Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Cats just love us; they come from far and wide. That’s the way it is when you own a café. We have three dogs and five cats at home — all rescues of one sort or another. We wasted no time getting each of them fixed. We also have another five cats that have adopted us at the café/store, Mamma and her four children from two different litters. These five guys are as feral as they come and it was no easy feat last year catching them one by one and getting them fixed. We brought each one home to recuperate after their surgery, also with the hope that we could integrate them into our family of five home cats, not that we need more home cats. I felt if we could tame them, we could find each of them a good home. They just weren’t the domestic type it seemed, so after each recovered, we reluctantly released them back at our store/café knowing at least they were neutered and the family could stay together. We have tried to create some warmish places for them to escape winters' freezing embrace and of course they are well fed here. They all seem to be very happy back at the cafe although “Bubba” and “Baby Grays” are the only two that will allow you to sneak a pet in. “Mamma," “Powder” and “Joker” still scatter at the site of us, but over the last two years they don’t run away as fast or as far as they once did, a small sign of trust/recognition that we appreciate.
About four months ago, a new addition showed up, a big golden tabby. Unlike the other ferals, this guy loved to be petted. Sweet and gentle by nature, he quickly adapted to the name, and won the affection of everyone here. Goldie is no kitten, he has a few years on him. I really didn’t see him interact with the five ferals at the store much, he just seemed to wait for us, purring loudly and looking for food and attention. Although bigger than all the other cats, he was quick to give up his bowl in lieu of a fight — I like that quality in a cat!
Thinking he might belong to a neighbor, we’ve been a bit hesitant about having him neutered. About a month ago, he showed up with a hurt paw. At firs t we thought it was broken, and were fearful that Goldie could no longer defend himself. In the evening, I put him in a small kennel in the back seat of my car and brought him to our ranch 13 miles away, to be safe while he healed. I put him in our hogan along with a kitty-litter box and thought we would slowly introduce our cats to him one by one. Well, Goldie didn’t like either of those ideas! Choosing my husband Michaels ski jacket over the kitty box, won him a ticket to the great outdoors sooner than I had hoped for. The big lovable Tom hid under chairs and in the generator shed for a few days. When I could catch a glimpse of him, I could tell he was healing well all on his own. He seemed to be very frightened of our peaceful ranch animals and would disappear for three to four days and then show up again. This went on for about two weeks then Goldie was gone ... My heart broke! We were actually excited about the idea of turning him into our sixth house cat, knowing if he stayed he would be warm and cozy this winter. True, the last thing we needed was another animal in our home. Mind you, they do spend most of their time outside.
This area is full of coyotes, hawks and eagles, there are also mountain lions, bob cats and some lynx. I even saw a black bear a few weeks ago. Its high mountain desert here and some pretty tough terrain. After three weeks and no Goldie sightings, we feared the worst. As you might be able to tell we love animals so it was hard every time I went to work and Goldie wasn’t there sitting on the side porch or pushing his head through the hole in the screen. I felt like I really let him down.
I was scheduled to leave town on a two week buying/vacation trip with my sister and daughter. You can imagine my complete shock and amazement when I received my husband's e-mail announcing that Goldie showed up at our store. In adition to some serious-looking scrapes on his back and eyebrow area, he was hungry but looking good! Now the fastest way from here to there is about 13 miles and beside all the afore mentioned dangers and his paw, this is rattlesnake countryplus he’d have to also cross the Rio Grande River somewhere along the way.
Upon arriving back to work, I was filled with excitement! It was a very happy reunion, seeing Goldie on the side porch rubbing up against the wood railing. The hole in the screen was fixed while I was away, so no more poking his head in, but I do spend more time on the porch these days. Goldie seems to harbor no resentment towards me for the attempted transplant, only love and affection; I adore and admire him for his perseverance and his strong will. How do animals do this and why are we not better at it?
His tenaciousness reminds me of my Peach tree story; see my first blog “Plant it Forward”. This story was just too touching not to share. Next week I will try to share a building project with you, maybe about our Café that we built out of cordwood, so please keep checking back!
Thanks for reading; I’d love to hear from you,
Organic Peddler & Peace of Art Café
Del Norte, Colorado