Hrmmmph! She hasn’t turned on the sign yet. What’s taking her so long? I’m starving! Guess I’ll go look for ‘The Boys.’Boswell and the Boys (A True Story)
Big brother Boswell sauntered to the back yard. “Hey, Boys, where are you?”
He found them where he had left them, playing “Hide ’n’ Seek” and “Attack Cat” between the steps of an old wooden ladder lying on its side against the garage.
“Time to eat! She’ll be turning on the sign any minute now.”
He gave each kitten’s face a quick lick, smoothed their whiskers with his paws, and herded them to the front porch. As the three scampered up the steps, the invisible-except-to-cats neon sign over the front door went on and began flashing “Free Food, Free Food.”
“We hope it will be something really, really yummy,” The Boys mewed in unison.
“Well, beggars can’t be choosers! As long as she doesn’t dish up that shredded stuff…yukko! Now, don’t forget — look cute and sweet. Mew a bit when she comes out. Let her stroke our backs a little too. She seems to like that.”
The big wooden door slowly opened. The three little cats shrank back against the porch rail supports.
“What little cutie pies! You’re soooooo adorable! And such shiny little eyes! Getting pretty friendly, aren’t you! Well, here’s your supper. I ran out of cat food, so this is some of our beef stew leftovers. Eat hearty! I’ll see you in the morning for breakfast.”
The three brothers politely waited to dig in until she went back inside the house and closed the door.
“Hey, this is good!” Boswell exclaimed. “We’ve never had THIS before. The diced veggies are a nice touch, and they add a bit of color too.”
For a few minutes only smacking noises could be heard. Soon the stew was gone, the plates licked clean, and three little mouths were smeared with gravy. They washed each other’s faces to get the last morsels.
“Mmmmm, that was good,” chorused The Boys. “Maybe we should let her become our person. Then we could live indoors. We’d be cool on hot summer days and snuggy warm in the winter.”
And so it happened. The three little cats continued to charm the nice lady who, of course, continued to feed them. One late fall day she scooped them up and put them into a couple of plastic boxes with narrow slits in the sides.
After a visit to the vet, the three little cats found wonderful new homes. The nice lady with the invisible-except-to-cats neon sign adopted Boswell. Another nice lady adopted The Boys and named them Licorice and Snickers. They still play “Hide ’n’ Seek” and “Attack Cat,” but now in a large, leafy silk plant on a stairway landing. And at least twice a day Boswell sits in a window to watch his person feed hungry stray kitties with “Free Food, Free Food.”
********** AFTERWORD **********
I am the nice lady with the neon sign. Boswell joined our family which included Thomas Jefferson who lived for his first six months at a cat shelter and Rasputin who came to us as a kitten from a friend’s cat’s litter. After Boswell was rescued, we had also welcomed into our home two other strays, Wilson (who looks somewhat like Woodrow Wilson) and our first female, Little Frida Kahlo (now Little Debbie).
Boswell has been a treasure! He is probably part Maine Coon with a muscular build, long silky black fur that never tangles or musses, heavily furred pads, and a happy-go-lucky disposition. We know he was born in our garage sometime during the spring of 1999, and we saw his mom (aka “Georgia O’Keeffe”) carrying him around to various places in our large back yard. Even once he was weaned, he stuck around. We weren’t feeding either of them at that time, so they had no reason to stay. That fall, when Georgia O’Keeffe had a litter of two kittens (again, in our garage), Boswell seemed content to be their guardian and babysitter especially whenever she decided to get away for a *cough* break. We often saw the three brothers scampering around in the backyard, or, more often, the two smaller ones scampering and Boswell off to the side, watching. We named the two babies Snickers (because his coloring looked like the inside of a Snickers bar) and Licorice (for obvious reasons).
About that time, we realized we had an invisible “Free Food, Free Food” sign above our front door. It didn’t take long for this little family to find our front porch and the plates of cat food we put out for them!
Nowadays Boswell (renamed Kuro, the Japanese word for "black") is our official sentry to alert us to any strays who see our sign and come up onto the porch. He waits patiently inside the doorway as we take food out and chat a bit with our little guests, but has never tried to make a run for it (realizing, I think, how cushy he has it living with us). The nice lady who adopted Snickers and Licorice has the perfect set-up for cats—a long stairway to romp on, a large silk plant to hide in, a tropical fish tank for entertainment, homemade kitty snacks to enjoy, and big, soft beds to sleep on.
Whoever said ferals/strays cannot become gentle housecats has never met these cats!!