To long ago already I promised you to share more about Poppy, the ‘stray’ cat that lives in our garden. Since I wrote part two of her story, also in April, she has become very ill. As we speak I am nursing her inside our home hoping she will recover. I feel now it is time to share more of sweet Poppy.
Poppy has been living with us now for almost five years.
When I think back I remembered that we sometimes saw Poppy in the garden. As soon as she heard or saw us she ran away and hide. The first spring she was around Eric and I were devastated because she hunted and ate all the young birds in the garden. We used to have all kinds of birds around. So we decided to leave some cat kibble outside.
‘Little by little Poppy melted’
Maybe it would stop her from eating the birds. (How funny we were back then). It would also be healthy for her because she didn’t look too good.
Little by little Poppy melted. At first she was a ghost walking around. When we thought we saw a glimpse of her she vanished even more quickly. Gradually she got used to us and to the delicious food. She didn’t like touching though for a very long time. I have felt her claws more than I like. Our contact grew and changed. She started to like stroking on her back now and then.
Things changed suddenly when Blackie made his appearance. Blackie is our second stray cat. We caught Blackie in the act when he was sleeping in our henhouse at night. At first we chased him away, there were enough cats in our life, and he was already the 13th stray cat that crossed our path, but in the end Blackie also found his way to our heart.
Poppy was doing really well, so discovering Blackie made us worry about what it would do to the situation. Poppy didn’t like him a bit. And also Eric thought we had enough cats around. In the end Blackie won.
One summer I couldn’t resist Blackie when he jumped on my lap. Seeing Blackie enjoying the sunshine on my lap Poppy got jealous. I wouldn’t believe animals could be jealous but seeing Poppy’s jealousy it surprised me. It took some time, but finally Poppy discovered the luxury of being on someone’s lap too.
The trust in each other has grown bigger and bigger over time and just last fall I could put my arms around Poppy and hold her. It made me feel so happy. One day she might get sick and I need to handle her to take her to a vet.
To make it comfortable for Poppy and Blackie we rebuilt the old henhouse into a sleeping place for them, with separate bedrooms. They live outdoors all year around and get a thick warm coat in winter. I love it when they play together in the snow, running around like mad cats.
Poppy keeps amazing me. She will always be on her guard around people, but I don’t think the progress has stopped. Cats do have an amazing capability to learn new things. From wild cat Poppy has turned into a purring sweetheart. From running away and hiding herself she has changed into my shadow. When she hears waking up sounds from the house in the morning she is at the kitchen door.
Poppy has chosen to be with us and our love for each other makes her change. It wouldn’t be fair anymore to call poppy a ‘stray’ cat. She isn’t, she is a member of our little family. I know there will be a day that there is more room in our house and Poppy and Blackie will be living inside if they like to.