Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Day in May

I haven't posted for a while. That's because I've been busy getting the vegetable garden established, mowing the lawn and settling in with my second new cat, a feral male tabby.

Today, my father and I enjoyed a fine late May day. I just now planted three cherry tomato plants he brought up for me, grown from seed. I pulled another radish plant and just like the rest, no bulb! I haven't' had much luck with radishes, the often-touted "easiest thing to grow."

The potato plants are doing quite nicely, though cutworms have been mowing down large stems. I've wrapped everything in tinfoil but apparently, the wily cutworms weren't foiled.

The parade of spring blooms marches on. The doublefile viburnum and azalea are past peak, but the rhododendron are a gorgeous magenta, and the mountain laurel aren't far behind.

My feral cat, who lived six-and-a-half long years in a shelter, has been with me now for three weeks. He is still hiding 24/7 under a small wood cabinet I have here in my office, and the single occupancy cat condo connected to it.

Feral cats demand patience, but I sense the rewards will be great. I have not touched him yet. He only feels safe enough to eat after dark, one meal daily. I should have called him Dracula, but his given name is Waldo.

Still, there is a certain sense of urgency in getting him acclimated. The vet who checked him out on the day I took him home found he has an abscessed tooth, which will need to be pulled. I have meds I'm supposed to give him 2x daily to ease the inflammation, but of course, he only eats at night so he's getting just half the dose he should. The vet said when she saw him that it wasn't that bad and to give him a few weeks before she came to the house to pull the tooth. We are NOT looking forward to that, but Waldo should be much more comfortable once that's done.

Luther, my other new cat whom I adopted in February 2009, is thriving in his new environment. He, too, was feral, but the key difference between he and Waldo is that I took Luther home when he was just 6 months old, vs. over 6 years for Waldo. Luther's middle name is "Play," and he will do everything possible to engage Waldo in play. For the most part, Waldo's not moving around much. Nor does he defend himself; he is a very non-aggressive cat. Luther will paw at Waldo, throttle him around the neck and bite his cheeks, and still, Waldo will bear up under this abuse from a large and frisky kitten with the utmost grace.

I recently learned that the only way I could keep Luther from pushing the cat condo around with his hind legs (and Waldo inside) was to put a 44 lb. box of Costco cat litter on top of the cat condo.

Oh Waldo, if only you knew the happy life that awaits you. Many times more space than the cramped, smelly room you shared with a dozen other cats for most of your life. A breezy, screened porch that welcomes in the calls of birds, the smell of the outdoors and the occasional turkey, deer, woodchuck or chipmunk sighting. Oh, Waldo, hurry up and warm up to me, because the rest of your life will be good, I promise.