Some years ago, a black feral cat with a limp strolled onto our country property and settled beneath my garden house. From a distance, I welcomed the black cat and prayed he would heal, kill rodents, and be a good companion to Calico, outdoor cat in residence.
The black cat did heal, grew old, and deaf. But until the other day, I had never witnessed the felines hanging out together .
I was in the kitchen when I looked through the window and saw both cats slowly crossing the driveway. As they approached the house, I noticed the black cat hobbled like an elderly person. What struck me most was how closely Calico walked beside the black cat, glanced at him often, and slowed several times to keep from getting ahead. Could Calico be protecting him from Ralphie (house dog in residence), I wondered.
Two days earlier, the black cat had encountered Ralphie on the far side of the driveway. Ralphie behaved like a playground tyrant, barking and growling, circling the terrified cat until he made a mad dash. Ralphie chased him across the driveway, into the garden, through the perennial beds, to the garden house where he ducked beneath the foundation.
Losing sight of the cats through the widow, I went to the north end of the house and peeked through the bathroom window. Calico sat by the feeder while the black cat ate. When he finished, he walked to the edge of the concrete, sat for a spell and gazed out at the barnyard. Instead of eating, Calico followed, sat behind him, not budging until the black cat ambled toward the front yard. I grabbed my camera, returned to the kitchen, and watched Calico escort the black cat back to the garden.
It was obvious Calico wanted to protect his aged friend if need be, to provide encouragement with each hobbled step, and guard him at the feeder. The gesture was so tender, so endearing, I could not help think about the stable animals when the baby Jesus was born. The livestock must have felt enormous loyalty for the Christ child on that miraculous night.
I am grateful to have witnessed Calico’s compassion, to receive a deeper perspective of the King’s birth, and be made aware that it was time to move the feeder near the garden house so life is a little easier for Calico’s companion, the black feral cat.
Merry Christmas and Blessings to all.