The little cat started to hang around our yard a few months ago. She was so scrawny that, I thought, that she was an adolescent. Only after looking at her carefully I saw the stiff back legs and tail - the signs of an older cat, marred by the deprivations of living on the street. She was pretty, though: white on the chest, belly and the legs and bright orange on the back and the face. She also had orange on her shoulders, outlined with white, like some kind of epaulets from a bygone era. I often saw her on the same little mole mound in the garden: front paw in the air, the tail straight and vibrating in anticipation. I don't think, she ever caught that mole, but not for the lack of trying!
One day, I was at the computer and my cat, Chicken Bone (Chickie) was sunning himself by the glass door into the garden. I heard him meow, but didn't pay attention at first. He is a very vocal individual, who lets us know his moods and wants with an amazing variety of sounds. After a while, I noticed a very distinctive meowing from him. It sounded, for all the world, like he was conversing with somebody! I went to look, There, on the other side of glass, stood the orange-white kitty, talking with Chickie, but I only saw her mouth moving: the glass cut off the sound. When she saw me, she abruptly stepped back. I also stepped back, not wanting to interrupt such an interesting occurrence. She stepped back again and I stepped back too. The tension was too much for her, and she ran away.
Since that time, I began to put a small bowl of cat-food on the back porch, where the kitty could reach it, and we could see her pretty self, while she was eating. Since we already have a cat named Sylvie, I named that one Goldie. She came faithfully every day, as soon as I filled her bowl and yelled her name a couple of times.
A few weeks ago she stopped coming. We were disappointed and worried , but what can you do? Then she showed up again. One of her back legs was hurt, she either kept it pulled all the way up or let it hang uselessly, not putting any weight on it.
I had a sickening feeling that this will be the end of her. How can she survive, having to feed and constantly defend herself against the other cats and the murderous raccoons that once almost killed Chickie? I kept putting the food out for her, and she stopped going away, just stayed the whole time in a bush by the fence. Every day I expected her not to show up, but there she was, limping to the porch, gulping her food down and frequently lifting her head to watch out for danger.
My cats took it for an insult, to have to share their food with an interloper. Chikie just meowed and scratched the glass a few times, then took a philosophical view of the situation. Sylvie, on the other hand, stayed true to her demon-cat nature. Every time she heard me calling Goldie, she'd run, then crawl the last foot or so on her fat little belly to the door. She then would start yowling, spitting and hissing at the poor Goldie. God forbid, she was there when I called Goldie some cute names. She'd behave all betrayed and add a couple more decibels to her screeching. It unnerved Goldie a little, but then she realized that Sylvie can't get to her from behind the glass. Now Goldie just eats her food and gives Sylvie sarcastic looks, like: "what, do you think, you can do?"
She soon began to show the signs of improvement. She started to put some weight on her back paw, then we saw her limping, but walking on it. She also started to come and stretch on the concrete by the porch, incessantly grooming or just laying down before the next meal. Time to time, she would look into the room or even the kitchen window, now taking interest, what's going on in there. I can't take her in, my husband reached his limit the last time we tried to help a couple of kitties and were left with millions of fleas in the house. I also don't want her to stop hunting for food altogether, she needs to be able to fend for herself.
Last night it rained. We worried, where Goldie was going to go, to hide from the rain. This morning, she came as soon as she heard me call her. She is a little wet, but, I believe, she can survive much more than that!