"Cica" The Wild One

Cica was a tiny brown flash of hunger as she would dart out to grab the turkey left by the ladies at 'Zumbalicious' gym. She lived in the supermarket parking lot after her mother was killed by a car.  Her siblings didn't survive long after their mom had died. That was for the best. Cica ate bugs and roamed away from their nest whimpering for days.

Finally, a little boy saw her. He grabbed her spike of a tail and pulled her towards him. When the boy's mother saw what he was doing, she yelled loudly, "Jasper, leave that kitten alone!."  Well, Jasper knew STOP when he heard it and let go of the kitten's tail with haste .  Cica ran so fast into the bushes, her little heart felt like bursting. Then she ran right into a building.  When she hit the building she saw stars for a few moments. She watched them twinkle and roll all around  her. She was too exhausted to catch them, but put one tired, little paw up in a futile attempt. She never felt the touch of a human hand before. If she wasn't a true feral then, she was now. Not only did this first touch frighten her; it  was downright painful! 

In front of the Zumbalicious classroom there were many humans; mostly small ones with all manners of skin and hair. They saw Cica one evening and cooed "poor little thing... Marquenta, do you have tuna? We need water too."

Because Cica would come only as far as the median that was between the gym and the parking lot, the ladies took to feeding her in two plastic bowls. When they left, she would run out from under the cars in the lot to the tree planted on the median, to the bowl, grab some turkey or tuna and run back under a car tire! 

One day, a new lady joined the zumba class in full anticipation of joyfully shedding years and pounds over the next few months. Instead, as she zumba'd here and zumba'd there to the infectious music in the room, she spied a small gray and gold critter running back and forth from the median out front to the parked cars. The lady couldn't believe that a kitten that small could manuever around the moving vehicles so well.

"What's that?" she yelled as she zumba'd to the front door pointing at Cica.

"Oh, our little kitten. We would've caught her, but nobody can. She is too quick! She's been out there on and off for months. This is the first time we've seen her for weeks."

The quick-thinking lady, who just happened to be an ace animal rescuer, said "I can get that cat".  In a blink of an eye, the lady took some turkey from the dish and made a trail to her lovely new car.

Cica never took her eyes off this creature who was stealing her food. But, Cica noticed she also had more food and it was fresh!  So began the cat and mouse game Cica and the lady played as the women tantalized the kitten with one piece of food tossed closer and closer to her car.

The lady noticed the kitten was shaking. She must be starving, the woman thought.  Cica began to take the food as the lady spoke to her in gentle, soothing tones. A piece was gobbled down, and just a few inches away, another piece would appear.  Cica, not knowing for sure what to do, let her stomach lead the way. She followed the trail . Little by little she found herself at the door of the Mercedes. The woman was still as she watched the tiny kitten take that final leap into the car.

With movements as quick as cat, the lady shut the door and watched as poor Cica flew from window to window, claws out, crying hysterically.

"Looks like ya' got her!" one Zumbalicious lady giggled while rolling her eyes, "Now what!".

The woman gave a knowing smile, "I guess that was the easy part!"  The ladies all helped the woman get into the car, guarding carefully to be sure the kitten stayed put.  All the woman could hear was fsist and HAA! HAA!  from the kitten. These were not messages of joy!

As she drove home, the woman began to smell the poop. It was inevitalble. Some things were just too frightening for some critters.  She smiled, and then laughed! New car, new kitten! A car can always be washed.. but, a kitten.. they are one of the most precious creatures around.

Little did Cica know, Magikys Cigany, Maggie for short; the Abbottsford cat whisperer was her benefactor. Her life on the streets was over.

She was now an Abbottsford Cat.

"Cica, the Wild One"
Photo Art @2011 Kim Yvonne Cady


For Velvet

Jackson Browne, singer/songrwriter extrodanaire, wrote a song called "Song for Adam" a long time ago... the first stanza is:
"Though Adam was a friend of mine, I did not know him well. He was alone into his distance. He was deep into his well. I could guess what he was laughing at, but I couldn't really tell. Now the story's told that Adam jumped, but I've been thinking that he fell."
This weekend I had to put a little feral down. I called him Velvet, and thought he was female for the longest time. This tomcat hung around my deck for many months, with one other feral that I had neutered a ways back. He was a quiet boy, not blustery or full of the dickens as so many intact toms are. He slept occassionally in my "outdoor animal igloo" and came up for dinner almost every night. The funny thing was, he had a collar. So, hoping against hope... I thought when he left my house, he went home. He would never let me near him.
He kept showing up, sometimes dirty, like so many others, revealing that he may be sleeping in the woods behind my house and that the collar only indicated "former" people in his life. This last week was abnormally cold. It was freezing and in the teens. Outdoor kitties have it hard in this weather. They'll go up into cars, and in other dangerous warm places. On Thursday, a very cold night, Velvet came upstairs. I thought it was another feral, "Stumpy", that I had to take to the vet to remove his lacerated tail, (again probably from sleeping in a car - I'd rather think that than that his injury was caused by one of my species). I nursed Stumpy through that, very carefully (as he was pretty fiesty) for three weeks & then he found a way to freedom well on his way to recovery.
It wasn't Stumpy. It was Velvet... limping, tail down, with a very large lacerated testicle. I gasped... and groaned... more vet bills, trapping and long time careful rehab... oh well... The next night Velvet came up, looking worse, and I baited the feral cat trap with tuna. He didn't hesitate to enter. He was trapped in an instant & even with his injuries, made it known he was very unhappy with this turn of events - hissing & spitting with all his little might. Then he settled down. (I'm sure he was in great pain & sick).
Off to the vets for the work... and another huge credit card bill. The next morning, Dr. Judy finally called me at 12 noon. I had been anxiously waiting to hear our course of treatment. Well, there was none. Velvet had a broken tail, no feeling in his rectum, couldn't pee or poop on his own, severe infection, and fever. Even for a fully tame indoor kitty, this was very bad. Dr. Judy told me it would be best for him to be put down and out of his pain. There was no safe recourse.
I hung up & told her I'd call back... I hadn't had to make this sort of decision in a long, long time & felt that I had trapped this little one only to have to kill him. But, after talking with a dear friend, who had recently gone through a similar choice, I realized for Velvet - a life of pain, infection, and misery in the wild because of his paralysis - even if I could get him through a few weeks - was no choice at all. I made the call - and Velvet went over the Rainbow Bridge.
It was hard... friends come & go so quickly through our lives. Some to travel, to distant places, to death... they do go on... somewhere we can't see right now... and our memories of them preserve their spirit here on earth....
So, very much as Jackson Browne so eloquently wrote in "Song for Adam"...
Velvet was a friend of mine - but, I did not know him well.... and as I sit before my only candle, I think of his dark beauty and know he's back there in those woods basking in the warm sun - a spirit cat - and telling me he's alright.
Photo Illustration "Charcey's Eyes"
@2009 Kim Cady