24 July, 2011

Sunday Morning Magic

This morning a pair of miracles occurred and I was party to them, right on my own front porch.

Briar Rose, you see, has had two suitors hanging around — an orange tom we suspect of being Crispin’s daddy if not Clementine’s, and a huge kinda fluffy black and white tom we think is related to Juniper.

They come up to the yard with her and hang out at the edge of the trees, or in the orange tom’s case, about ten feet away off the porch, and wait for us to put the wet food down. We have spoken kindly to them while petting Briar Rose, and crept back inside to give them a chance to eat, watching as they pondered coming closer.

I’ve gotten ten cats inside and into new homes, and the only reason there are tomcats in that list is that they were less than ten weeks old when I snatched them. I’ve never been able to so much as get within three feet of one of the adult toms. The big guys are wary and wild, and tend to react poorly to the sound of the dogs in the house and the sight of a human coming closer.

Until this morning, when the orange tom stayed right there with Briar Rose while I put down the dry food, and then after I put down the wet food I took a risk and offered him my hand, relaxed, palm up, fingers curled. He sniffed it, and then he headbumped it, and then I ran my hand down his muscly back a couple times and he arched into my touch. He went on to the food and I let him go and saw that the big black and white tom had creeped closer. I offered him my hand and he sniffed, ears dubious, but allowed me to scritch his head before going for the food.

They are skinny, in the way of unneutered feral tomcats who are more concerned, sometimes, with girls in heat than with food. They are covered in scabs, the black and white guy in particular, from contending with other toms for access to the girls. Even if I do get them in, I have no idea what will happen to them — it’s easy, with the help of the internet, to place tiny adorable kittens. I’m not so sure I have faith in the ability of even the internet to find homes for two half-wild toms. But maybe now I can at least get them neutered, let them get some weight on and think less of fighting and incidentally help prevent them from furthering the supply of kittens in the neighborhood.

I’ve never seen a Biblical miracle. No waters ever parted for me and time never stood still. Miracles, in my experience, are little things. This morning, in the dim dawn light, two wild and wary tomcats thanked me for my habit of feeding them by letting me scritch them. It’s enough for me.