Toree’s Stories: A terrific tale of two kitties at Lake Tahoe
A few years ago, a long-haired black cat was spotted in my neighborhood. Cats are elusive creatures, so it took us awhile to realize that he was homeless and perhaps in need of help.
He was not approachable, but he found a place of sorts with my neighbor, Jacquie, on the outdoor platform bed she had on her deck under an awning.
He would also slip into her garage through the small kitty door and help himself to the cat food she had in there for her own cats. She began calling him “Scrapper.”
We decided to have him checked out and vaccinated so we borrowed a trap from Animal Control and quickly captured him.
He went to Reno to the shelter and stayed the week, to see if anyone might claim him, which no one did, so I had my daughter collect him and bring him back to Incline. Hoping for the best, I brought the cage inside and opened the door.
Scrapper decided that my large orange cat, Felix, was going to be his companion so he began a campaign to befriend him. It took Scrapper about a week of moving himself progressively closer to Felix, until they were finally snuggling together and they are now inseparable.
Perhaps a year after Scrapper wormed his way into my household, the neighborhood began noticing another long-haired black cat roaming the streets. This one spent time on Tomahawk Trail before making his way to War Bonnet, where he gravitated to Jacquie’s house, and her inviting garage where the yummy cat food was served.
Unfortunately, he was not accepting of the other cats, and would pick fights; perhaps trying to claim Jacquie’s garage as his own territory.
He was so fierce, that Jacquie called him the anti-Scrapper, who had peacefully mingled with her cats. Not so with this one — fur would go flying. Indeed, one day the anti-Scrapper burst into Jacquie’s house from the deck and picked a fight with her cat under the table, until they were able to shoo him out.
The anti-Scrapper would come to my house, challenging my cats through the window. Jacquie and I were wondering what to do about this marauding cat — when suddenly, there was peace.
We assumed that he had either gone home, or perhaps been eaten by coyotes. Until one day another neighbor asked me about him. In a sense, he had gone home — he had taken up residence in the carport of my next-door neighbors, Courtney and Evan Carsman.
In the carport, deep in the back and up on a ledge, was a mattress stored there for use on outdoor furniture. It was safe and dry and relatively warm, and the black cat decided it was “home.”
Courtney noticed him there and wondered about him, talking to him. As time went on, he became bolder and more trusting. One day, as she drove up, he was sitting in front of the carport, moving to his perch in the back only as the car came closer.
Evan found three dead chipmunks lined up on the side of the house, and assumed it was the cat’s bounty — perhaps he was saving it for later.
Evan and Courtney thought that the cat was probably keeping the mouse population down, and decided that having a cat might not be so bad. They began calling him “Hunter.”
It became clear that he was claiming the carport as his home so they had to decide what to do with him, if anything. Courtney and Evan had grown fond of him — his yellow eyes peering out at them from his perch — but Courtney is allergic to cats, and cannot let him into the house.
Courtney finally asked me about the black cat and showed me where he had been staying.
I was happy to learn that anti-Scrapper had found a safe place; Courtney and Evan did not feel that they could turn him out, now that he had “chosen” them so I offered to help them set up an outdoor nest for him, complete with a cat bed, a litter box, and food he doesn’t have to catch.
It remains to be seen, but I suspect Hunter will not be as actively seeking to fight the other cats in the neighborhood, which probably stemmed more from trying to find his place, rather than an aggressive tendency.
It took him two years, and many visits around the neighborhood, but Hunter has found a home.
Toree Warfield is an avid nature lover, and writes this column to teach and stimulate interest in the marvels that surround us. Visit saveourplanetearth.com to read columns and to find links to bird song recordings, additional photos and other content.