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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cool Cats at the Shanty Shack

Shantybellum has been adopted by two feral kitties, who aren't so feral since Elodie, the cat whisperer, worked her magic on them. We saw them last summer when they were just a few weeks old, but couldn't get to them on the other side of the fence before Mama kitty stole them away to unknown places. Three little kitties - a calico, a long-haired gray, and a solid black.

About six months later, Elodie saw Bella, the calico, in the backyard and set a trap.

"Elodie, don't you be catching any cats," Tommy said, "We don't need any cats hanging around here. Besides, I'm a dog person," he added. He was promptly ignored.

She caught the gray first and took it to the vet, Dr. Gregg in Vidalia, to have her spayed. She was such a gorgeous cat, Dr. Gregg found her a home right away.

So then we caught Shanty, the black magic cat, and took him to Dr. Gregg's to be neutered. Next day we got Mama kitty. Off to the vet. No more babies for this tired mama, who had been seen bringing mice to her kittens when they were living in their secret place. Finally, we caught Bella, the calico.

No one wanted the three remaining kitties, so we brought them back, realizing they'd never be tamed, but willing to offer food nonetheless. Elodie started staying outside while they ate from the other side of the yard. Before long, they knew when she called, "Here, kitty, kity!" that meant dinner, and before long they were running at the sound of her voice. She moved the food a little closer. Finally, they agreed to eat right next to her as long as she wouldn't try to touch them.

Then one day, Elodie managed to stroke Bella's back.

"Ooh! That's feels, good," she said. "Could you scratch a little more to the right?"

Before long, Bella was letting Elodie pick her up and snuggle, although Shanty still had his doubts. Finally one day, she caught Shanty off guard and he realized that he might like to spend the rest of his days being fed and massaged. Those two cats can purr louder than the Evinrude we used to use out on the river.

Okay, well, Shanty doesn't like to be held, but he's affectionate to a fault as long as you leave him on the ground. The mama cat has completely disappeared, although Elodie saw her once last week for the first time in several months. She seemed well fed, so we're hoping she's partaking of our thrice and four-times daily feedings.

Oh, and Tommy? He's fallen in love. I think it's safe to say he's a cat person now. A cool cat person.

As much as we'd like to bring them both inside, we know all about the whole cat-allergy problem, so there's no need to get your dander up about cat dander. They're outside cats.

Y'all meet Shanty and Bella.

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