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Mao, mao infiltrates heart and home

GAYS MILLS - A new, furry little creature has slipped into our lives recently. It’s a small, gray cat that Thatcher has dubbed “Mao Mao.”

Last month, we had suddenly spotted this little gray cat on our lower portion of Stevenson Road.

Unfortunately, when you drive along any rural back road in Crawford County, you’re likely to see these beleaguered little creatures that we affectionately refer to as Ditch Kitties. You likely know the type—feral, sometimes with one eye crusted shut. Once in awhile, you’ll catch their glowing eyes in your headlights before they bound off into the adjacent ditch or pasture. You probably couldn’t even lure it into your car for rescue if you tried, for these kitties live a hard outdoor kitty life.

Interestingly enough, our lower half of the road hasn’t seemed to host many of these feral felines, at least not in the last couple of years that we’ve lived there. So, it was rather strange when we started seeing this little grey wisp darting around the field and roadside.

It seemed to have traveled to both of our nearby neighbors before settling on us for its family. Perhaps, it noticed we had two other fat lazy animals and thought we were running some type of home for wayward pets.

It is true that both of our pets have come to us in an unusual way, which did not involve us seeking out a companion for adoption.

Lunch, the cat, swam across the Kickapoo and braved icy snow banks to claw his way into Chasca’s heart, and later mine.  And Bud, following his master’s death, found himself living with my dad who later moved to a house in town. Which is no place for an oversized coonhound whose only pastime is barking and being in the way.

It is our assumption that someone pulled the ol’ ‘didn’t want the cat anymore so we’ll drop it off in the country’ act. If our assumptions are true, we’re really disappointed that someone would do that. It’s cold and nasty outside and Mao Mao is lucky that we let her in, because she is a small cat and would have probably died outside otherwise. In other words, don’t do that to your pets, its really crappy way for an animal to live, or die.

We have come to this conclusion because Mao Mao is ridiculously affectionate. She is not your typical skiddish ditch kitty, who wouldn’t even come near you if you were covered in wet cat food. She is in your face, kneading, purring and nuzzling to an obnoxious level and obviously had a lot of human interaction before landing herself in the ditch.

When I initially spotted the little creature in our backyard, I approached Chasca over how we should handle the kitty situation at our paws.

“Should we throw it some kibble and make it a box on the porch?” I asked tentatively.

“I already did this morning,” he responded with a slightly guilty tone to his voice, knowing the ol’ cat adage “once you feed them, you can never get rid of them.”

Later that day, the cat sang the song of its wayward feline clan at our door. This loud and proud meow caught the attention of our son who scampered over to the porch door.

Unfamiliar obviously with the concept of the cat door, which was the only thing stopping the little creature from entering, I cautiously opened the passage.

The little gray cat shot in like a bullet and immediately began scanning the room for something to eat. My son let out squeals of joy and began shouting “MAO MAO MAO MAO MAO!!!” He could hardly contain his glee. He dove for the little cat and the two began rolling around on the floor together like they were long lost friends.

This friendship continued on for several days. Mao admittedly put up with a lot from the little toddler.

I would turn my back and hear a shriek of delight come from Thatcher, only to turn back and see him carrying the poor cat by the scruff like a briefcase. Mao complied with this treatment and didn’t even seem to care when I released the vice like grip of my toddlers fist from its fur. In fact, it sat there, waiting to be clenched and drug around once more.  “Gentle Thatcher gentle!” I found myself repeating like a broken record.

Half of his delight is probably due to the fact that our other cat, Lunch, usually only comes and keeps Thatcher company when he is sick and needs loves—but also when he is too weak to harass the veteran feline.

However, now that we’ve hit about a week with the new kitty in the house, I find that it takes off running and hides in my closet when it sees Thrasher approaching.

I am partly convinced that it is much smarter than I initially thought and only put up with the harassment, while it infiltrated into our house and became a fixture we won’t probably be removing anytime soon.