Trudy Thomas is the name, and savoring security is my game. Last November, when I was a seven-month-old kitten, my three siblings and I were abandoned on a deserted lane in rural Texas several weeks before Thanksgiving.
For a couple of hours, it was fun playing in an unfamiliar place. Later in the day, we got hungry and thirsty. Then it wasn’t fun anymore.
Where was Mom? When were the humans where we lived coming back for us? We were shocked to realize we were on our own.
We began to feel like we’d been disposed of like a bag of trash. What we needed – and needed quickly – was shelter, food and water.
A reign of terror
Instead, what came for us was two huge birds of prey. With gigantic wings flapping, they circled us. Swooping down, each grabbed one of my siblings.
Stunned by the violence, my sister and I shook with fear. Seconds later, it occurred to us that the monsters would be back. Running as far and as fast as our kitten legs could carry us, she went east and I went north.
I’ve never seen her again but heard she eventually found a good home. I’m so glad.
Striking out on my own
For more days than I can recall after the attack, I scrounged through the long grass in a fence row looking for insects to eat. I drank nasty pond water that made me feel queasy. Although the flying terrorists hadn’t pinpointed my abandoned armadillo hole hiding place, my worries were far from over.
At night when the moon was high in the sky, a huge hoot owl made his rounds. Coyotes stalked the nearby woods. By then, I was skinny and sickly, but I don’t think those predators would have cared.
I finally decided I had nothing to lose. As the long shadows began fading one evening, I summoned what little strength I had left and slowly made my way to the house on the hill.
One last chance
I heard a voice and laughter. Elaine was sitting on the patio talking on the phone. Not knowing what kind of reception I would receive, I rushed past her, meowing miserably. Perhaps she thought she was seeing things. After all, what was a kitten doing so far off the beaten path?
At any rate, a delicious dish of hard cat food and a fresh bowl of water quickly appeared on the patio table. When Elaine and Emil moved off, I moved in. I hit the water dish first before eating my first decent meal in days.
Still uncertain if I was welcome, I skuttled off. I hid that night and many nights to follow in an abandoned armadillo hole under the garden shed. I’d come out to eat but moved away when Elaine reached out to stroke me.
It got worse
Bow, the dog, chased me. Jumper, the housecat, threatened me. Rag Doll, the feral cat, bit and scratched my face. However, it was a mean old marauding tomcat that hurt me. See the permanent scars under my eye and on my upper lip?
The day after that ugly ordeal, Elaine grabbed me, stuffed me in a cat carrier and away we went. Bow, Jumper and Rag Doll likely lined up laughing as we left. Yes, I was being hauled off again, but it wasn’t to another deserted lane.
Emil and Elaine dropped me off at the vet’s office in town, promising to return. I didn’t know what to make of this situation, but I had no say. After receiving medical attention, Emil and Elaine came back and brought me home.
My winter wonderland
The dead of winter followed and sleeping in a box filled with towels outside the back door was not quite as agreeable as it had been in the fall. Late one night when the thermometer dipped to 28F degrees, Elaine looked out the back door. I looked back, a little pathetic.
In no time, she stormed out the back door dressed in her winter garb and snatched up my bed and me. I was deposited in the garage where the temperature was a balmy 57F degrees. Although dumbstruck at the turn of events, I am not dumb. I snuggled down, making myself at home.
Now I’m a garage cat by night. By day, I’m an office cat, keeping an eye on Elaine as she writes. I have a snug little bed on a stool next to the paper shredder. When the afternoon sun is just right, sunbeams stream in and beat down on me.
So, I live in two secure places, eat tasty soft and hard food and drink from bowls of clean water. I sleep on a carefully folded striped towel on the bench beside the back door in the garage and use a cat box that is cleaned regularly.
Life is good
Thanks to the generosity of our neighbor Denise, I play on a cat tree. When I feel like it, I climb trees or lounge in the shade on the porch. I watch the cows come in for water, marveling at their size.
Bow doesn’t chase me anymore. Jumper and I are pals. In fact, I accompany that grumpy old tomcat on his morning constitutionals around the yard. Whoever would have guessed we’d someday be buddies?
The Rag Doll? Well, that’s another story. She detests me. That said, for the most part, unless I venture off the end of the sidewalk into her territory, she won’t hurt me. I don’t understand her attitude, though, because she was once a walk-up cat, too.
I’m going to be OK
I don’t think I’ll ever be a lap cat, but Emil and Elaine don’t seem to mind. I’m still afraid of big birds, strange cats, storms, loud noises and strangers. However, I’ve become accustomed to the lawnmower’s whine, the freezer’s hum and the garage doors’ rattle.
I’m slowly regaining my self-confidence. I have a home where I’m safe. And dare I say it aloud? I’m loved.
What more could I want for Thanksgiving?
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Trudy is not the only Thomas pet that has chronicled its life. Check out these stories: