A Cat’s Tail

The cat appeared sometime last fall, and suddenly became part of the fauna of the neighborhood. It was unusual in that it was a long-haired black and white cat yet, at first glance, appeared feral, fearing the approach of all humans. Still the cat didn’t seem inclined to leave, either.

As the days grew chillier, marching inexorably into winter’s blustery days, the cat remained. She would be seen intermittently at our water feature, lapping up fresh water. Always cautious, she’d first check out her surroundings to assure herself of her safety, drink a little, look around again, lap up some more water, repeating the process until she was sated.

As one month rolled into the next, the next door neighbor provided some shelter and a bit of food. So did I…just a handful of kibble placed on the path between our houses if the cat was hunkered down under a bush in the sun-warmed mulch.

At first, Rob and I named it Gallagher’s Cat after our neighbors as we really didn’t want to take ownership. Eventually we shortened it to Gallagher. Our neighbor named the cat Doris once he determined that the cat was female.

Our own cat, Flash, constantly watched Gallagher from the safety of indoors, staring out the window, determined to keep her territory intact from marauding, uninvited cats.

Despite the food and shelter, Gallagher remained leery of all human contact; however, we decided she couldn’t be a truly feral cat since we found that Flash’s litter box in the garage was now in use. While Flash wasn’t venturing outdoors much during the long, brutal winter, it became obvious that some other cat was using the litter box regularly.

We finally noticed that Gallagher would sit by the garage, sunning herself and waiting for the door to open. Once open, she would make her way in, rushing out in a hurry when the door would close.

More than once, Gallagher and Flash would meet face to face near the garage. While Flash would hiss, growl, and fluff out her fur to appear larger and more menacing, Gallagher seemed to take it in stride; nothing seemed to ruffle her as if to say, “Hey, I know this is your territory, but can’t we share?”

The winter weather lingered on through the months of March and April, and still Gallagher could be seen wandering the neighborhood, hiding under bushes, seeking out places warmed by the sun.

Just as the weather became more spring-like, Gallagher began to thaw as well. Although  skittish, she allowed some humans to come a little closer, or at least, she allowed me to come within a few feet if I had a handful of food. She darted away only to return to the food as soon as I departed.

May brought Gallagher approaching us, rubbing against us, and allowing us to pet her. First, Rob reached out a hand to touch her, and Gallagher not only allowed it, but seemed to even relish the affection. Eventually Gallagher climbed onto his lap when Rob was sitting on the deck.

It was then that we noticed that the long-haired cat’s fur was matted with knots, particularly around her neck. From a distance, they weren’t obvious, but up close, her fur showed just how brutal the winter had been to her. She had truly been living rough.

Not only did she decide that we must be worth trusting, but Gallagher also made up to our friend John. Knowing we could never adopt her because of our own feline’s jealous nature based on her reaction to Gallagher and other cats with whom she has had close encounters, we were thrilled that John wished to adopt her as she has the most affectionate and loving nature.

After an attempt to find her owner, we took Gallagher to the vet for a checkup, vaccinations, spaying, and grooming of her matted fur. With what would take more than two trips to the vet, Gallagher has been given a clean bill of health, a new look (she has been shaved with only a puffball left on her tail), and a new name. John has renamed her Misty, but to me, she will always be Gallagher: the not-so-feral cat.







About pedometergeek

A pharmacist by profession, a haiku poet by nature, I read and write. I have a book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, and another somewhat alternative haiku book, Three Breaths, but write other genres. I also read...lots of novels! My favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged but I am also a big Harry Potter fan. I truly am a pedometer geek strapping on my pedometer as soon as I awaken.
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4 Responses to A Cat’s Tail

  1. Jules says:

    Sounds as if someone moved and couldn’t take the cat.
    Our niece was stationed overseas and had a cat – once transferred back to the states, she couldn’t find a home for him. The process to take a pet back to the states is long… and costly. However the lucky cat has a home and didn’t end up being someones dinner!


    • Still to dump a cat is just plain wrong. Fortunately, if dumped, she was dropped off in a neighborhood where cats are tolerated and/or welcomed, yet Gallagher was obviously traumatized by this as she was scared of all of us neighborhood ‘cat whisperers’ for months. What I didn’t add was that a month after John adopted her, a woman called and indicated that the cat was hers…stolen by a ‘friend’ and them probably dumped because she was going to be found out. I have to admit the woman’s photo of her cat was a dead ringer for Gal. The two vets who examined Gal said she was 2-5 years old, and the woman who was sure this was her pet claimed she was 10 years old. When the cat was shown to the woman, she knew it wasn’t her Sassy. And all ended well for Gallagher/Misty and John. A loving home and a devoted owner.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Me too. Gallagher, AKA Misty, is settled in and loving John. She doesn’t even want to go outside any more.


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