News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

December 3, 2013

RONN MOTT: Cats, Inc.

I suppose we should give her a cake and a candle, but she would be happier with a handful of “treats” you can find wherever you shop for groceries. I’m talking about the two-year anniversary of the first cat we adopted. If we had known there were going to be more, her name probably would have been different. She was Orange Crush, a small, bedraggled, starving, Golden Tabby female that wandered into our yard a little after Thanksgiving. She had been badly maltreated.

When she tried to meow she growled and when she tried to growl she meowed. It took some time to get that corrected. She was especially afraid of men and me in particular when I wore a baseball cap, or there happened to be a truck visiting the house. For whatever reason, these three things stuck in her mind as bad things. She is still skittish, but now spends much of her time indoors and is beginning to have a normal “cat-human” relationship with us. The day this is being written, she and Magic, our black male, were asleep on the bed with the wife. Cats like the softness and warmth of that situation and it’s as cute as all get out to see it. Happy Anniversary to O.C.

The two boys, Magic and Mellow, have developed distinct personalities. Magic tends to have a “Type A” personality and gets to have his way most of the time. Mellow, as the name would imply, is less assertive and takes things in an easier fashion. Inside the house he’s a loving cat. He sits on the wife’s lap and mine occasionally. He enjoys the attention of the humans in his house. Both male cats like to spend a lot of time outside, but Mellow, being a Golden Tabby, has more fur and takes to the cold better than does Magic. He tends to be a more avid hunter than our other two cats. (The odd mouse that’s left on the doorstep or back door mat is proof positive.)  

One of the tragic situations of loving animals is when there’s little to be done about a bad situation. We have a cat in the area that has been on his own for many a year. There was a house behind us on 6-1/2 Street that has been torn down for more than a year and this poor old cat used to live in the house that is now gone. He has a green collar around his neck, so at one time he belonged to somebody and was looked after. This cat was either left behind when a family moved, or roamed around and got lost. We cannot catch him because he doesn’t trust us, so a neighbor who lives behind us leaves food out for him and we have left our garage door cracked open so when our cats are out at night they can find refuge if needed. The cat with the green collar has found refuge there the last two winters and manages to hang on. We cannot feed him because the garage would soon become a refuge for opossum, raccoons and whatever critter that roams the back yard. And we have seen many.

So, old Green (we have no idea what the people who owned him called him) has a place to get out of the elements and manages to survive. Our cats, O. C., Mellow and Magic are healthy, looked after, and loved. Things are going well for them.

It isn’t easy feeding and taking care of these cats but it is such a pleasure having them show their affection. They managed to get along with last year’s Christmas tree and I hope it will be the same this year. I’m sure if they could talk and understand the holiday, they would wish you, and all of your pets — yes, even the dogs — a very Merry Christmas.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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