Hi! I'm Janis and I am a retired elementary music teacher. But this blog is not about music and it is not about children. This is a blog about cats — feral cats.

The story begins with my first post—Cassie!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Summer 2007

"The fish are disappearing!" We have a pond in the backyard and it has koi and goldfish in it. We have lost fish for various reasons—didn't make it through exceptionally cold winters, the extreme fall of leaves covering the pond smothered them once, chlorinating them when I forgot to turn off the water, etc. I know, I'm a bad fish mother. But this was early summer and we could see no reason for them to be disappearing.

Then one day, I saw this small, grey and white cat come over our fence. She crept up to the pond and was watching the fish. "Ah ha!" There's the culprit! So I determined that if she's so hungry, I would provide her with food and then she would quit eating my fish.

As soon as I walked out the back door, she bolted and was up and over the fence. Gone! But I still put out some tuna fish on a small plate. Sure enough, the next day, the plate was clean. I watched to see if I could catch her at the pond again but no luck.

We love our backyard and since back then, Don and I were both teachers, we liked to sit outside, eat breakfast and read the paper. One morning, not too long after the "Kitty Sighting," we were outside, drinking coffee and reading the paper, when I noticed some movement along the fence behind some greenery. There she was again, watching us. I very slowly got up and went inside to put some tuna on a plate. I brought it out, set it down slowly and carefully in an area far away from us because she was still watching (she thought we couldn't see her, LOL), and went back to my chair. We sat, frozen, waiting.

And waiting . . . until finally, the little cat started creeping toward the plate. We didn't move. She gobbled up the food and bolted over the fence. I was amazed. She was so pretty but so afraid. But evidently more hungry than afraid.

I named her Silver because of her beautiful pale grey coat. Every living thing must have a name, I think. Even my fish have names. Another story about that some day.

Oh, and speaking of fish, Silver was falsely accused. We found out it was a blue heron eating our koi, our expensive koi! So I got a statue of a blue heron, put it by the pond, and that took care of that! Blue herons are very terratorial, it seems, and must not be very bright.

I continued feeding Silver at random times during the days, weeks, and months, through the summer and fall. I gradually moved the plate closer to where we were sitting if we were outside. We very patiently began making small, slow movements while she was around, like slowly and quietly turning the pages of the newspaper.

Then we began talking softly to each other and pretended to ignore her, just talking out of the sides of our mouths. "Do you see her?" "Yes." "Is she coming?" "Yes, but not very fast." "What else is she doing?" "Nothing." And so on. We lead a very exciting life.

At first, she would jump and run but eventually she became used to our presence. We could talk, turn newspaper pages, open mail, eat a meal but if we made a move to get up, gone with the wind!

Toward the end of the fall as it began to get cooler, I started moving the feeding dish closer and closer to the back door. I'm not sure what I thought I was doing but it just seemed the right thing to do. And she continued to come and eat. She also would just hang out in the backyard, play with things, and stretch out on the grass. Our yard is fenced so I was hoping she felt safe.

But it was getting colder. And I was worried about her. I had figured her to be about 8 months old so she had probably not been outside over a winter. But there was no catching her, that was sure.

What to do?