Madame Curious, feral of flatland. She’s a gorgeously marbled classic tabby:
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:
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:
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!
High on her perch, Madame Curious began to watch him through the window.
We could now watch panoramic sunsets:
So did Madame the feral cat.
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.
He would amble far away to be a panther in the grasslands once he knew I was watching him.
We used food to entice Madame into the house.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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 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: