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 first before eating my first decent meal in days.
Still uncertain if I was welcome, I slunk 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?
* * *
Trudy is not the only Thomas pet that has chronicled its life. Check out these stories:
- The Old Philosopher of New Dubina - March 10, 2023
- Farewell to the Farm - February 17, 2023
- Feeding Winston’s Cows in 1973 - January 20, 2023
It’s quite reassuring to know that, if I’m ever at the end of my rope with no where to turn, if I can make it to near your patio, I’ll be ok. Thanks for the story, Radar. In a couple more days, it will be 26 years since the beginning of our PR “adventure.” Another memorable Thanksgiving. Hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful.
LOL! That was certainly the most unusual Thanksgiving dinner I ever planned and the most unusual Thanksgiving weekend that any of us on the recovery team could ever have envisioned. Here’s to a Thanksgiving that involves no drama and acute anxiety far from home. Our best to you and yours, too.
Such a heart warming story. During a severe drought one year, David and our son came across a dead cow and new born calf. The first calf had lived and was crying for food. They loaded the calf up and went to find the rancher. He didn’t want it as he didn’t have time to care for it. This is how we came to raise “Rusty’. Only problem he grew up thinking he was one of our many dogs. I cannot wait for your next story.
Thanks so much for sharing your story of a young animal in trouble. I bet somewhere in an album is a picture of Rusty! These most vulnerable creatures speak to our hearts!
Trudy, looks just like our Boots. At first, when Patches was around, they had nothing to do with the grandchildren, but then the grands were smaller. But, something got my Patches and Boots “rules” the place. We love him dearly.
Well, Trudy says to say hello to Boots and Patches. Yes, we work for our cats. Dogs have masters, while cats have staff — that includes you and me!
What a couple of saps! 🙂 If Silvia ever throws me out I’m headed your direction. Great story.
You bet, Silvia will know where to look for you. Of course, I’ll have to get approval from our critters as to whether they’d let you in!!
What a heartwarming story! Trudy is a very lucky kitty indeed. Love her life story thus far and hope to hear more about her future endeavors.
Terri, it is Trudy’s ardent wish that nothing else eventful happens in her life, but you never know. She may need to share some more stories down the road! Thanks for writing.
We have a long history of adopting stray cats in our family (or letting them own us – I’m not always sure which way it is), each one of them much loved for their own quirky personality, so this story really appealed to me, Elaine. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
Nancy, I’m sure that with your history of allowing strays into your life that you have had your share of success and a few failures. All we can do is try! Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes.
Elaine, I have to say that Trudy’s story simply made my day! It brought back memories of my childhood growing up out in the “country!” Recently, I came across a photo of 5 or 6 cats at the back yard porch of my childhood home.
When one of us would open the screen door, we would be met by several cats with loud “meows,” informing us that they were needing to be fed. I had the names of those particular cats on the back of the photo. We weren’t very creative at naming all our animals back then, but I noticed that one of the cat’s name was “Marvy kitty.” He of course was named after my boyfriend and future husband Marvin!!!
By the way, LOVE all the names you and Emil have given to all your fur babies!
To Trudy, I would say, “You are indeed LOVED, and by the most awesome parents ever!
I’ll be sure to pass along your comment to Trudy, LOL! She really is a sweet kitty. I know those cats from your childhood left pawprints on your heart, too. Life would not a lot different without pets or memories of pets. Thanks for writing!
You KNOW how much I loved the “Jumper” story–Well, Hon, you did it again with this one. You are SUCH A SPECIAL,CARING PERSON, Elaine–to both humans and your four-legged friends. How lucky we ALL are to have you in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Emil!!! Love, Brenda
Thanks so much, Brenda, but you have to give Emil full credit in aiding and abetting me with taking in my strays! Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friend. Hugs!
As I read Trudy’s story I could not help but think of the similarities in your life and Linsey’s. When the two of you were working together who could have guessed you would eventually be living a farm life and taking in homeless animals? The changes appear to fit you both well.
Isn’t that the truth? Lives that are meaningful after enduring the corporate meatgrinder!
Thanks for your Trudy the yellow cat story & saving her. I just this 2022 Spring helped save a Yellow cat baby who my WV friend, named that baby cat, Lucky. And he is definitely lucky as my friend & I tried very diligently last Spring to save a feral mama cat & her 4 newborns, wild on the Blue Ridge in an unreachable except by demolition under a house. We worked diligently catching, feeding, heated beds, eye-dropper pet milk feeding, vet med care. I am heart broken, after several; weeks we lost 3 to disease, even tho all under expensive vet care, by some disease I forgot the name but supposedly is a common killer to baby cats from being born on the raw earth/ ground, nematode or some such but we saved mama cat (Tiffany) & one (Lucky) of 4 yellow-red babies. And during this time Summer 2022 I took in two other older feral cats born Spring 2021 off the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains near historic Civil War, Harpers Ferry, WV scene of at least two large CW battles & saved those two cats from starvation-death. One (Moo-moo) named because she is black & white like a Holstein cow was laying on the July hot asphalt Hwy 9, too sick to stand-up to get off the road or run from me.
Fred – Feral and abandoned cats have a true friend in you. I know the satisfaction of saving their lives drives you to spend time, effort and money on them. Thank you for your kindness on behalf of all cat lovers!