Technically the cat who woke me up this morning, in the still dark hour of 6:30am, isn’t feral—it was Jack, my fuzzy companion of six years. When he gets hungry and decides it’s time for breakfast he tears up paper, generally from books. Given that I’m a doctoral candidate in literature, there’s a lot of it about. I have various methods for dealing with this, starting with distracting him—sometimes he’ll then jump up on the bed and curl up with me and we can sleep ‘til the alarm goes off. This time, however, while I tried to get him to stop destroying things, without having to leave the warm cocoon of my bed, I heard yowling and howling.
Clearly this noise was not coming from my cats, but it was quite loud. It’s not frigidly cold here—after all I live in a dessert—but it’s cold enough that my windows were shut. All the same, I quite clearly heard angry cat voices. So I hopped out of my oh-so-comfy bed and went out on my balcony to see what I could see. Unfortunately, while I could still hear the howling, I couldn’t see a thing.
So, despite the early hour, the darkened morning, and my desire to return to sleep, I pulled on shoes and a sweatshirt and jogged outside and down three flights of stairs. I wanted to know what was going on, if anyone was hurt, and that sort of thing. No cats (angry or otherwise) were visible in my building’s courtyard, so I moved into the next.
I only saw one of what had to have been two culprits. A large, orange tabby stood in the space between the two halves of the next-door building. Upon seeing me he turned and trotted off towards the parking lot.
Wait, a large orange tabby? Who was this?
There are only four orange cats who have been part of this here blog. First was Bozo, also known as Waffles, who, as you’ll probably recall, had to be put to sleep a while ago, following an injury to his mouth that became infected, keeping him from eating, all atop his FIV/FLeuk status. Second was Gandolf, also known as Skinny Kitty. It turned out that he, too, was not feral, and was rapidly losing weight due to diabetes. My one-time-neighbor took care of him, giving him daily insulin shots. She and her family recently moved a few blocks away into a house, and she took Gandolf with him. Third is Walsingham, a young feral who is fairly large but not quite filled out, and has a whole bunch of white on his legs and belly. And finally, Sam, who became Whiskey, who was a kitten that I took in for a few days and rapidly adopted out to a neighbor. He’s been around a lot lately (with a collar on—he’s become indoor/outdoor. I’m not entirely okay with that, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, Sam/Whiskey is still pretty small, but has a tail that’s so long and fluffy that it makes him twice his size.
This was not any of those orange cats.
So who is it? Well, there are three options, as far as I can tell.
First, he might be an indoor/outdoor who belongs to someone in the apartment complex. There are a lot of indoor/outdoor kitties around, which is strange to me, given that the complex houses a feral colony, but who am I to comment?
Second, he may have recently joined the colony and I just hadn’t noticed him. This seems unlikely, however—why would I have never seen him before? And why would the colony have accepted a grown cat?
Third, he may have been trying to join the colony (which is to say get to their food) and was being kept out. From what I understand about feral colonies, this seems likely—cats being territorial.
Anyway, the answer is unclear and will require more investigation. More information as I (if I) find it