On Sunday morning Jim and I looked out the kitchen window and, in the classic double-take, looked again.
Willis the Cat was seen communing, almost nose to nose, with a small grey kitten-kind.
"Maybe," I said, none too hopefully, " Just maybe, it will go away."
Not a chance.
The kitten was spotted over the next days loitering warily at the door of the woodshed, whisking into the unwelcoming spidery murk whenever a human footfall approached.
We set out food and water--of course we did.
Last evening at 10 PM as I carried out cucumber peels and bean snippings from the days' canning, there sat the kitten.
A plaintive "mew" was uttered, a sort of query, I thought.
I put down the dish of vegetable scraps destined for the compost pile and "mewed" back. The kitten retreated into the gloom of the wood shed, but immediately reappeared to linger
in the yellow circle cast by the yard light.
I brought out a tin of cat food [Fancy Feast Chunky Chicken] and shoved a saucer full toward the kitten. It darted forth, snatched a mouthful and dashed into the shed. Settling on my haunches I made encouraging sounds ["Nice kitten, here, kitty, kitty, mew."]
There ensued 45 minutes of coaxings [me]
advance and retreat-snatch chunky chicken--dash off--"mew, mew." [kitten].
The night air was cooler than the steamy kitchen; nocturnal sounds of insects and a sleepy whip-poor-will rested softly on my ears. The kitten flung itself down a mere two feet away, rolled,
flexed small white-toed paws. It purred.
Still, whenever I moved a gentle hand in its direction our tentative rapport was broken. My efforts at winning the kitten's trust came to an end when a voice from the back door testily informed me that it was now 11:30 PM.
The woodshed doorway was first on my morning tour of the yard. A few moments of conversational "mewing" suggested that I was getting no farther in wooing the kitten--who by now had been identified as "he." I dragged the hav-a-hart trap from the barn, Jim baited it and we stood by frustrated as the kitten dashed in and out with impunity. Finally Jim was able to snap the door shut.
Kitten had a few berserk moments, bashing his nose on the bars. Jim put on heavy gloves [we've done this drill before!] and removed the small feline. Jim soothed him while I set up a roomy cage beside my desk, then I risked a cuddle with him while the neccessities of life were arranged.
A few days of 'socializing" should see him ready to enjoy life with the yard cats.
His name? He hasn't revealed that yet. [Unlike a certain well-known stripey fellow who rode in on a 4-wheeler, dismounted and drawled, "Hello--the name's Willis."
Meanwhile--anyone out there who speaks "cat" well enough to offer help in preparing a NO VACANCY sign?