Helping Out a New Arrival
When Purrley first showed up in my yard, there were no indications of any problems. His weight seemed good. His coat was glossy. Hattie, the current feral resident of my yard, didn't seem upset or afraid, and my 3 girls who live inside were curious.
For two days, Purrley was around most of the time. He would make eye contact with me only for the tiniest of moments, a sure sign that he wasn't totally feral.
I asked his name the second day he was here. He shared it without hesitation, but didn't offer any more information. So I just let thing go. I told him he was welcome to come visit the yard whenever he felt like it.
Up to that point, I assumed he had a home and was just new in the neighborhood, stopping by to check things out and hanging around because of Hattie and "the girls". He disappeared in the evenings, so I figured he went home or went hunting.
Then he disappeared for several days.
The next time Purrley showed up, he was crying for food. He looked very thin. He took off as soon as he saw me, and I felt the pain of his abandonment. For the first time, he seemed truly distraught.
It was time for me to make a decision. Was I going to offer him food? Once I did that, I had an obligation to continue to feed him. I wasn't ready to take on another cat to feed. I feel rather maxed out on the 4 I have now. Besides, Starlight needs a playmate, and that's on hold.
It didn't take me long to decide that I wanted to help Purrley, if he'd let me. In the typical human way, I just assumed that the other cats wouldn't mind. After all, Purrley was not going to come into the house. And Hattie would still rule the yard, as Purrley clearly wasn't challenging her. Why should they care?
The first time I brought out food for Purley, there was uproar. Sakhara sat at the sliding door hissing her disapproval. Hattie was clearly feeling threatened as she wasn't sure whether she would have to defend her feeding station. Starlight wanted to run outside to greet him. Only Violet stayed completely out of it.
So I put Starlight and Sakhara inside the kitchen and shut the door to the porch. Then I fed Hattie in her feeding station so she'd know that she's still Number 1 in the yard and nothing would change about that.
Only then did I put a bowl for Purrley about 10 feet away from Hattie's feeding station. It was clear that Purrley wasn't going to come to his bowl until I was out of sight, so I went back into the kitchen, leaving the porch to Starlight and Sakhara. Hattie kept eating and then peeking out to see whether Purrley would try to steal her food.
Purrley very slowly approach the bowl I put out for him, and ate very quickly. He was very hungry, and I soon realized I had not given him nearly enough food. But he was grateful. I told him he could come once a day and be fed. He sat under a tree and groomed himself.
The next day, I was still in bed at 4:30 a.m. when Purrley came through the yard, crying. I explained to him that we needed to coordinate our timing better. "Come back in 2 hours or so," I explained, "when I feed Hattie. That's when I'll feed you, too."
Purrley is a smart boy. When I fed Hattie later that morning, he was sitting near the tree line, waiting. Most days, now, he waits hidden in the woods. I put the food out and call him. He understands "Here kitty, kitty." He must have had a home.
Purrley isn't showing up regularly in the mornings. Today he didn't show at all. But that's OK. I just want to help him out. He's free to come and go and do as he wishes.
Purrley says he's "2", which I sense means this is his 2nd summer, so he's probably about 1 and half. He seems too mature to be younger than that.
He's a large cat, about twice the size of Hattie, who's rather small and probably less than 9 pounds. He has beautiful markings - white fingers in front and white socks behind. His body and tail are both long and elegant.
If you read this and feel like speaking telepathically with Purrley, please share what you get in a comment. Purrley seems open to some conversation, and he might decide to trust a bit more if folks talk to him. This has happened with Hattie. who has participated in my TWA (Telepathy with Animals) course. She become much more tame just from speaking telepathically with the students.