What difference does the life of one stray cat make, or even the lives of two? We have been mulling that, owing to the entrance of two wild orange cats in our lives and then, lately, their exit to limbo.
We met these siblings last winter. They seemed to have been born outdoors not long before, almost as new to the world as they were to ours. They came out of the drifting snow in Three Springs, where we would go walking with a border collie. They were wary of us at first, but since we seemed to be the only other things astir in that white world, they made the first move. The female has a bobtail. The male, a little larger, has a nice long tail; it was he who approached the dog.
The collie initially was confused. He thought cats needed to be chased, like prairie dogs – until that day, when he stood still as he could as Brother Cat extended a paw to his snout. And then they touched noses, and presto, they were friends.
As winter turned to spring, we spent considerable time together. We would sometimes sit on a stone wall for a few minutes as it warmed in the sun. The cats felt safe then.
They were not. There were people who wanted them removed, as feral menaces, pests – to which we could only respond, “You wouldn’t say that if you knew them.” We never stopped marveling at how they made friends, with humans like ourselves and with a dog like Charlie, the collie. They had every reason to be wary of other animals, but their curiosity was stronger. You have to admire that.
Mostly, we walked together, a little inter-species parade. You build the world a stone at a time, although you know you will never finish.
Then, one morning, the male was nowhere to be seen. A week went by. His sister would walk with us and look for him, making her distinct summoning-brother call across open marsh. But he did not answer.
We had written about the cats several times before we were contacted by local women who made it their business to rescue feral cats. We had not wanted to interfere, to get involved, but we feared Brother Cat had been hit by a car or snatched by a coyote, so we helped the women locate and trap Sister. They took her to be fixed and fostered.
A few days later, Brother reappeared. As much as we delighted in having him back, we knew he would be safer with his sister. He was not going to make it easy to be rescued, but he trusted us, and one day we sat with him on a rock and picked him up and told him this was going to be OK, before we deposited him in a cat carrier, with the rescuers waiting nearby. In his struggle, he bloodied his nose. We looked at him through the grate before they took him away and, even with blood on his face, going who knew where, he was unbowed.
He is a wonderful cat.
In ancient Jewish writing on the law, there is an intriguing passage that ultimately influences many of the world’s religions. Adam, it says, was created singly to teach us that whoever destroys a single life destroys the world – and whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.
Now, the siblings are both fixed and reunited. But they need a permanent home together. We suspect they might enjoy living with the right dog, too.
If you want to take the biggest step in this rescue and adopt them, drop us a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will see what we can work out. We could even bring the collie to visit. He’d like that, too.