brushes and palettes full of paint into the water before vanishing from plein air into thin air. All the great colorists throughout history; Matisse, Derain, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Gauguin, to name a few.

Easy drifting

Easy drifting

Kidding! A big sunsmack did this, on the magic reflecting creek at low water. Roaring rays packing color. All increments and permutations are contained in raw sunlight. Those riffles in the foliage and water, those shifting shadows, the clattering dry leaves? Only a light breeze, and frogs. No one, no ghosts, are here.

Some of us are still up there

Calming sparkle

Working together at the house, Bud the Editing Cat’s got something to say, “Those wild beasts are out there, I hear them and smell them. Just because you have sub-feline sensing mechanisms doesn’t mean the woods aren’t full of beasts.”

Currently colorful

Currently colorful

“You don’t understand, I mean painters …”

Rapids exit

Rapids exit

“Panthers?”

In the southeast US ‘painters’ and ‘panthers’ are old terms for mountain lions The big cats are now generally thought to be absent here.

You wouldn't believe how blue the sky is today

You wouldn’t believe how blue the sky is today

“Well, never mind. Umm, when did you learn French?”

Gathering in the shallows

Gathering in the shallows

Blink blink purrrr. His usual answer.

Splashy pathway

Splashy pathway

We were just leaving

We were just leaves-ing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And what do you know about panthers? They were around before your time.”

Upstream densities

Upstream densities

You are here

You are here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blink blink purrrr.

Bud seems to be an all-knowing old soul.

Leaf jam du jour

Leaf jam du jour

Stony creekbed below

Stony creek bed below

The hues are quieter around Leaf Jam Island.

Jewel tones run in seams

Jewel tones run in seams

Did ghost painters flee to the opposite bank?

Did ghost painters flee to the opposite bank?

Radiance waiting to be caught

Radiance waiting to be caught

Looking sideways from center

Looking sideways from center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the spectrum leaves!

What the spectrum leaves!

There is no photo editing on the creek and forest pictures, but I did enhance Bud’s pic. As chief editor of both word and photo editing, he wasn’t too pleased. During the process he meowed, “Whoa! Such a lead foot on the color pedal! Trying to get back to the 60s, are ya?”

Water circling

Water circling

“Well I made sure you still look like an earth-toned chocolate panther with green eyes. And yeah, maybe I am. Just how do you know about the 60s? You were a kitten in 2001.”

Just for fun

Just for fun

Blink blink purrrr.

Where Bud and I sit, edit, and discuss, autumn seeps slowly into the trees standing just outside the house in the gold October light:

Gold light added to slow fall

Wild Canopy

“And how could I see a mouse move through that mess of color? That’s just not realistic. It’s chromatic dissonance.”

Autumn's stroll

Autumn’s stroll

“How do you know? You have two-color vision! It’s my understanding everything’s there in the photos, a recorded impression of a tonal continuum. You don’t see it until you play with brights, darks, color, and saturation in photo editing.” I try to explain.

Bud, erudite Editing Cat

Bud, erudite Editing Cat

“Dang, girl, I know all that. Let’s get back to reality. I still say there’s something or someone out there.”

“Just purr, Buddy.” This time I’m the one going blink blink.

For more on color in nature and cats, check out this post:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Analysis of Cat, Bird, and Tree Life in a US Neighborhood

Late afternoon with slight sundog

Late afternoon with slight sundog

 

Mimosa gone to seed

Mimosa gone to seed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Mockingbird 2016

Spring Mockingbird 2016

We can see more sky now. There’s a sundog, a light wash of refracted color, in the first photo. We have known one neighborhood a long time. Our late elders moved here, first my Mom, my husband’s parents later. The two households had adjoining yards. We visited with them, watching the fauna. The entire city had a canopy of tall trees; on our block we had oaks, pines, pecans, and a magnolia.

Chirps, tweets, screes, and woodpecker taps sounded from the trees. Glimpses of the singers and tappers flashed high up in the branches, and mockingbirds flitted in the low shrubbery; the yards were always fluttering with birds. Squirrels and chipmunks scrambled everywhere. The bird feeder on the porch at my in-laws’ house stayed busy. Birds and small animals flourished, with cats walking around. I’ve always loved birds and cats and trees.

We saw owned cats roaming, or sitting in their yards, friendly abandoned strays, skittish ferals. Mom began taking in strays and ferals, making them indoor cats. We rehomed the overflow when Mom had enough kitties in house. My husband’s father took in Bud, the cat that now edits for me; Mom took in Bud’s feral momcat Anna, who graces the banner on my website.

Our beloved Budcat

Our beloved Budcat

Still, more cats came. We’d taken in all the unowned friendly ones; owned friendly and feral standoffish kitties were always coming and going. After a few years a neighbor moved in down the street and started TNRing the ferals. Elder care eventually took over our time so we could no longer tame and place cats in homes. Outside cats walked up to the door to peer through the screen at Mom’s cats, and jumped her back fence to sniff her yard. The birds and small animals thrived. We lived there awhile, observing animal life “in the field”, every day. The city also had occasional hawks, owls, raccoons, and possums.

What did flat-line the populations of our charming wild fauna? The EF4 tornado of 2011. Instant deforestation. Every tall tree around us went down. Forest became prairie. One extremely battered pecan tree stood, and revived. Smaller understory trees, along with brushy vegetation, were blasted and scrubbed down, too. A few red tips and mimosas survived. I don’t know if birds were killed or if they knew to fly elsewhere.

Our decision to rebuild meant we stayed present in the half-mile wide track of flat. From our corner of the earth, we saw first-hand what deforestation does. Squirrels and chipmunks and most songbirds were gone. The geese from the lake increased, eating well from the grassy ground. Mice and rat numbers also soared. We saw only a few mockingbirds at first. Deforestation, sudden, natural, instantly witnessed, was the culprit. Human-caused deforestation is in my estimation, the biggest factor in species declines world-wide.

Feral cats were largely unseen for a long time. We saw some dart into the storms drains. They might have hidden amidst the debris, from all the noisy humans and machinery in the streets. Some may have fled the hit zones. Total disruption of neighborhood routine no doubt made them feel unsettled. A tabby cat stopped by we couldn’t approach. We got a quick photo, but he never came back. Cats had been left behind when owners fled wrecked houses that day. Volunteers, and a neighbor a few blocks away quickly began to help with lost, stray, and feral felines. Owners were located when possible, strays were taken in; when the scarce ferals did come back around, they were kept fed.

All remaining trees slowly grew higher, the lone pecan, the smaller “understory” trees, mimosas, red tips; the fig tree we’d had to trim back so we had a path to clear debris, grew tall. Over the last few years the birds have started coming back to the neighborhood! We hear birdsong again. Squirrels are slowly returning as the pecan tree resumes making pecans.

Rufous-sided towhees, male and female, summer 2016

Rufous-sided towhees, male and female, summer 2016

Rufous-sided towhee, male

Rufous-sided towhee, male, summer 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal April 2016

Cardinal April 2016

 

Cardinal, close-up and preening

Cardinal, close-up and preening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love blackbirds! I once wrote an article about grackles that was published by a nature journal.

Blackbirds February, 2016

Blackbirds, February, 2016

Coming back, but still shadows of former vegetation, they carry on:

Reviving pecan tree

Reviving pecan tree

Glorious mimosa, formerly of the understory

Glorious mimosa, formerly of the understory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also have these guys or gals. Maybe three or four ferals, not sure how many lovely cats are out there. We hope to take them all inside one day; you have to start the taming by feeding them. The birds came back stronger when the trees gained altitude. They came to a neighborhood that’s never been without a few outdoor kitties. The birds flourished over the 2016 summer, with the cats there.

Unknown feral becoming friendlier, looking at me straight on

Unknown feral becoming friendlier, looking at me straight on

Ear-tipped unknown feral

Ear-tipped unknown feral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been watching and studying the dynamics of birds, cats, and other animals for many years. I’ve read widely about the fauna in the forest and city, and I know who eats birds and bird eggs. There’s a chapter about this in my now delayed, upcoming book; there will be more of my comparative studies of both small ecosystems in which I’ve lived. I also studied toxoplasmosis and rabies carefully. That’s in my book too!

Y’all can imagine just what I think about the book “Cat Wars” by Peter P. Marra and Chris Santella. I’ll only read it if the library gets it, I won’t support that. All of those studies saying cats kill such and such a number of birds are estimates, extrapolations, speculations. Unsound, imprecise science, to me. Raptors are protected species; some snatch small birds right out of the air. Other birds prey on bird eggs and nestlings. A study of how many birds are taken by other birds would be hard to nail down because the raiding raptors fly off; crow and jay predation takes place in nests high in trees. Public awareness of these incidents may be low because so many take place aloft, and/or shielded by leaves from human witnesses. We no longer talk about the gruesome side of avian activity! No online “buzz”, no “tweets”; though I expect if we could interpret realworld tweets (by birds), we’d find complaints about those freakin’ hawks! I’m also betting any accurate figure of birds taken by birds would be higher than the ‘birds taken by cats’ estimates.

In a variety of places we’ve lived, whenever cats have been few or absent, we’ve seen a spike in rodent numbers. No real surprise there. Rat and mice populations will soar if outdoor cats are ever killed off. Rats are also raiders of bird nests. Where neighborhoods have been leveled, meaning no more cat owners and their cats, rodents have shown up in homes bordering the cleared ground.

I love birds too. Deforestation and habitat loss are the real causes of declining bird numbers, along with other complex human-caused factors. There’s even human destruction of birds in many places for various reasons, one of which is crop consumption, as described in an article in the New York Times, America’s Wildlife Body Count, by Richard Conniff, September 17, 2016. I had trouble posting the link here within the text but it can be looked up. Or check out the first comment below where the link is posted.

I have to ask, why would my conclusions about various neighborhoods be dismissed as anecdotal evidence? I don’t have a degree in science but I’ve been reading and watching thoughtfully, for a long ole time. In essence, I’m out doing field work in two locations. Ornithologists make use of birds counts by amateurs, so why would my seasoned observations not be taken seriously?

http://www.gavan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/birder-and-the-robot-power-and-knowledge-making-in-ornithology.pdf

West Nile Virus almost killed my husband a few years back. Birds are the major reservoir host. Mosquitoes vector the disease to humans, and are also reservoir hosts, but they acquire the infection from birds.

https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/West_Nile_Virus_in_Birds

West Nile is a growing human health threat. Yet we’re not calling for the eradication of all free-flying birds. How horrible that sounds! Say it about all free-roaming cats, and it’s just as chilling.

The complex and IMO incompletely understood and described disease toxoplasmosis often gets tossed into any anti-outdoor-cat discussion without qualification. One fact is, it’s found in mammals other than cats, and in birds:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304401702000341

Cats are easy targets for the convenient blame-another-species approach to saving species. There’s bias at work here. And as much as I always worried about cats, my own indoor cats who may slip out and behave like ferals if captured, my ferals, the cats belonging to others, now I have increased anxiety. I fear that even more antipathy towards kitties may have been awakened by this misplaced blame. Bird advocates need to look at and study big picture dynamics of the natural world – who eats what or whom – along with in-depth study of diseases. Only complete understanding will lead to creating workable advantages for species in decline. People are influenced by what they read online; they need to examine and research extensively. Science reaches knowledge through a multitude of studies, not just a few. Everyone needs to take real and thoughtful notice of what’s going on around them every day. One of the best possible scenarios is when bird groups and cat groups work together. Talking together is best. That’s happened in some places, I hope it spreads and continues.

From Peter J. Wolf on Vox Felina, here’s a well thought out, research-heavy refutation of the book “Cat Wars”.

http://www.voxfelina.com/2016/09/war-is-declared-on-cats/

Link to complete storm story:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/tornado-on-the-ground-tuscaloosa-april-27-2011-3/

Link to return of cats to tornado zone story:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/cats-wander-plains-after-tornado/

Yes, the editor of this piece is a cat but he’s fair-minded and understands that in any scientific investigation, you must gather evidence carefully before you draw and apply far-reaching conclusions. As you can see, this topic doesn’t sit well, he has a look of concern. (In actuality, he heard something outside when the picture was snapped.)

Bud the Editing Cat with a "hmmm" face

Bud the Editing Cat in a “hmmm” moment

 

Posted in Cat Topics, Feral Cats, Nature, Tornadoes | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Autumn Seeping

Forest surprises

Forest surprises, who knew?

Detail of above, getting closer

Detail of above, getting closer

September, in a forest of closely packed trees. Still no large swaths of color. Examining the canopy, I found a strange little place where two tree species converge, branches crossing and interweaving. The pine tree is closest to me, the elm stands back a ways, but not by much. Who knows what else in the way of trees and vines are involved! It makes for odd and beautiful viewing. I can’t see any reds from the ground, until I use zoom, then snap! Cacophony of color. Maybe it’s partly refraction. A zillion pine needles break up the light. The sky’s back there somewhere. Only really bright sunshine brings out the full effect.

Mystery aloft

Mystery aloft

Tiny illuminations

Tiny illuminations

I’m seeing stuff I never saw before. I’m always drawn to incredibly busy visuals that nevertheless have organizational factors. My mind stays occupied, trying to trace out the woody structures and leaf alignments.

Where is this from?

Where are these bold red sparkles from?

Y’all don’t want to know what my feline editor thinks. I didn’t intend to do another tree post. But everyday, every so often, there’s a crescendo of gold light in the air and I have to go out there and see what that radiance does when it hits leaves, wood, and needles. As I type, in October, we finally do have spots of color, diffusing its way. Interstitial glam. We’ll get back to cats, but there will also be other autumn posts. It turns cold before Halloween. We’ll go to the creek, one day soon.

Plain weird

Plain weird

I even got one with a stained glass sort of feel. I have no idea how that happened!

Whoa! Getting wild up here!

Whoa! Getting wild up here!

Meanwhile our September was still mainly green and blue, all spiky, shot through with pine. Some of the mixed media drawings I used to do were like that, full of shiny pine-like lines.

Mixed profusion

Mixed profusion

Dazzler buddies

Dazzler buddies

Celebration

Celebration

Gathering

Gathering

I could swear those are the same cones up there as last year ...

I could swear those are the same cones up there as last year …

Berries mean fall is coming!

Food for the birds!

Food for the birds!

I wonder if I’ll always be able to protect this forest. Part of my reason for posting about it so much is to convince everyone it’s a place of great beauty, worth preserving.

My fuming feline editor, Bud: “What’s with the extreme tree hugging? Do I have to start RAWRING again?” This soft focus picture catches his cattitude, his soft brown fur, and a bit of his green eye color.

Spiffy Editing Cat, Bud

Spiffy Editing Cat, Bud

Posted in Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

August Photon Pounce

Glowing, with slight winds

Canopy ahead

August is no slouch when it comes to special effects, you just gotta hunt for them.

Trees will make use of light, and have fun doing it

Trees will make use of light, and have fun doing it! (There’s photosynthesis, too, I know.)

Bud has stirred and his ears have perked. He says, “Meow! I can help you hunt, just let me out the door. We’ll climb those trees together. I’ll suss out your greens, I’m good at seeing greens and blues. I’ll lead you to the best views. I’ll eat up squirrels and birds. Deal?”

“I can’t be party to that bit about squirrels and especially birds.”

One speck of orange. Very funny, lingering hot summer!

Only one speck of orange so far. Very funny, lingering hot summer! (Kidding! The orange leaf is from last year, leaves aren’t turning here yet.)

“Shoot, girl, you know those raccoons and squirrels and rats are the ones who climb up and eat the birds’ eggs. Hawks, too, they snatch small birds right out of the air. They’re all out there, I smell them, I hear them. I’ll eat ’em up, the rodents, that is. Meow.”

Where are we? Everything looks so big!

Where are we? Everything looks so big!

“I know that about the other predators! Cats don’t actually make much difference in bird populations. Even with our forest predators we have plenty of birds, as you no doubt sense every day. But you’re 15 years old, and I’m well, you know … ”

“Ha, look at what a smooth, muscular jaguar I am!”

budjaguaragain5-copy-001

Bud is an indoor cat, actually.

“You are that.”

Pine goes abstract in the deep, still sky

Pine goes frothy in the bright sky

“C’mon, I could so grip that gnarly-barked pine tree.  Or even that sweetgum. Major traction. Perfect climbing trees.”

A short ways from our usual spot, and even higher up, pine glitters

A short ways from our usual spot, and even higher up, pine glitters

“I know you scent the coyotes and ticks and mosquitoes in the forest. Not safe out there for you, kitten, nice try, though.”

“What!?! Rawr!!”

That's oak with the pine. Trees all close together.

That’s oak with the pine.

“I meant, nothing is safe from you out there. You’re a wildcat! Hunt down an indoor sunny spot and pounce on it. Go to sleep while I bag the pictures. Deal?”

“Well then, purrrr.”

Top of a tulip tree

Top of a tulip tree

It takes a really sunny sky to get enough light on those pine needles to make them stand out. They’re probably over-exposed according to good photographic practice. But I’m looking for things that feel like drawings and paintings. Some of my old drawings were based on pine-like, shining lines. The forest is dense, trees jammed together, so the pine sprays across other leaves, and across the sky, in pictures. These pics need photo editing but there’s no time. Only Bud’s pic was edited, to be closer to his actual brown and white color.

Sweetgum's a star all by itself!

Sweetgum’s a star in itself!

So many aerial pathways to scout ...

So many aerial pathways to scout …

Always a pleasure

Always a pleasure

The main source of almost all scenes here.

The main source of most scenes here.

Big picture view of endless configurations.

Those colors are there, but it took the camera to see them

It takes the camera to sort some of these colors

Feast in the foliage

Feast in the foliage

A still sky runs deep

A still sky runs deep

Endless, glorious, trees

Endless, glorious, trees

Likely overexposed, but I can't resist that glitter!!

Likely overexposed, but I can’t resist that glitter!!

My Editing Cat is waking, so I’d best post before he sees he only has one portrait in this … Summer is not done with us yet. The light has turned fall-golden, but leaves remain green at this date. Even if that changes we’ll be back on a different note, but still using summer shots. Don’t know when. I never do!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Summer Always Slips Away: Forest Edition

Canopy complications

Canopy complications

I’m lost in hot, green, steamy woods. Messy leaf and pine needle tangles that bounce sun around. I don’t even know how I got here; which gaze pathway got me to which photo. I know I stood at some spot in the yard. But when I go back to search out exact views, I can’t always find them.

Pine and sweetgum jamboree

Pine and sweetgum jamboree

Everyone’s looking towards fall and Halloween. Not me. Summer is the only time of year the storms don’t usually spawn tornadoes. A few pack high winds and loads of lightning, though.

OK OK Bud, here you are, with your byline as Editor.

This post edited by: Bud, Editing Cat Extraordinaire

This post edited by: Bud, Editing Cat Extraordinaire

We’re getting close to completing our book project, but Bud cat still fumes every time I dash out because I see the exact glitter I’m looking for through the window. He who has the purest concentration and can lock his gaze on a bug or lizard or an Othercat paragraph, is sputtering, “Dang, girl! We feline editors take in six times the light as y’all humans do and we don’t get distracted every time that light brightens or flickers!”

Long and leafy forest views:

Southeastern sky and forest

Southeastern sky and forest

Birds and squirrels can make their way through

Birds and squirrels can make their way through

The piney edge almost looks like wall paper

The piney edge almost looks like wall paper

Extreme leafy calm

Extreme leafy calm

All of these pictures could use some tweaking in a photo editing program. I like the effects from that, but just can’t do it right now.

The pines are my favorites.

Pine dance

Pine dance

Evershine pine

Evershine pine

Afternoon

Afternoon

The curtain is falling.

Sweetgum in summer

Sweetgum in summer

We’ll see y’all later! Hopefully soon, with pictures of flowers and skies and birds from the summer that will leave us, eventually.

 

Posted in Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Cat Edits Cat Book!

Bud, Suave Editing Cat

Bud, Suave Editing Cat

BudCat and I are about to embark on the largest editing spree we’ve ever tackled. It seems I’ve written far too much for one cat and nature book. I (We) have to boil it down into two books. Bud already knows where he’ll recommend cuts – anything about OTHER cats. He’s deep into editing mode.

Spring posts will just have to wait, except for a few pictures here.

March Forest Just After a Rain

March Forest Just After a Rain

There’s actually a cinder block in this photo that I didn’t see until after I shot the pictures, because moss has crept over it, too.

The book is the story of our own cats, with research into the natural and feline science that relates to my own observations. I really hate to pull it apart by the seams. But the size is just too much to print. So, I’ll make two books. I used to cut up some of my drawings and collage them into new drawings; maybe that works with books, too. Roughly speaking, in the first book I’ll leave our stories, of black cats, tabby cats, feral cats, cats of all descriptions, with a few research highlights. The second book will be the bulk of the cat and animal research, the issues encountered with animal keeping and animal advocacy, and a few ongoing pet stories. Hopefully it will be published not too long after the first book, because it’s really a companion volume.

My co-editor is sleeping on the job:

Bud in Dreamland

Bud in Dreamland

I’ll take this opportunity to put up a few more spring pictures:

The Creek in March, high enough to have turbulence

The creek in March, high enough to have turbulence

The sky's along for the ride

The sky’s along for the ride

Ground level violet action

Ground level violet action

Whoops, he’s up again, looking really alert. He’s fixin’ to smack the stew out of some Othercat sentences with those strong paws. (Rawr!) We’ll we back …

Bud is actually purring in this picture

Bud is actually purring in this picture

Meanwhile, I have a distraction, due to a little refraction. Every afternoon I shoot special effects photos. Refraction – distraction – abstraction. Needs further editing work, which I just can’t do right now. A long-term project!

The nature of light

The nature of light

With this much distraction, Bud likes his chances for pulling off an editorial coup:

Bud is primed to edit

Bud is primed to edit

This two-volume split feels like a set-back, since I thought I was entering the final phase towards publishing. I’m going through a rough patch with the illness and at times I’m not really sure I’ll be able to do the book(s). I still have high hopes though.

These two links are further descriptions of the book:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/announcing-my-cat-book-meowyall-a-feline-centric-memoir/

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/meow-writing-fest-becomes-book-cats-respond-with-purrs-and-trills/

Like us on Facebook! We post lightly, so we won’t flood your news feeds.

 

Posted in Book topics, Cat Topics, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 75 Comments

Cats Wander Plains After Tornado

Madame Curious, feral of flatland. She’s a gorgeously marbled classic tabby:

Madame Curious has bright inquisitive eyes

Madame Curious has bright, inquisitive eyes

Madame Curious was very observant

Madame Curious was very observant

Madame Curious could do the stink-eye

Madame Curious could do the stink-eye

The tall trees all went down in the tornado, on April 27th, 2011 at 5:13 pm. My late Mom’s cat Tiger was terrified; my husband saw him run out of the smashed back rooms, into the debris mass of branches, trunks, and house bits. Details of the tornado story are here:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/tornado-on-the-ground-tuscaloosa-april-27-2011-3/

In the aftermath we, as well as others, looked for cats living in the hit zone. We safe- trapped shy cats, hoping to catch Tiger, a former feral. We homed kitties who had no people, but we never found Tiger. The streets were full of talkative humans and their loud equipment for a long time; most cats only came out in the evening, or at night. I’d watch them come into view under a street-light, dark cat shapes moving quickly, on cat missions.

We still hope to find Tiger. We took care of and cherished Mom’s other two old cats, Anna and Good Old Boy, after she passed. I’d like to care for Tiger for her, too. Here is an old photo of Tiger in her house:

Tiger in Mom's house

Tiger in Mom’s house

I’m usually the only photographer on this website; but in this post, some of my husband’s pictures will be included.

When the downed trees and wrecked structures were cleared away, we were left with plains. Now when the wind gets up it wuthers – blows hard with a low roar – all around the house; there’s not much left to deflect wind. This isn’t the heath, but it feels lonely and vast, so I’m borrowing ‘wuther’.

Cats appeared in daytime once the noise level went down. The feral I named Madame Curious first appeared in autumn of 2012. She ate the food we put out, but wanted nothing to do with us. She was ear-tipped, so someone in the neighborhood had TNRed her.

She slowly became more accustomed to us. She would follow my husband around as he went about rebuilding, meowing advice to him. She came gradually closer and began to chillax up on the scaffolding. Turns out, she knew all about masonry!

Madame Curious keeps a look-out

Madame Curious keeps a look-out

High on her perch, Madame Curious began to watch him through the window.

We could now watch panoramic sunsets:

November of 2014

Sunset November of 2014

Sunset September 2014

Sunset September 2014

So did Madame the feral cat.

She's a watchful kitty, that Madame Curious

Skywatching Madame Curious

In 2014 another feral appeared, a big floofer we have never been able to trap, who must have had an eye injury in the past. Tanya Mikulas, our friend living in the front part of the house, named the black kitty One-Eyed Jack.

He and Madame Curious appeared to know each other. They walked around together and she always led him to the food. He was much more skittish around us than she was.

Jack and Madame Curious

Jack and Madame Curious

He would amble far away to be a panther in the grasslands once he knew I was watching him.

Jack wants no company

Jack wants no company

We used food to entice Madame into the house.

Madame Curious chows down

Madame Curious chows down

Jack saw Madame Curious climbing the scaffolding, so he climbed it too. They’d camp there together, or Jack would watch his pal while she sat inside. But he wouldn’t go into the house himself. Jack went away in the autumn; we know ferals will always wander off, but we were still sad.

Jack on the heights

Jack on the heights

Jack wonders, is she crazy? She walked right in

Jack wonders, is she crazy? She walked right in there

Meanwhile, another kitty came, a handsome feline adolescent who was friendly to humans. In fact, he was all over us any time we encountered him!

Porch Kitty, speaking out!

Porch Kitty, speaking out!

Porch Cat would sit for portraits

Porch Cat would sit for portraits

Madame did not approve of him; picky picky picky girl! Because of her differing reactions to two tomcats, I thought maybe she and Jack went back a long way, or might have been littermates.

Comfortable Porch Cat

Comfortable Porch Cat

Madame Curious, a tad grumpy

Y’all … really!

When he started taking over her spot on the scaffolding, we had to feed the new guy at the front of the house. Somehow we all took to calling him Porch Cat.

Young lounging Porch Cat

Young, friendly Porch Cat

Porch Cat had style!

Porch Cat had style!

Porch Cat wants to enter the residence

Porch Cat wants to enter the residence!

He talked, he lounged about the porch, he came strutting right up to us. He wanted to come inside!

Long-story-short, Tanya worked closely with Madame Curious, and became able to pet her; they bonded strongly and Madame became a contented housecat. She also took in Porch Cat, (who needed no coaxing) and other homeless cats who roamed the wreckage and fields. She and her cats moved away after her graduation.

Jack turns around, rather quickly

Jack turns around, rather quickly

Jack returned late in 2015; he’s again extremely shy, without Madame Curious to mentor him. Here’s a shot of his tail as he turns to walk away from me. Maybe one day he’ll warm up to us; some ferals sweeten; others remain wild, and wander.

I long for the inhabited forest this neighborhood used to be. I hate and fear the slightest whooshing and wuthering of wind. I wish Tiger would come back. It’s the 5th anniversary of the tornado on April 27th. I’m not over it, never will be. Adding to the gloom, April 20th is the 6th anniversary of the Gulf oil deluge.

Bud the Patient Editing Cat

Bud the Patient Editing Cat

Bud the Editing Cat likes the general feline focus, but he’s showing me how this post could be improved by replacing pictures of those other cats with pictures of Bud.

Some excellent photos of the post-tornado zone by our friend Tanya at this link:

2012 Full Moon Emerging Artist Tornado Photo Gallery

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats, Feral Cats, Tornadoes | Tagged , , , , | 79 Comments