There comes a point in everyone’s life when we stop and say “How the hell did I get here? How did this become normal?”
That point came for me last week. It involved frozen cat barf. Yes. Frozen cat barf. And it was totally normal. Well. Maybe “normal” is a stretch.
Last week I went to pick up Mamma and Little Black’s dinner bowls. (Other feral cats get breakfast and dinner right?) I went out in the freezing cold, dark night and found a big ol’ hair ball trying to hide under the kitty tent. Then I found a frozen puddle of barf sitting by the door. I had a momentary panic as I wondered if I walked in it. Then I remembered it was frozen so it didn’t really matter.
I took the bowls inside, put on my coat and hat, then back outside to pick up frozen cat barf. Except it was frozen, so I couldn’t just pick it up. I had to scrape it off. With a shovel. In the dark. Did I mention it was cold? I mean it’s frozen cat barf, so of course its cold. But seriously, it was cold out.
As I am using the shovel to scrape frozen cat barf off the deck I start wondering how the hell I got to this place. And why I didn’t have an issue with it. I mean most people don’t find themselves shoveling frozen cat barf off their deck at 9pm.
I still don’t really know how I got here. I guess it is just one of those things that happens right? One day you see a cat in your yard so you put food down. You trap her so there will be no more kittens. She brings her friends. You trap them. Cats come and go, but she stays. Seven years later she is living on your deck full time with her friend and taking care of her is just one more part of life.
Over the years I have cleaned up some nasty things from those cats. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. Well, maybe if I could get rid of some of the gross clean ups I would. In the end though, knowing that I have two feral cats who love me is worth all the frozen cat barf in the world. I have prevented countless litters of kittens being born into this neighborhood. And, by preventing those litters, helped save dozens of other cats who land in shelters (less kittens being born on the streets means more room in shelters for adoptable kitties).
I’ve helped prolong the lives of these two beautiful girls. I have given them shelter and safety on my deck. They have two square meals, fresh water and heated cat beds in the winter. They get cat toys. This year they even got Christmas gifts! They have the best life they could possibly have as feral cats. I know they love me and my family, even if Mamma won’t get closer than 5 feet from me.
The stress these girls have caused me over the years is enormous. And yet, the love and joy I get from them balances it all out. So I suppose the simple answer is love. Love for all creatures, and a big ol’ soft spot for all members of the feline family that have run my life since Day One. Love is how I came to find myself scrapping frozen cat barf off my deck at 9pm on a frigid winter evening in 2016. I am glad no one told me about this when I first saw Mamma back in 2008. Because that just sound weird. Unless you have ever loved a cat.