Blondie had her first litter in 2008. So they must be around 5 or 6 by now. There were three of them, so I originally named them Scimp, Scamp and Scump.
Scump disappeared about 6 months later. Don’t know what happened to Scump. Cats are mysterious and they have all sorts of pecking orders and territorial pissings and cat rules and regulations as to who can go here and who can go there. In the 6 years I was in the Berkeley hills it seemed the male kittens generally left the scene when they became full-grown. Possibly because of some kind of tom cat instinct that compels them to roam freely. Whereas the female cats mostly remained in the area. Perhaps due to some female nesting instinct. I don’t know if this is inherent in cat behavior or what. My sample size of about 10 feral cats over 6 years wasn’t large enough to come to hard and fast conclusions.
I had to leave the hills for 3 months in 2009. So I gave a homeless friend of mine who camped on the other side of the hill about 2 months worth of cat food and asked him to feed them while I was gone. When I returned he had fallen in love with Scamp and adopted her. And he re-named Scimp “Moo Cat” and the name stuck.
Moo Cat and Scamp were similar in appearance. Except that Scamp had a half-face of white fur by her nose (compared to Moo Cat’s full white face). Which for some reason always gave Scamp, to me, this air of a cocky, jaunty French guy wearing a beret. If Moo Cat and Scamp were similar in appearance they were exact opposite in temperament. Scamp always had a self-assured, master-of-reality attitude. Like she was completely pleased with herself and her place in this world. She always seemed to be smiling (can cats smile?). Scamp was the first of the feral cats to totally accept me. Probably because I started feeding her right when she was a kitten. Unlike the first crew of feral cats who didn’t discover me until they were about 9 months old and never lost their inherent feral distrust of humans. Scamp was just a very cosmic cat. One of those. Like an old soul.
Moo Cat on the other hand was like your high-strung friend who was always flying off the handle on unpredictable mood swings and drama queen episodes. Even her face often had a neurotic look of anxiety on it. Like she was afraid she was going to be abandoned at any moment. Moo Cat was constantly picking fights with the other cats. And she would get righteously indignant when another cat took her favorite spot lying on my chest. She’d circle around my sleeping bag in a huff, just waiting for the chance to run the intruder off. In a way, Moo Cat was my favorite. Because I was high-strung and half-crazy myself. And there was a neediness about Moo Cat that made you want to comfort her.
Whereas Scamp always had a look of peace and serenity on her face. Just a very happy cat. Even after she was adopted by the other guy, she would regularly saunter down to my campsight in the afternoon to visit me. She’d always wait until my cats had left — a territorial thing I guess — before she’d pay me a surprise visit. Years later, long after I had stopped feeding her, she’d still pop in to say hello. With this look on her face that said: “I still remember you from when I was a kitten.”