Over the years, numerous stray or feral cats have frequented my parents' kitchen for the abundance of dry cat food. The first cat that I can remember off the top of my head was a short haired gray cat that my brothers and I called Nermal. Another cat that wandered in was Interloper. He was a orange tomcat that lived a couple of houses down that liked to come in at night and cause trouble with our cats. We had a long haired orange cat named Jesse that was related to our indoor cats, but was never tamed as a kitten. Another cat that we named Ragamuffin was a long haired black and white cat. Some of these cats have wandered on or vanished over the years. Others have been found and buried.
The current stray or feral cat that frequents the kitchen is a white cat with gray points. My brother named him Tundra. He has been coming in for a few years now. I do not remember if he started coming in before I joined the Air Force in 2001. I do not think he did. We are not sure how old he is, but I hope my parents will take him to the vet soon and get him checked out. Maybe the vet can offer an opinion.
Tundra at first would come in when he knew he was not likely to be disturbed while eating, usually while everyone was asleep or not home. After a while, he started coming in whenever he felt like it, because he seemed to realize that we would not bother him if he wanted to eat. He would watch warily as we walked in and got or did whatever we needed. As long as we made no effort to touch him, he continued to eat.
Every now and again, I would hear amusing stories. My parents' male cat, Prince was sitting on the coffee table one day. My dad, who was sitting on the love seat on the other end of the table, noticed him reaching down and batting at something on the floor. When my father bent over to look, he was surprised to find that it was not one of their other cats, but Tundra, who my father says was on his back batting at Prince.
Over the last couple of weeks, which have been very wet, windy, and cold in the Seattle area, Tundra has been coming in more and more. My mom likes to put whipped cream in her coffee. She will usually put some down for whichever cats might be present. It is a trend that has gone on for years and years. Tundra has apparently taken a liking to it. He even shared a bowl of milk with Prince and Prince's mother, Gypsy. According to my mother, he has been known to sit on the arm of the love seat, and even had a "love attack", which required my dad to scratch his ears, back, and tummy. Needless to say, this is very strange behavior for Tundra. I am glad he is becoming more friendly. Obviously, the other cats (mainly Prince) have accepted him. So, I think it is safe to assume my parents have another cat.
I will list the others off.
Smokey- A fourteen year old, long haired, gray tortoiseshell. She is a mostly outdoor cat, though she comes in during the winter when it gets cold. We hardly see her during the summer. When she does decide to come in, though, one cannot get rid of her. She is an aggressive lap kitty at that point.
Patches- A thirteen year old, long haired, black tortoiseshell. Patches is a very sleek cat. She is also extremely bratty. I have lost count of the number of times I have gotten yowled at when I overlooked something she wanted. Patches is an indoor/outdoor cat. Patches also likes to "help" my mom with reading assignments, academic papers, needlework, and quilting. I have joked that when my mom gets her degree later this month, she needs to make sure Patches and Prince get one, too, for all the help they have provided. Patches is Smokey's niece.
Gypsy- An eleven year old, short hair, black tortoiseshell. Gypsy in some ways, is more feral than Smokey. She may come in more frequently, but she does not aggressively demand attention. Gypsy disappeared for about a year when she was about two. We long presumed her to be dead when she suddenly reappeared on the front porch one summer evening. Her meow is usually quiet, but every now and again, we get a haunting reminder of where her kittens got their meows. She scared me one evening a few years ago when she howled in the hallway. It sounded very much like that of Prince's brother, Peekaboo, who had died a couple years before that. Gypsy is Smokey's half sister and Patches' aunt.
Prince- A ten year old, black tomcat with white toes and white on his chest and belly. Prince is the surviving member of his litter. One brother died when they were four, another fell ill and died a couple years ago, and his sister disappeared during the summer of 2006 and is presumed dead. Prince is like a watch cat. He constantly wanders around the house and my parents' property to check things out. When he is inside, and when Patches is taking a break, Prince will help my mom with schoolwork and needlework. He also tends to dictate when it is bedtime. He will go down the hall at a certain time and if no one follows him, he come back out and meow, then go back down the hall. This will repeat until everyone goes to bed. He has other mannerisms that have earned him the nickname, "Gentleman Cat". He lives up to his name. Prince is Smokey's nephew, Patches' cousin, and Gypsy's kitten. He is the youngest of my parents' cats, and the last in Puff, his grandmother's line.
My parents have had many cats over the years, and I am sure I will mention a few of them in future posts. For now, though, I will stop. Writing all of this did show me just how much some cats live up to their names. My parents' cats certainly have.