Editor’s Note: Today is National Feral Cat Day, a good time for Community Manager Lori Malm to tell all you Catster readers the story of the feral cat we hear about almost daily at HQ — Cow.
I live a half a block from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. As a result, I have had several critters come to the house over the years: raccoons, squirrels, hummingbirds, a bat … and Cow, a feral cat, who came and never left.
I first became aware of Cow (short for Cowboy or Cowgirl), as I came to call him, because of his cow-like markings, when I heard crunching noises coming from the direction of where I kept the dog’s food. When I got up to investigate, a streak of black and white ran past me and out the back door. A few weeks later, he was coming around regularly to eat the dog’s food, so I purchased cat food and started leaving it for him outside.
I learned from someone at the SF SPCA that Cow was most likely a feral from a colony of cats at the park. His left ear has been cropped, indicating that he was part of San Francisco’s trap-neuter-return program.
I’d been feeding Cow for a few months when he started coming into to house specifically to cozy up to my Basset Hound, Lucy. Cow grew to love Lucy and called on her every morning by meowing until she stirred, and rubbing against her, purring loudly. While he loved to be near Lucy, Cow would not let me near him. If I got too close, he would run back outside.
When Lucy passed about a year later, Cow stopped coming into the house. He still came by to eat, but he would glare at me and hiss, as if to say, "What did you do with my dog?"
When I failed as a foster and adopted my one-eyed Pekingese, Beasley, it wasn’t long before Cow took notice. In only a few months time, he was back in the house, making friends with her. He would meow for her every morning until she got up to greet him, and then he would nudge her and rub up against her, purring as they walked through the house together.
Little by little, Cow made his way back inside, toward the back of the house. He positioned himself on the carpet in the hallway, just outside the bedroom door, where he could see Beasley lying in her bed. Before long, he was sleeping in the same spot at night so he could greet her every morning when she got up to go outside.
Beasley tolerates Cow’s affections, but sometimes his obsessive doting annoys her and she will do her best to avoid him. Other times, she goes out of her way to seek him out, usually during feeding time, when she will try and eat his food.
A few months ago, I woke before the sun came up and found Cow sleeping with Beasley in her bed.
I’ve moved Cow’s food into the house and bought a bigger bed for my odd pair, with the hope that someday Cow will make room for a snuggle with me.
This is what I wake up to on a typical morning at my house. Do you think there’s room in that big bed for me, too?
Lori Malm is Catster and Dogster’s Community Manager.