I was dreaming when the roaring beast came to rest…
My mother was combing my forehead with her tongue. I felt the familiar weightlessness that mother’s attention caused. When I opened my eyes I expected to see my siblings piled on top of me , indeed, cats were above me but none were familiar. The smell of urine hung in the air. Often used to mark territories or signal fertility, this smell was fear. Oddly, there were no fights probably due to a temporary bond against an unknown enemy.
We had been placed in a small holding pen near a brick wall. Fifteen cats of all sizes and ages were inside the 4’x4′ cage. Anxious purring ran like waves through the crowd. There was one person outside. She talked calmly and her voice was gentle.
Missy crouched beside me. Her trembling had stopped when we were reunited. I hoped she wouldn’t notice mine.
Comfort comes in so many forms. For cats, all that’s “familiar” is necessary for balance. Dogs romp happily, obediently at their owners’ heels but for cats, it’s territory first, human companionship, maybe. So when “gentle voiced” stranger opened the cage, I struck out with anger and such force as to offer an opportunity for Missy, a calico kitten and I to escape. We ran together through screeching tires,screams of anger and ,finally to a quiet refuge in a strange “barn”.
What an odd and terrifying world we had entered. How I wished we were still on the farm.
Do-gooders…people who know a better way for animals to live…
I woke up in a cage inside of the belly of a roaring monster. The last thing that I remember is the farmer’s daily offering of milk beside the milking parlor. It was strangely sweeter than I remembered it to be but with a belly full of vermin, I drank it right up. But now, my world was spinning and I felt very ill.
As I got my bearings, I realized that there were other cages which contained other cats, one of which was Missy. She looked so frightened and I was too far from her and separated by metal bars. I yowled in dismay which caused a violent shake of my cage and an increase in my nausea.
At the chance of seeming conceited, I must tell you that I am a magnificent blue-gray specimen. My eyes, the bright yellow color of the field corn kernels which used to pelt us from beneath the silo elevator, but my appearance paled to that of Missy’s. She was the most beautiful shade of golden brown with one distinct white patch between her eyes. She retained the stripes of our wild ancestors and could blend into any hay-field in the sun. We had grown up in the same barnyard born to different mothers. I have loved her as long as I remember. My heart ached as I watched her cower with helplessness and terror. I would not let her down. We were going to survive and we would be together!
They call me Scat. They call many of us by that name but it’s most often meant for me. My story began on a farm. Life was good for a time…
Mice are quite tasty when they are small and I was the best at finding them among the hay stacks. Listening and patience…a rustle, wait for it…a squeak, to the left…my tail often tried to give me away as it twitched with anticipation, but not today. Shadows run along the wall. I cannot really see them. My whiskers bristle and point them out. Every single nerve ending in my body is charged with electricity…waiting…listening…locating the nest.
Then with instinct from my fore-felines, the saber toothed equivalent of perfect killing machines, I pounce!
My belly full and spirits high, I had no idea that this day would be my last in the country.
I have a habit of listening to things. It has made me a “super spy” around the day care since I can tell what the kids are up to with my ears. Silence is the biggest alarm for naughty behavior! Someone has the baby powder behind my living room chair or, in one case, my dog was getting a make over with toothpaste. Listening is a skill that many people lose as they busy themselves about adulthood.
The best listening place is in the forest. I teach my kids to identify birds by their songs. Many years ago, a day care mom stopped me in the grocery store. She said the grandmother of her tots was taking them for a walk and they stopped frequently to comment on the unseen birds. “I hear Mr. Bluejay!” said her youngest. The grandmother knew immediately where that kind of observation had come from. It was so wonderful that the mother let me know the influence I had had.
I’ve become pretty good at sound identifications so therefore this story just may carry a bit more credibility to the reader.
We (my family) and I used to camp at a local ski resort during the summer. The wooded hills and wild areas were plenty there. One evening we were sitting out after dark and heard the strangest “animal sound”. A trilling growl is the closest I can describe it. With that sound came an occasional rustling in the shadows. It went on for about half an hour and was quite unsettling. We knew the sounds of black bears and moose neither applied. I wondered if it was a bobcat. It could have been. Cat was my guess!
A day later, I was home busying myself with supper as my husband watched Animal Planet. I literally dropped a dish in the sink and ran to the TV. That sound! The identical”mystery” sound was playing and it was the sound a cougar makes to keep her young close to her after dark. I watched the remainder of the segment in awe. The fact that I was not watching ,in the first place, made me trust my ears even more. My husband agreed that the sound seemed right to him also. We did not hear it again but since that time I have believed that we had a close encounter with a cougar. (We heard no bobcats at all that season.) My research said that cougars of the Northeastern US were extinct. Environmental police cannot know everything. I have still held on to my belief that cougars DO exist in this area. Yesterday, I found this article online:
Mountain Lion Loose In Greenwich, Conn.
Updated: Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 8:36 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 8:25 AM EDT
GREENWICH, Conn. – Connecticut environmental officials say it appears the big cat that has been spotted roaming the town of Greenwich is a mountain lion.
Department of Environmental Protection officials are basing that conclusion on paw prints and a blurry photo of the animal.
Mountain lions have been declared extinct in this part of the country, but DEP officials say this could be an animal that has been released or escaped from a local handler.
Police say there have been three sightings of the large cat in the last week, the latest on Sunday near the Brunswick School.
A charity walk scheduled at the prep school for the weekend has been moved because of concern for the safety of participants.