by Selwyn Mills

    Bushy is the last of a family of four that I have been hosting on
my porch for the past year.
    The gray and black mommy, an ordinary domestic short hair, had a
litter about 18 months ago in the neighborhood -- three female kittens,
more colorful than mom.
    There are very few stray cats in the area and I noticed them always
looking for food.  So, I invited them to visit my balcony garden to see
if they liked the layout.  Mommy came up first to look it over and sample
the menu.  Then, a few days later, she brought two of the kittens with
her before deciding to make it their primary home.  The third kitten
never showed.  She must have decided to leave Naples because I never
saw her again.
    Of course they were feral cats and not amenable to trusting
humans, or other animals, but I thought with time, patience, good food
and a protected garden to use as a home base they would become more
affectionate, but it never happened.
    Occasional their deadbeat Dad would sneak up to the balcony and
steal some food without paying any attention to his family and would
run away as soon as I appeared.
    Then I noticed that Mommy was pregnant again.  She was
evidentially attracted to the typical "Tom Cat husband" who seldom
takes any responsibility for his offsprings or his wife.  He would visit
periodically to eat and make promises he would never keep.
    The family wouldn't even let me pet them.  All I could get was the
joy of watching them attend to their own concerns as if I didn't matter,
unless the services stopped.
    Well the next thing I did was to have the three of them neutered
before I ended up with another bunch of guests.  First, I thought I would
try to deal with it rationally, so I sat down with them to explain the
situation.  I put out refreshments to get their attention and when they
assembled I put the food aside and gave them a lecture about celibacy.
Believe it or not, they sat up and pretended to listen to me.  It was
like taking to teenagers.  They looked at me like I was crazy and then
walked away.
    Next, I contacted the Cat Rescue Center and borrowed a trapping
cage.  Each day another cat walked in to get the cheese and would hear the
steel door close behind them.  Then, I brought the cage to a veterinarian
and took back the cage.
    I did this four times for three cats.  Guess what?
    On the third day do you know who was in the cage?  Daddy came for
one of his sneaky visits and snooped his way into the cage and woof,
he was captured.
    I ended up with four neutered cats.  Dad didn't come around too
much after that because both Dad and Mommy were both stripped of desire.
    Over the next few months, everyone disappeared except Bushy. Mommy
just left without a word to me.
    Actually, one afternoon I spotted her strolling along Vanderbilt
Drive with her good-for-nothing husband looking like a senior couple
out for a causal walk.
    Now, Bushy is the only pussy cat left in my garden.  She was always
my favorite although I was careful not show it in front of the others.
I am still suffering the sting of unrequited pet love, but I think in
time, she will learn to trust me.
    I do love her.

                          -- Selwyn Mills <fauxmarble at aol.com>

Selwyn is a retired psychotherapist from NY, living in Naples,
Florida, and active in the local theater as set painter and freelance
fauxpainter.  He is a life coach trainer.  You can visit his website here:

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