Tabby the stray cat who needed love

Cheryl E Preston
TabbyPhoto byCheryl Preston

An unfriendly cat is becoming tame

About a year ago I noticed some felines running through the ally in back of my house. They were not kittens but neither were they fully grown.They went back and forth pretty often and I assumed they were someone's pets. One of them was an orange tabby that reminded me of my favorite kitten as a teenager. I was 16 when my neighbor's pregnant mama cat showed up at my back door after noise from a tractor frightened her. Several kittens came along and over time she gave birth to more.

One was a cute orange tabby that I named Thomisina based on a The Wonderful World of Disney show The Three Lives of Thomasina. About a month ago when my grandchildren came to visit two stray cats were walking through the yard and they called to them. At first they ran but eventually began coming closer. I advised my grandchildren to be careful because we had no idea if these cats had diseases and they definitely had not had any shots.

Protocol for wild cats

The grandkids left food out for them in the back and they would eat after the children stepped away. One day the orange tabby cat showed up and stood afar off looking and if you got near him he began to growl deep within as if he hated the world. When we moved away he ate the food always looking up as if he were afraid of being attacked. The grandchildren named this cat Tabby and over time he has let down his guard. He now shows up with the other cats first several times a week and now about 5 days out of 7. He runs behind us when we put food and water in the bowls but he no longer growls. Some people say not to feed the cats because they will draw other cats and begin breeding but this is not my current experience.

There are protocols for feeding stray cats that I will abide by and thankfully we see the same three cats and no more. I have a carport in the back and there is a cat bed from another cat we had but these animals sleep in a shed that belongs to a neighbor who works a lot is rarely home and I've never even seen him in the back yard. This seems to be a cat friendly neighborhood because several people who live across the street have cats who look out the windows. There are those who hate cats and don't mind telling you but I enjoy my feline friends.

Tabby purrs a deep meow that's different than the mews of any cat I have ever owned. I am contemplating taking him to the vet to get shots but he will probably never be fully domesticated. This morning he showed up and walked behind me as I took out the trash. He still has a doubtful sneer on his face as if he expects the world to end or perhaps he has been mistreated. Tabby goes up my son whenever he shows up and allows him to rub him but is still skittish around everyone else. Slowly,however he is letting his guard down.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA

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