When a house down the street from us was repossessed, the family of cats that were fed there dispersed themselves around the neighborhood. Several have taken up beneath our house, going in and out through a vent that lost its cover.
First we had Stevens, the white boxer of a cat with a terrible brawling meow, but he comes and goes, fickle. I’ve seen him in other yards on Manzanita Street, sleeping in the sun, his lithe white body hard and dirty.
Next we had Steely Dan, a large gray male that liked to sit on the roof of the garage and root through our vegetable garden, ripping up green beans and puncturing tomatoes.
Mary Agnes Fatima is the latest, a cautious lady with black spots and a large white belly that softly swings like a barrel. I sit on the back stoop and feed her freeze dried chicken bites, luring her in closer and closer with a trail of crumbs and fragments. She will not eat from my hand and if a piece is too close for comfort, she will grab it and run back a few feet.
When she first decided to dash and eat, I was amazed to watch careful Aggie give in so easily, against her better judgement, all in the name of her fifteenth piece of chicken. (She can’t be that hungry by fifteen.) I guess we all have our price and can be compromised.
I could certainly grab the scruff of her neck from a few inches away, but I don’t. Maybe she knows that.