I have heard about feral cats, and I think I almost was one.  

I was a pound and a half and barely weaned when I was dumped on a busy road and told to take care of myself. If I had done that and set up a life for myself on the street without human contact, I would have been labeled a feral cat. I would have avoided humans like the plague and acted wild when approached.

Lucky for me that a lovely lady spotted me diving into the wet weeds and never gave up until she coaxed me out of my hiding place. She already had a Maine Coon at home who might have eaten me as an appetizer. Since she couldn’t realistically add me to her household, she found a home for me with one of her neighbors.  This neighbor was an empty-nester who had recently become a widow. I checked her out and agreed to be adopted. We became known as “The Orphan and the Widow.” Notice that I get top billing.

TESS was not so lucky. She wandered about, seeking food, and ended up joining a colony of other destitute cats who gathered at the back of a gas station, scrambling for scraps of food. A cat-friendly human started feeding the colony regularly, and Tess scampered out, tail held high, to welcome the meal-giver with a cascade of meows.

The meal-giver named her Tiny Tim, not knowing her gender. His wife, however, recognized a fellow female, even if she was a scrawny grey tabby. Tiny Tim became Tess, in memory of Dick Tracy’s comic book girlfriend Tess Trueheart.

Tess agreed to leave her feral friends at the gas station for life on the farm with humans. Today she is a lovely, plump gentle kitty who is still the first at the door to greet her human staff with a welcoming meow.

Zoe was also a feral cat, but so tiny that she was knocked out of the way by the bigger cats when the meal-giver came with food.  She seemed destined for starvation until the human spotted her dilemma and decided to try a rescue. She was taken home to his farm and given barn space with Tess for an adjustment period. A large screen at the door allowed both to see outside but not to make an escape.

Zoe, the scrappy one, felt hemmed in and started climbing the screen looking for an exit. Somehow her hind foot caught in the door hinge, and she was soon hanging upside down. Thankfully her cry for help was loud and pitiful.

X-rays at the Vet showed a crushed foot. Her ordeal and treatment were commemorated in a poem, still on display at the Vet’s office. It is titled, “Ouchy” and reads:

 “That Zoe is certainly a cute little squirt

Wouldn’t ya know she went and got hurt,

 She once rushed to greet us at the door

Poor little thing can’t do that anymore.

She now sports a bulky orange leg cast

Her doctor said six weeks it would last.

 A big blue collar on her neck doth wear

Keeps her from chewing here and there.

To play and hop becomes quite a chore,

She cuddles and emanates purrs galore.

 This frisky kitten exhibits a lot of moxie

Continuing to poop and pee in her boxy.

 Zoe’s still adorable and has made a case

She has earned a handicap parking space.”

P.S.  You can see a recent picture of Zoe and Tess on my Facebook page, Cally Tales.

Cally Tales in its entirety is available at Reigning Cats and Dogs on Davis Street in Culpeper.

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