Last summer Micro Scaredy got noticeably pregnant for the first time. I watched as her belly grew bigger and bigger over a three month period. Then one day I could tell she was no longer pregnant. But her kittens were nowhere in sight. She had the litter stashed in a secret nest somewhere in the Berkeley hills. I could tell Micro Scaredy was nursing the litter because she had the distended nipples. And she’d show up to my campsite for breakfast, but instead of hanging out like she used to do, she’d immediately leave after eating to get back to her litter. A friend of mine — another homeless camper — told me he spotted the nest for a short time, hidden in between these big rocks, near the Greek Theater, about a mile from my campsite.
Then, about three months after Micro Scaredy gave birth, a little black feral kitten wandered into my campsite one morning. After hiding off in the distance for some time, she finally mustered the courage to approach the cat food dish. I dubbed her Nano Scaredy — the fourth in the lineage, starting with Scaredy Cat, then Mini Scaredy, then Micro Scaredy, and now Nano Scaredy.
Nano Scaredy never quite trusted me. She would often hide behind a tree and watch me, like she was studying me, trying to figure out what I was. Friend or foe.
After about two weeks she started getting a little comfortable at my campsite. She was usually waiting for me when I woke up in the morning, and she’d often call out to me, meowing for her breakfast. And every now and then she’d even dare to curl up on my blankets for a nap after she ate breakfast. She let me pet her a couple of times. But usually she would run away if I tried to approach her.
I was just starting to make arrangements to take Nano Scaredy to the vet to get her fixed, when she disappeared. Mini Scaredy — the dominant cat of the tribe of feral cats — got into some kind of territorial conflict with Nano’s mother, Micro Scaredy. And ran Micro Scaredy off. And Nano Scaredy apparently went off with her, never to be seen again.
Such is the precarious life of a feral cat.
Gone but not forgotten, Nano Scaredy.