This Saturday, we drove to the mountains for a hike and took some time to sit and relax in a picnic area. That’s when we saw yet another wild cat, somewhat like my tortoise shell feral rescue, except you could count the ridges of her spine along her back. I recognized the hunger-fear in her eyes. That not knowing if I will eat today look is not one easily forgotten once you have witnessed it.
How did she get all the way up here? Was she dropped off as a kitten or is she the offspring of another cat abandoned in the park long ago? The answer didn’t matter. At that moment when her eyes met mine, all that mattered was that she was starving to death. I chose to acknowledge her and look at her instead of looking away. I was so happy I had packed some salmon patties. When I began tossing pieces to her, she raised her head savoring the unknown, but delectable aromas. She gathered her courage to come forward, but ran under the safety of the rhododendron bushes to eat.
As we were driving away, she showed herself again as if to say thank you. I gave Blair the last big salmon pattie to toss out to her. She quickly snatched it up. It was as big as her head. She took off prancing, her head held high with her prize, a proud huntress. We knew she was probably taking it back to her babies. Female feral cats are almost always either pregnant or trying to feed their kittens.
Today, we watched a wild one beat the odds. Today, our hearts connected to one of those unable to speak for themselves. Today her story is shared and her life matters.