Encounter With a Wild Cat

Close Up Stray Cat Eating On The Floor

Looking out my window, I spied a cat tail disappearing under my car! A moment later, the kitty pounced on a lizard sunning itself on the rocks. The lizard escaped, the cat circled back, and I noticed how thin it was.

My apartment complex does not allow outdoor cats. The fact that there was a kitty outside right now meant that either:

A. He had escaped

B. He was a stray that had wandered onto our property

Slowly, I made my way to the sliding glass door and slipped outside. In a high pitched falsetto I called out “kitty kitty kitty” only to have it glance my way and flee for the woods. Definitely stray: no collar, not social, the fur looked matted and dirty.

Next question: What should I do? Leave the cat alone, trusting that it is a natural hunter and will find food during these warm months? Call pet control? (I would feel too guilty that they might put it down). Catch the cat myself and try to find a rescue that would take it in?

Foolishly, I chose the third option. Armed with an old pet carrier, a can of tuna and a blanket I headed over to where the kitty had fled. The brush was thick with prickly blackberry bushes and poison ivy – not at all easy to get through! I left the opened can of stinky fish near a clearing and crouched behind a big pine to wait. Reading my book for about 30 minutes was all it took. The kitty slunk forward, peering warily at my hiding spot. His hunger was stronger than his fear, so he inched up to the can and started eating big gulps of tuna. My plan was to toss the blanket over the cat, wrap it up, and place into the dog carrier.

What actually happened was: the blanket landed on half of the cat, getting tangled in the plants all around. The kitty bolted back into the forest before I could get my arms around him. The only thing I came away with was a bad case of poison ivy on my my ankles!

Occasionally, I will catch a glimmer of fluff on a sunny day down by the rock pile. The cat seems to be putting on weight and has found a place for itself to thrive without human intervention. The lesson from this story: let wildcats roam free.

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