Tonight I realized I’ve stopped taking cat photos.
If you follow me on any platform, you see pics of my food, my television shows, my home, and my cats. My whole life has been added to my permanent record thanks to memory features on FB, Google, OneDrive, etc.
I open that link each day, pouring through my memories to remind myself of when I felt happy, brave, safe, and loved. I don’t share memories specifically about me and my wife, but I don’t shy away from memories that mention her or us. I have no desire to forget or erase or minimize our 20+ years. At least not now.
But I searched recent photos for an image of one of the cats to add to this post. Nothing recent. There are four cats here – Walter, Lilly, Merlin, and Archimedes. Arki was fostered by us last spring and Merlin did a little boot camp with our big cats to learn some manners. They are all sweet and hang/interact with me. They pose.
But they aren’t my cats.
I desperately miss my cats. I worry about their development and behaviors. Did this series of unfortunate events traumatize them? Do they feel abandoned? I have zero information.
The batteries in my trail cameras have long since lost their charge, so I can’t see the community colony cats either. A neighbor feeds them twice a day out of her own pocket. She also feeds her own colony, takes care of her ill neighbor, and has our Jennie Jane in a crate waiting for medical care. How can I ask her to add batteries to her list? How long can she keep this up?
I don’t understand how so many cat folx can just throw their hands up helplessly about this situation, then turn to lamenting the scores of homeless cats. Situations like this lead to more homeless cats. Do something before it deteriorates. Say something. You aren’t helpless. Isn’t that exactly what you say to other people?
My four little nibblings (see what I did there?) keep me company. Lilly sleeps in the far corner of the sofa, preferably on a blanket. Walter curls up on the opposite end, sinking slowly into the space between cushion and couch until he’s barely visible.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are in perpetual motion until full stop leads to sudden, deep sleep. The sleep of the not-so-innocent. Sleep on chairs, sofas, cat beds, boxes, foot baths, and counters. Sleep that ends not with yawns and stretches, rather a sudden burst of wakefulness and realization that only galloping to another part of the house will alleviate this feeling.
They come in to wish me a goodnight, in part due to my stature as backup treat dispenser. But they take their leave, returning to their humans.
As they should. Companionable hours during daytimes are not the special moments reserved for family.
My plan is still to return home and reunite with my cats, all of them. No clue what to expect. I’m thinking about installing a cat door to my new bedroom so they can come and go freely.
I’d like to go to Fort Faulsey and change the batteries, but that might hurt too much right now.
We stabilized the colony. No kittens for three years. We fostered over 30 kittens, all of whom found adoptive homes with no returns. Our resident cats have maintained since 2019. That’s all something to be proud of at the end of the day.
Now all I want is to return to my resident cats and take care of my community cat colony. No more fosters. No more cat projects or food drives.
Just companionable hours with my family of cats.
Tomorrow, I’ll begin taking photos again. I don’t want to forget or minimize the kindness and decency of friends who shared their cats affections with me.
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