You find what you look for: good or evil, problems or solutions. ~John Marks Templeton
I start most days at 6am stretching out my achy runner’s body. I then pour myself a cup of coffee and for 15 or 20 minutes do some spiritual reading on the sun porch. I’m currently re-reading John M. Templeton’s Worldwide Laws of Life, a thick book of wisdom that helps get me grounded for the day ahead.
This reading session is usually a solitary endeavor, as I awake before my wife and daughter, but these days I have company. Her name is Lexie and she’s a feral cat. Up until a couple of weeks ago, she was living in the wild, caring for her four baby kittens in a small clearing under my neighbor’s backyard pool.
But fearing for their safety—there was a family of raccoons living in a tree no more than 50 feet away—and wanting to help get these cats off the street, my wife ingeniously trapped Lexie and her brood after many days of effort. Two of the new kitties have been placed in a new home, while we’ve taken on two others—bringing our current home cat population to nine.
Lexie may have at one time been a house pet, we can’t be sure. She is small, puny really, possibly as young as one. She’s scrappy, too. Back when she was responsible for feeding her young, we saw her catch birds and chipmunks, and even run down a squirrel that barely managed to escape up a tree.
Her last and possibly only human contact was when she was taken to be spayed right after being trapped. When she arrived back at her new home, she was understandably not too keen on letting us get close to her. For the first few days, she scurried under a chair whenever I entered the room and looked pretty pissed off.
More recently, as I read on the porch, she sits on a cat perch, keeping a close eye on me. She prefers that I watch her from afar, her comfort level extending to about five feet, though two of our cats have gotten close enough to nuzzle up against her—as if they know she’s had a rough past and wanted to welcome her with open paws.
According to an entry in Wikipedia, “Feral cats that are born and living outdoors, without any human contact or care, have been shown to be adoptable and can be tamed by humans.” Time will tell, but I think Lexie is starting to come around.
Last night I was reading in my regular spot and heard a soft rhythmic purring. I looked around for one of our cats but none were there. It was Lexie, lying on the perch with her eyes closed, relaxing for what was probably the first time in a long time.
Do you have feral cats in your neighborhood? To find out how you can help, click on this link for advice from the Humane Society.
This post originally appeared on Elephant Journal.