Spring is here in full force in NE Georgia and the kittens are having a great time exploring for the first time the wonders of butterflies and bugs, the smell of newly bloomed flowers and a strange contraption in the backyard called a water fountain.   So far, Jasmine, Jade and Eddie have not had any real inclination to go further than their own backyard, which “mom” is grateful for because with the warm weather comes the certain knowledge that one cat, MaeMae will be disappearing for days, even weeks, on end.

MaeMae (the cat whose image is at the top of this blog) comes from a long line of country barn cats and trying to deprive her of her instinctual love of hunting in the woods, would in my opinion, be cruel an unusual punishment – but that doesn’t mean I like it.

ImageI would rather have her be like my other cats, content to stay in her own yard during the day and coming in every night where it’s safe – away from coyotes, away from raccoons, and other predators, animal, human, and mechanical (cars). But, as this photo shows, she quickly figured out how to get over the cat fencing..and taught Binky (the cat below her) to do the same.

In fact, I’ve tried to keep her inside..but it turns out badly for me, the house, and the other cats with whom she starts picking fights.  For me, it’s the constant howling to go out, for the house it’s destruction and inappropriate spraying or pee’ing. So she wins.

MaeMae came home this morning after being gone almost two weeks. I know where she goes..it’s not far…just to the neighborhood behind our house and down the hill. It requires going through some empty, wooded lots and across a lake cove, but she does it. Then, for a week or two, she doesn’t come home, she doesn’t answer my calls for her, regardless of the weather.  I’ve seen her down in the yards of the homes along the cove. I can stand four feet away from her when she’s in hunting mode and call her name and she ignores me.  I have to actually go pick her up to snap her out of it, she’s that focused. 

Happily, my neighbors along the street below me all know her now and none mind having her around. In fact, I think she probably “shacks up” at someone’s house down there because when she does come home, she’s always clean, hasn’t lost any weight, but she’s always happy to be here.

This time, she was gone for almost two weeks and once again, as I usually do, I had given her up for dead; not expecting to see her ever again. I had called for her three days ago – standing at the edge of the woods, calling her name so loud the neighbor’s dogs came running.  Nothing. ‘That’s it,’ I thought last night when I tried calling her again from my back deck. ‘I’ll never see her again.’

Then this morning, she came bounding in with the other cats who had gone into the backyard for a quick potty break after sleeping inside all night. Crying, tired and hungry, she ate three bowls of canned food. Then proceeded, as she always does when she comes home, to meow as if to tell me about her adventures down below. It takes about an hour for her to calm down, but eventually she collapses either on the sofa or next to me as I write. 

Sweet dreams, little Mae. It’s good to have you home again.