Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cat and the Shed

A feral cat lives under this garden Shed in our front yard.
Snow is falling in sheets in the pre-dawn darkness...large, pure white sparkling sheets. Since it is not too cold, I sit on the front steps, well wrapped up, and watch as Lucky checks out who visited in the night.

I believe we have a feral cat living under the little garden shed. I can't say for sure. I have only seen her once. But judging by the amount of cat prints around the driveway and the shed, she certainly visits often...

This is where Lucky found the trail to come up from the Draw, down behind the pile of Snow.
I saw her one morning, as I stood by one of the front windows, sipping my coffee. She was sitting in Sun's rays, in a golden circle of light, and she was washing herself. It's been a long time since I have seen a Cat really groom herself. I had forgotten how intent they seem upon the act, yet they are instinctively alert to any seeming danger.

She looked like a Coon Cat, but it was difficult to say. She was grey and black, long-haired and large! This was one wild cat who looked as if she had no trouble looking after herself.

There will be much ploughing and shovelling today!
And then the thought struck...perhaps she was so large because she was pregnant? Oh, oh.

Lucky, covered in Snow and looking like a large, furry, white dog, with bits of red hair showing, makes a bee-line to the bottom corner of the shed. Sniffing once, he makes the decision...the Cat was in there!

Stiff-legged, he walks around the shed...and I immediately hear a soft, muffled yelp as he misjudges a Snow drift and falls down into the Draw...

As I come around the corner of the shed, he was already dusting himself off at the bottom of the Draw. It is really dark back there behind the shed and I can't see well, but I know he will find it difficult to come back up from where he's fallen.

It is so very, very DARK in the Draw...
Lucky tries to climb back up over the fallen logs and branches, and quickly gives up. I walk over to another area, further from the shed, where I have some light from the porch. There is an old trail there...I hope Lucky can find it in the dark and the falling Snow.

This whole thing is becoming ludicrous.

I am covered in Snow, it is dark as Hades, and I am becoming aware that it is also cold. It is 5:30 AM...what on Earth am I doing outside in pyjamas, in the Cariboo Winter, trying to coax a Dog back up from a deep, dark Draw?

Oh well. It is where I am at the moment. And the Dog is Lucky...

That Orb is following me around...
He is having trouble traversing the bushy, Branch-strewn area and it is slow going for him. I glance around and am startled to see two golden eyes fixated upon me, from the hole in the Earth around the bottom of the garden shed.

I stare at them, those golden eyes as mesmerizing as the drifting, falling sheets of Snow.

The sound of Lucky clambering about in the Snow falls away, as quick thoughts chase through my mind. Is it a Cat? Are those eyes not too large for just a small Cat? The hairs at the back of my neck begin to rise...and not only because it is cold.

Doubtful, but in the dark?...
Coming back to myself, I find that Lucky has found the trail, not any the worse for wear...and that the smell of Cat has grown intensely for him. I look around and find the eyes no longer there. But Lucky is back to his intense sniffing, where it seems like he wants to snuffle up the contents of whatever it is under the shed.

It is a safe place for a feral Cat to over-Winter. Now that I am back on the safety of the porch, I have found my common sense and courage, and am sure it is a Cat. So close to the house, it is unlikely a predator would bother to dig for this prey, ensconced so cozily in the Earth underneath the little green another measure of safety. I wonder again if she is pregnant.

I go into the house and grab a towel. Our boy Lucky is wet and covered in Snow, with a few scratches here and there, and I want to brush him off before he comes into the house. I brush myself off as well...

Not my photo, but reminiscent of those golden eyes!
Lucky comes to me reluctantly, when I call him. As he trots over, I see those eyes, from underneath the shed, again. I send thoughts of safety and well-being to those wonderful, golden eyes, so much wiser regarding life in the wild, than any I know.

Lucky and I go in, grateful for the warmth. As I sit here, I battle with myself...should I go out with a little food for our feral Cat? I know the feeding wildlife, even if it is a Cat. But there is a Blizzard blowing...

I warm up, my limbs becoming less stiff. I ponder and wonder. I shake my head, knowing what I will do, even as I argue with myself. What if the animal is not a Cat?

A Keeper of Animals
I put finishing touches to a drawing of another face, another unknown somebody to add to the piles of other unknown faces. The face I am finishing at the moment is a gentle one, a youngish lady, a Keeper of Animals. I hear her words, as I stare into her eyes.

She tells me all things, wild and tame, deserve a break now and again. She asks me to put myself in the Animal's place, under a shed, in a Snow Storm, with Snow drifts much higher than a small Animal. She asks me...have I ever known real hunger and thirst? Suddenly, it no longer matters if the Animal is a Cat.

And there is a tin of Tuna in the cupboard...

The Soul-Searcher
I put on the layers of clothing required to go outside in a Snow Storm. I take the bowl of Tuna and, as I step off the porch into the suddenly very deep Snow, I realize I should have worn boots, as the indescribable cold Snow satiates my shoes and feet...

Too late now. My feet are already blocks of Ice, so at least there is no feeling there. I consider it will not take long to place the bowl of Tuna where the Cat will find it easily, but I have not taken into that consideration the quickly falling Snow and how deep it is becoming.

I go around the back of the Shed, where overhanging branches from the Fir Trees keep Snow away. Usually.

It is becoming light now, Dawn has arrived. I place the bowl of Tuna close to the only opening left at the bottom of the Shed...others are completely covered by Snow.

The Judge
I see where Lucky made his mistake in the dark and avoid the area, but as I turn away from placing the bowl of Tuna, Snow is driven by Wind directly into my face. I stumble and fall.

I fly face first into a huge drift of Snow, which also breaks my fall. I have so many layers of clothing on, as I hit the Snow, I hardly feel any pain, but I know it will surely arrive later. Fibromyalgia does not like face plants into Snow in the cold. However, I continue to lie there, catching my bearings.

I wonder how long it would take before I am completely covered in Snow. Not long, I'd wager, since there is at least a foot that has fallen since Lucky and I were first outside. When Snow falls like this in the Cariboo, many things are covered which don't see the light of day until May...

So far, I find lying here in the Snow comfortable, other than freezing feet. As I turn my head to breathe better, I glance over at the bowl...and see a grey Cat head withdrawing back under the Shed, as she sees me moving.

As I stiffly gather myself back up, I am glad I saw her. I am glad, as well, that I braved the Snow and cold and brought her a little sustenance, on a day like this, when she may not be able to go out to hunt for food.

The Nurse
I brush myself off and as quickly as I can (which is rather slow...there is Ice beneath the Snow, and conditions are very slippery) I seek the warmth of the house and hot coffee.

The day has begun with a bang...and it is not even 7 AM yet. Good grief...

As I watch the falling Snow, I wonder what the rest of the day will bring.

If it is up to me, it will be spent with feet propped up in front of the Fireplace and perhaps, drawing another face, another somebody with wisdom to impart...


  1. You crazy nut! Hahaha, you;re as wild as the cat sometimes methinks. But that was a fine thing to do, though generally it isn't a good idea as you said, under the circumstances I heartily agree with your decision to put some food out for the wee thing. Thankfully it WAS a wee thing! You related this adventure so well I actually felt the cold in my face. I hope you are all tucked up now in front of that warm fire. It's time for bed here, and the worst we have is minus two, so compared to you I have no legs to stand on complaining about cold heh. Sending warmth to your sore limbs sweetie xx

  2. I meant to say, the pictures are fascinating! How odd that they keep coming to you like this, some of them look old, from older periods in time I mean. It's a good thing though, I'm sure of that xxx

  3. have i said this before: you write like an angel. not a word did i skip. i knew you would put the tuna fish out. i knew you would....

    marion, your faces are magnificent. they strike me as tribal faces, human but slightly not just human. you seem to do this which a simple flick of a line: a point to the ear, a whish at a nose.

    ah i'm looking at your slideshow as i write this. so reverent.

    with love always

  4. I used to watch Sergeant of the Yukon, and his adventures weren't so exciting as yours. Makes me glad I live far south of you and in a city that knows not mountain lions. The photos are lovely though. You're surely a Jack London fan, aren't you?

  5. what a lovely story. so glad you fed the cat. so glad you got up and did not keep lying in the snow. your faces so powerful. like a Tarot deck.

    hugs, suki

  6. Marion,
    I am so glad you fed the cat, I knew you would :-). Your people you draw are kind like you. Have a wonderful week and stay warm.

  7. Marion,
    I am so glad you fed the cat, I knew you would :-). Your people you draw are kind like you. Have a wonderful week and stay warm.

  8. I love how your wild neighbors have found a feeling of safety around your house. They know you are not a threat. What wonderful energy you all exude - even Lucky!

    If you visit my blog post before the heart-butt picture, you'll see some cute rottie faces - all Ruby :-)

  9. thank you for feeding the cat. i hope you are well and cozy now :) and i am loving all the photos of the drawings you did. amazing! it would so cool to meet them in person!

  10. There is an enchanted forest feel to your snowy white captures in the early morning. Brave of you to venture out in that kind of weather. But you painted interesting pictures of your dilemma when trying to give an animal in the wild a helping hand. I also enjoyed your sketches, Marion. These appealing faces seem a touch ethereal. :)

  11. I'm with you and your guide ... we shouldn't stand by and do nothing while any living creature suffers. Not if there is something we CAN do.

    Enjoyed coming along with you on this adventure.

  12. Ah soon as I saw the title of your post....I could feel the tears well up...but....I read on... I felt the snow, the cold, Lucky's emotions.... the cat's emotions...the pain as you fell onto the icy snow... I KNEW you were going to make it out to the shed and leave that tuna for the Furry Grey One! You are one very brave, very sweet, very wise and wonderful woman....

    I am still teary-eyed....but they are happy tears... you truly have a bond with the Natural World....I just adore you!

    Warm hugs to you, Lucky and blow Mr. Grey Kitty a kiss when you see him again.


    ♥ Robin ♥

  13. I'm so glad you fed the cat, but please put on boots the next time! I loved this post and was waiting with baited breath to see if you would feed poor kitty - I'm glad you did but also hope that she isn't pregnant. poor little beasts out there in the snow.
    We have NO snow this year and I miss the softness and dark and peace of a big storm. That said, I don't miss shoveling, driving in it, slipping and boots.

  14. Marion, I think there's some magic at work, here I am reclining upon my sheet of white cotton, a black cat running her pink tongue upon her paw pads and the words and music of Kate Bush's 50 words for snow cd playing in my ear ... number 43 on her list is deep and hidden*!*

    Wonderful characters you are bringing to life on your pad, I think they were guiding you back into the warmth of your home after your tumble ...

  15. So glad you fed the cat. One never knows what guises a spirit will take, I am fascinated with your faces. Some of them look so familiar!

  16. In our local paper (the one in Bellingham) I read an article that animal control is going to know locations of feral cats, capturing them in live traps, fixing them, and then releasing them back to their living location. The theory is that they will be healthier because the size of the group will reduce over time and the cats will have more food available. - Margy

  17. All Consuming,

    I've heard the weather in Eastern Europe is pretty drastically cold right now. I was thinking of you and hoping it wasn't the case in the UK...but minus two is rather cold with the more humid weather...I find when I go to the coast, in the rainy climate, if the temps are below 0 degrees, it feels colder than here where the climate is so dry.

    I'm glad I fed the cat, as well. I think she/he may be becoming a little more approachable since then.

    The drawings seem so strange to me, Michelle! They each have things to tell me as I draw, about themselves and about me. I could not stop drawing on the Soul Searcher...he kept me mesmerized. I felt huge sadness as I drew him.

    I THINK it's good, haha!! xx


    I knew I'd feed the cat as well...I don't know why I wasted all that time on myself debating the whole thing, haha!!

    I have stopped wondering why the faces look the way they do, rather odd, almost human. I do know, though, that I can't seem to draw the faces I want to draw...something else takes over when I try to draw a family member, for instance. The face turns out to be someone else entirely.

    Ah well. It'll all come out in the wash, I suppose, at some point. xx

  18. Snowbrush,

    Ahhh. The Sergeant of the Yukon! Haha...I am a great Jack London fan and should reread his books right's been a long time! My adventures pale alongside his, though. xx


    Thanks so much, Suki dear! What a great idea! I've thought I might like to write about each face, the stories behind the facade. The pile of faces will go somewhere, I feel oddly sure of that! xx

    Annie Coe,

    I've not posted the ones that don't seem so kind. There are some angry ones, some really ugly ones, one that seems really evil to me...

    It is odd how people react to these faces...each one tells someone a different tale then they do me, it seems. Graham had a real aversion to one, who I thought was stern, but not really bad, as he thought. Interesting! xx

  19. Rottrover,

    I saw the ones of Ruby, and I go to your site quite often, just to see the faces. Nate looked so much like your dogs, especially when younger. It really makes me think he might have had some rottie in him..

    I really try to keep the energy clear and good around the area and the Trees, of course, help immensely in creating that feel. Yesterday, a Deer stood by the bottom gate for a whole afternoon. She and Lucky communed, Lucky a few yards away. I see some quite odd behaviour from the wild and domesticated on a regular basis...I feel so grateful for that! xx


    I hope they all have bodies, when I meet them, haha! I wonder if their bodies suit their faces...xx

    Aka Penelope,

    Ethereal...I love that word! Yes, it even feels that way when I draw them!

    The porch light only reaches a small distance into that incredible early morning darkness...any rustlings I hear in the draw during that time make me scurry back into the house! This morning was the exception. xx

  20. Stubblejumper's Cafe,

    I want to help all the animals here in the Winter. I must make sure I don't interfere too much, though...and that's a hard thing for me to do, sometimes! haha xx


    Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Robin, you are so delightful! I thought of you as I wrote this post and knew you would go and feed The Grey were my inspiration! xx


    Graham was still asleep and I didn't want to go rummaging around in the bedroom for my boots. I forgot there were some in the mud room, haha! Usually, the Snow is hard and icy, packed down, so shoes are ok, but it had snowed SO much since my first foray.

    The other day, I went out and wondered why my Lilac bush was so short. It took me a minute to realize I was walking on two feet of packed Snow and I was more level with the top of the Lilac. Interesting how the landscape changes when there is so much Snow for months on forgets what it looks like without the cover of white...xx

  21. Bimbimbie,

    Ah, you and I must have been connected that morning. Lying on a white sheet with a black cat listening to wonderful music sounds better to me than a cold trip outside during a Snow Storm, however! haha...want to trade places? xx


    I mentioned above how people see something in these drawings which remind them of someone or maybe something inside of themselves. I find that SO amazing...facets I didn't see suddenly become apparent when someone has a different reaction to them than I did.

    I'm wondering if this is turning into an obsession. Oh well. haha xx

    Powell River Books,

    I wonder if it will work. In cities, I imagine the amount of feral cats could be a huge problem. Where I live, in such a huge wild area, there are many people who still drop off their pets...along with their offspring, should they have any.

    There were at least three feral cats here when we moved in...they moved on when they discovered we had dogs.

    I do like the fact that cats around here take care of any packrat problems...and because of Lucky, they stay away from the bird feeder. My feeding the Grey One was just a small gesture of thanks, haha!

    Lucky was sniffing hard at one of the openings yesterday, and I saw a paw reach out towards him. That act by the Cat completely freaked our Lucky out!!! heehee xx

  22. you live in a paradise <3 lv it here ,, Tohi ,another 28 yr old friend of Bill's <3

  23. What a wonderful tale and the moreso because it is your true story. I'm very glad you fed kitty. I hope your pain later was not too bad or longlasting.

  24. You softie, you! I'm with the others, so happy that you fed that kitty. Poor thing, making life the best she can in the Cariboo.

    Bless you marion! And I didn't know you drew! What wonderful faces, so full of soul.

    I hope you didn't ache too much the following day.