Tuffy the brown feral cat

No automatic alt text available.
All the feral cats at my campsite over the years have been either black, white, or gray.  With the exception of Tuffy, the one brown cat. Tuffy was from Moo Cat’s one-and-only litter. So I guess Moo Cat was dating outside of her tribe. . . A homeless friend of mine who camps on the other side of the Berkeley hills from me ended up adopting Tuffy. Where she lived happily for many years. Until my friend had to leave town for 6 months. Tuffy immediately marched back down to my campsite where I was laying in my sleeping bag, and climbed right on top of my chest. Instantly claiming the center of my campsite as her domain. Where she remained the dominant cat of the tribe (much to Moo Cat’s chagrin). Until my friend returned to his campsite. And Tuffy returned to her rightful owner where she happily lived out her remaining days.No automatic alt text available.
No automatic alt text available.
.
Advertisements

National Feral Cat Day (October 16)

In honor of NATIONAL FERAL CAT DAY I thought I’d look back at some of my favorite feral cats, past and present, over the last 10 years.

Blondie was one of the first feral cats I hooked up with. She was already living in the bushes in the woods with two other kittens from that litter when I first showed up in 2007 (Mom had been hit by a car, so the kittens had been abandoned). Blondie was very regal and dainty. Very much the queen. She lived to be almost 10, and I never touched her or petted her once in all those years. Except for one time. I was lying on my back in my sleeping bag and out of the blue Blondie jumped up and laid down on my legs. She laid there for about 5 minutes. Like she was thinking “I ALWAYS wanted to try this.” Then jumped off and resumed her usual position sitting about 3 feet away along side me.

Image may contain: cat

Moo Cat was from Blondie’s first litter in 2008. High-strung, excitable, over-emotional, Moo Cat is the drama queen of the scene. And she’s always picking fights and stirring up trouble. But extremely affectionate. Hates all the other cats and fervently wishes it was just me and her. Often when I’m petting her she’ll get so excited she’ll slash at me with her claws. Girl can’t help it. 10 years old and going strong Moo Cat is the oldest of the tribe. All the feral cats are special to me. But I have a special bond with Moo Cat.

Image may contain: cat

Scamp is Moo Cat’s sister from the same litter. While they look alike as tuxedo cats, their personalities are polar opposites. Whereas Moo Cat is neurotic, anxious, and crazed, Scamp is always calm and self-satisfied with a master-of-reality expression on her face. A true cosmic cat. Scamp was adopted by a homeless friend of mine who lives on the other side of the hill from me, where she lives happily to this day.

Image may contain: cat

Mick and Keef were from Blondie’s second and final litter (she became infertile after that). They were a matching set who looked alike and acted alike and went everywhere together. With Keef — naturally — always one step slightly in the lead. When I left town for a year in 2013 they both disappeared from my campsite. But years later Keef would turn up several miles down the road, living happily with another homeless camper

Image may contain: cat and outdoor

Tuffy was from Moo Cat’s one-and-only litter before I had her fixed. And, like Moo Cat, she was a character. Unusually brown-colored and especially beautiful, she also ended up adopted by another homeless camper. When he left town for 6 months, Tuffy immediately marched back down to my campsite and sat down on my chest, claiming the center of my campsite as hers and declaring herself the new dominant cat of the tribe (much to Moo Cat’s righteous indignation). Eventually Tuffy returned to her owner (much to Moo Cat’s relief) until she disappeared mysteriously last year.

Image may contain: cat

After I got all the feral cats at my campsite fixed in 2013, I figured that would be the end of that and Blondie’s lineage would eventually come to a close. But then one day this battered old warhorse of a feral tom, Owl, showed up at my campsite, attracted to my cat food dish. And decided to stick around. Next thing I knew Owl had hooked up with this other newcomer to the scene, this saucy wench Feral Tammy. And they started popping out feral kittens left and right. The remaining cats at my campsite would all spring from Owl’s lineage (with Moo Cat the only holdover from Blondie’s lineage). Completely feral, I never touched him in all the years. And if I made the slightest move towards him he’d immediate step backwards. But eventually he came to trust me. And would sit contentedly near by me. A survivor of many long hard winters fending for himself, Owl passed away quietly a few years ago. But left a brood of cats for me to remember him by.

No automatic alt text available.

Feral Tammy was another one of the totally feral cats. She was already several years old before she showed up at my campsite and her feral instincts were already fully ingrained. She usually watched me warily and kept a respectful distance. But now and again she would make herself at home on my blankets. Here she is with one of her look-alike kittens, Mini Moo, who sadly didn’t make it through the winter.

Image may contain: cat, tree, outdoor and nature

Scaredy Cat was from Feral Tammy’s first litter in 2014 (along with sister Fatty and brother Crier). Scaredy Cat immediately established herself as the alpha cat at my campsite. The most intelligent of the cats with the largest vocabulary (a remarkable array of different-sounding meows) Scaredy Cat was a natural leader who the other cats naturally gravitated towards. With the exception of Moo Cat who picked a fight with her in a misguided attempt to impose his dominance, and ended up getting run out of my campsite. From that point on it would be the Scaredy lineage at my campsite (seen here with her first kitten Mini Scaredy).

Image may contain: cat

Fatty the black cat (sister of Scaredy Cat) is the softest and most gentle and least feral-like of all the cats. Fragile and dainty, she’s the most human-like of the cats. And often gives me this soulful look, like: “If only I could talk the things I could tell you.” She got run out of my campsite by the more aggressive Mini Scaredy. But at 4 years old is alive and well and living on the fringes of my campsite, usually waiting patiently every morning 30 yards down the trail, waiting for me to bring her her breakfast.

Image may contain: cat and outdoor

Mini Scaredy (along with her brother Mini Owl) was from Scaredy Cat’s first litter two years ago. Mini Scaredy has become incredibly attached to me. She waits for me to show up every night, hiding in the bushes two blocks down the road from the trail to my campsite. Then she happily trots along side me as I make my way up to my campsite. And as soon as I lay down my cardboard matting she rolls over on her back and looks up at me like “You MUST pet me now!!” Ha ha. Sleeps with me all night long. Then hangs out with me all morning right up until I finally pack up and leave. And she’s the most generous of the feral cats, regularly gifting me with a dead mouse. Mini Scaredy.

Image may contain: cat and outdoor

Mini Owl (seen here with sister Mini Scaredy) was one of the most lovable and happy and goofy of the cats. Loved to romp around and play all day long. Unlike a lot of feral cats (who you have to gradually win there trust) Mini Owl immediately attached himself to me from the first time he met me as a 2 month kitten. Mini Owl disappeared at 9 months and I missed the little guy for a long time.

Image may contain: cat

Thurston Owl the Third was from Scaredy Cat’s second litter (only 4 months after her first litter — she could really pop ’em out!). He was a dead-ringer for Mini Owl in both looks and personality — fun-loving and playful. Almost as if he was the reincarnation of Mini Owl. And like Mini Owl, he too disappeared from my campsite at 9 months.

Image may contain: cat

And last but not least, the latest addition to the tribe: Micro Scaredy (sister of Thurston Owl) was very distrustful and wary of me right up until around 7 months when she finally began to accept me. Aggressive and assertive she wakes me up every morning at 5 AM and won’t stop pestering me and haranguing me until I fix her her breakfast. Purring loudly the whole time she’s abusing me. Ha ha. She’s a hellion. She’s the third in the lineage of Scaredy cats.

Image may contain: cat
.

National Feral Cat Day

Micro Scaredy (sister of Thurston Owl) was very distrustful and wary of me right up until around 7 months when she finally began to accept me. Aggressive and assertive she wakes me up every morning at 5 AM and won’t stop pestering me and haranguing me until I fix her her breakfast. Purring loudly the whole time she’s abusing me. Ha ha. She’s a hellion. The third Scaredy of the lineage.

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Susan Fernandez Teenager Cats
1

Manage

Reply13h

Sondra London What a pose!
3

Manage

Reply12h

Roxanna Stieber Love this picture.
2

Manage

Reply12h

Jennifer Deshong She is beautiful, Ace.

Manage

Reply7h

Thurston Owl the Third was from Scaredy Cat’s second litter. He was a dead-ringer for Mini Owl in both looks and personality — fun-loving and playful. Almost as if he was the reincarnation of Mini Owl. And like Mini Owl, he too disappeared from my campsite at 9 months.

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Sondra London I miss him!
1

Manage

Like

Reply12h

Ann Sterzinger This is such a cute photo, especially photobomber kitty.
1

Manage

Reply11h

Jennifer Deshong I always loved his name. I hope he returns one day soon.
1

Manage

Like

Reply7h

Mini Owl (seen here with sister Mini Scaredy) was one of the most lovable and happy and goofy of the cats. Loved to romp around and play all day long. Unlike a lot of feral cats (who you have to gradually win there trust) Mini Owl immediately attached himself to me from the first time he met me as a 2 month kitten. Mini Owl disappeared at 9 months and I missed the little guy for a long time.

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Cheri Ahonen He was special.
2

Manage

Reply14hEdited

Sondra London Another great portrait!
1

Manage

Reply14h

Susan Foley I’m thinking these little toms went off on their own to establish territories. They might be perfectly fine. That is what I hope.

Manage

Reply1h

Ace Backwords I think you might be right. Most of the males seem to disappear right around before they turn one. And in the 10 years I’ve been camping here it’s always been female cats who hung around. With the one exception being the male Owl.

Manage

Reply1m

Mini Scaredy (along with her brother Mini Owl) was from Scaredy Cat’s first litter two years ago. Mini Scaredy has become incredibly attached to me. She waits for me to show up every night, hiding in the bushes two blocks down the road from the trail to my campsite. Then she happily trots along side me as I make my way up to my campsite. And as soon as I lay down my cardboard matting she rolls over on her back and looks up at me like “You MUST pet me now!!” Ha ha. Sleeps with me all night long. Then hangs out with me all morning right up until I finally pack up and leave. And she’s the most generous of the feral cats, regularly gifting me with a dead mouse. Mini Scaredy.

Image may contain: cat and outdoor
Comments
Sondra London She’s interested in your doings.
1

Manage

Reply12h

Fatty (sister of Scaredy Cat) is the softest and most gentle and least feral-like of all the cats. Fragile and dainty, she’s the most human-like of the cats. And often gives me this soulful look, like: “If only I could talk the things I could tell you.” She got run out of my campsite by the more aggressive Mini Scaredy. But at 4 years old is alive and well and living on the fringes of my campsite, usually waiting patiently every morning 30 yards down the trail, waiting for me to bring her her breakfast.

Image may contain: cat and outdoor
Comments
Claire Wylde She is awesome and very wise.
1

Manage

Reply14hEdited

Roxanna Stieber I just love black kitties. So sweet and soft. 4 of mine are black. 
1

Manage

Reply12h

Jennifer Deshong Fatty is slender. I love black cats!

Manage

Reply7h

Scaredy Cat was from Feral Tammy’s first litter in 2014 (along with sister Fatty and brother Crier). Scaredy Cat immediately established herself as the alpha cat at my campsite. The most intelligent of the cats with the largest vocabulary (a remarkable array of different-sounding meows) Scaredy Cat was a natural leader who the other cats naturally gravitated towards. With the exception of Moo Cat who picked a fight with her in a misguided attempt to impose his dominance, and ended up getting run out of my campsite. From that point on it would be the Scaredy lineage at my campsite (seen here with her first kitten Mini Scaredy).

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Claire Wylde Great photo.
1

Manage

Reply14h

Ace Backwords Keenly maternal look on Mom protecting her baby.
3

Manage

Reply14h

Jillian Bee Moo cat is a male?!
1

Manage

Reply12h

Ace Backwords replied1 Reply
Joe Workman “You have treats? We were told there’d be treats, mister.”
1

Manage

Reply6h

Feral Tammy was another one of the totally feral cats. She was already several years old before she showed up at my campsite and her feral instincts were already fully engrained. She usually watched me warily and kept a respectful distance. But now and again she would make herself at home on my blankets. Here she is with one of her look-alike kittens who sadly didn’t make it through the winter.

Image may contain: cat, tree, outdoor and nature
Comments
Marcella Evans Awww… Mini Moo had the cutest face in Feral Cat Land xx
2

Manage

Reply9h

After I got all the feral cats at my campsite fixed in 2013, I figured that would be the end of that and Blondie’s lineage would eventually come to a close. But then one day this battered old warhorse of a feral tom — who I named Owl — showed up at my campsite, attracted to my cat food dish. And decided to stick around. Next thing I knew Owl had hooked up with this saucy wench who I named Feral Tammy. And they started popping out feral kittens left and right. The remaining 

See More

No automatic alt text available.
Comments
Fred Rinne He was a Cat among Cats!
1

Manage

Reply16h

Reply15h

Arrow Olesky the universal donor
1

Manage

Reply14h

Ace Backwords Seen here with his daughter Scaredy Cat.

Manage

Reply14h

Tuffy was from Moo Cat’s one-and-only litter before I had her fixed. And, like Moo Cat, she was a character. Unusually brown-colored and especially beautiful, she also ended up adopted by another homeless camper. When he left town for 6 months, Tuffy immediately marched back down to my campsite and sat down on my chest, claiming the center of my campsite as hers and declaring herself the new dominant cat of the tribe (much to Moo Cat’s righteous indignation). Eventually Tuffy returned to her owner (much to Moo Cat’s relief) until she disappeared mysteriously last year.

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Brenda Perry Sincerely, I’m exhausted being the street Person, I’m tired
1

Manage

Reply15h

Sondra London gorgeous!
1

Manage

Reply15h

Mona Lee Abbott Beautiful color!
1

Manage

Reply13h

Jennifer Deshong Wow, such a unique color. Very beautiful.

Manage

Reply7h

Mick and Keef were from Blondie’s second and final litter (she became infertile after that). They were a matching set who looked alike and acted alike and went everywhere together. With Keef — naturally — always one step slightly in the lead. When I left town for a year in 2013 they both disappeared from my campsite. But years later Keef would turn up several miles down the road living happily with another homeless camper

Image may contain: cat and outdoor
Comments
Farmer Georg Might have been identical twins. A litter can have different daddies or same dads or some same and others another or some same others others or well I will stop here. in any litter there can once in a rare while have identical twins or…..
3

Manage

Reply15h

Brenda Perry replied1 Reply
Matthew Thompson it’d be cool if you drew up a family tree of your cats.
4

Manage

Reply15h

Farmer Georg ACE do draw up a tree

Manage

Reply1h

Farmer Georg How many generations back can you go?

Manage

Reply1h

Scamp is Moo Cat’s sister from the same litter. While they look alike as tuxedo cats, they’re personalities are polar opposites. Whereas Moo Cat is neurotic and anxious, Scamp is always calm and self-satisfied with a master-of-reality grin on her face. A true cosmic cat. Scamp was adopted by a homeless friend of mine who lives on the other side of the hill from me, where she lives happily to this day.

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Joaquin Ferguson looks like the Phantom of the Opera
2

Manage

Reply15h

Moo Cat was from Blondie’s first litter in 2008. High-strung, excitable, over-emotional, Moo Cat is the drama queen of the scene. And she’s always picking fights and stirring up trouble. But extremely affectionate. Hates all the other cats and fervently wishes it was just me and her. Often when I’m petting her she’ll get so excited she’ll slash at me with her claws. Girl can’t help it. 10 years old and going string Moo Cat is the oldest of the tribe. All the feral cats are special to me. But I have a special bond with Moo Cat.

Image may contain: cat
Comments
Michael Connor Is this the one that bangs his daughters?

Manage

Reply16h

John B. Krug I think Moo Cat looks like the inspiration for Sylvester, the cartoon cat…. Which reminds me, when are you going to sketch out a Berzerkley feral cat comic book??? I’m sure you have enough images and plot narratives to work with!!! LOL!!

Manage

Reply15h

In honor of NATIONAL FERAL CAT DAY I’m gonna remember some of my favorite feral cats.

Blondie was one of the first feral cats I hooked up with. She already was living in the woods with two other kittens from that litter when I first showed up in 2007. Blondie was very regal and dainty. Very much the queen. She lived to be almost 10, and I never touched her or petted her once in all those years. Except for one time. I was lying on my back in my sleeping bag and out of the blue Blondie jumped up and laid down on my legs. She laid there for about 5 minutes. Like she was thinking “I ALWAYS wanted to try this.” Then jumped off and resumed her usual position sitting about 3 feet away along side me.

Image may contain: cat

October 16, NATIONAL FERAL CAT DAY. Celebrate responsibly.

Image may contain: cat and outdoor

Bizarre weather last night at my campsite. These powerful winds blasting all across the Berkeley hills. The tree branches swaying madly back and forth creating this booming sound. And it went on all night long (by the morning I was covered in leaves and dirt and branches).

And it was this witchy, warm tropical wind. It was so warm I had to take off my jackets, hats and gloves. And I was STILL hot. This balmy, sweaty heat. I tossed and turned all night long feeling slightly crazed from this strange pressure in the air.

Mini Scaredy took it in stride. But Micro Scaredy freaked out. Periodically she’d get spooked by the booming winds and the crashing tree branches, and she’d run down the hill in a panic. Only to find it was just as windy down there. So she’d run back up to my campsite and nestle on my chest, like “SAVE ME!! SAVE ME!!” (And usually she acts like such a tough guy — sheesh)

The next morning the cats were still freaked out. Mini and Micro were eating at the food dish when Moo Cat comes charging up the hill, runs right past the two cats, and then cowered behind me (she had never done anything like THAT before). Then Moo faced off against the other two cats, snarling fiercely (the other two cats just stared at her like “What’s gotten into THAT bitch??”).

Then later Mini and Micro climbed up on a long tree branch and got into a screeching, slashing cat-fight. Weird.

Witchy weather does weird things to the wild critters.

Scaredy Cat and Fatty, and the daily soap opera that is life in Feral Catland

1539713763213119752882.jpg
Scaredy Cat and Fatty, in happier times.

1539713566735139342820.jpg

The population of the tribe of feral cats at my campsite usually ranges from about 5 to 10 cats. This number of cats has afforded me a look at many of the “social” aspects of cats. How they interact and relate to their fellow cats.

And the social dynamics can usually get as complex and convoluted as a tribe of humans. And, as with human relationships, they have friends and enemies and rivals and lovers and acquaintances and sibling relationships, and etc.

Scaredy and Fatty are a case in point. Two sisters from the same litter four years ago. For their first two years they were best friends and inseparable companions. Sleeping together, romping in the woods together, licking and grooming each other, etc.

But then after Scaredy Cat’s first kitten was born — Mini Scaredy — a change gradually took place in their relationship. Mini Scaredy asserted herself as Scaredy Cat’s new best friend and inseparable companion. And it was the age-old story: “Two’s company, three’s a crowd.” And Fatty was gradually ostracized by the tribe. And eventually run out of my campsite by Mini Scaredy — who was much more aggressive and athletic than the passive Fatty.

Sadly, even Scaredy Cat would sometimes take part in the ostracism and run Fatty down the hill and up a tree. Though I always felt her heart wasn’t really in it. She had simply thrown her lot in with Mini Scaredy and was going along with her program.

Still, I remembered how close Fatty and Scaredy Cat had once been. And would feel bad for Fatty when I’d see her roaming like a pariah, alone and lonely on the outskirts of my campsite. Life is a soap opera I guess.  Even for feral cats.

15397135363471462456888.jpg

15397135154771462667261.jpg

Sunday night in the deep dark woods

Image may contain: sky, tree, cat, outdoor and nature

 

Had a bit of a tense scene last night as I stumbled up to my campsite in the Berkeley hills. The woods were pitch dark — some nights you can actually see fairly well when the moon and stars are out, but this was one of those nights where you couldn’t see the hand in front of your face. Which added a spooky vibe to the situation.

I dumped out my blankets onto the ground with a loud thud. Followed by a voice coming from the darkness saying “Hello?”

At least that’s what I THOUGHT I heard. Sometimes your mind can play tricks on you in the deep dark woods. Every little sound can inspire waves of paranoia.

So I waited 5 minutes, sitting there quietly. And then I made another thudding sound. “Hello?” came the voice again. Yep. There was definitely somebody lurking out there somewhere in the darkness. Wonderful.

So I waited another 5 minutes. Then I hurled one of the cat food dishes down the hill like a frisbee. It made loud clunking noises as it bounced down the hill. “HELLO??” said the voice again, and this time with more urgency.

From the direction the sound was coming from I could tell pretty much exactly where they were. There are only a couple of spots in the entire area where I camp, after all, where the ground was level enough to set up a little campsite. And they were far enough away from me — and with enough thick brush and trees between them and me — that it would be very difficult to get to me, and they would make enough noise to wake me up if they tried to sneak up on me when I was sleeping (if they could even find me in the darkness). Which is all I really cared about. There had been a rock concert at the Greek Theater last night so I just figured they were a couple a youngsters who decided to continue the party through the night and then drive home in the morning

So I fed my goddamn feral cats (who had been perplexed as to why I had been sitting there in the darkness for 15 minutes completely frozen and not making a sound). And then rolled over and went peacefully to sleep.

But that’s just how I am. I always want to make sure I got all the angles covered before I relax. . . It’s probably why I made it to 61.

.
.