When I sat down to make my weekly plans on Monday, I sure didn’t have anything in there about “building a cat shelter” or “buying a bale of straw” but that’s exactly what I did! Because somehow, as we shift from the beauty of yellow leaves cascading against a blue autumn sky into the dull grey darkness of November rain, a cat has found her way into our backyard.
At first we spotted what looked like a furry egg on our deck furniture. A mostly white cat was curled up in a ball, sleeping. Other than “how sweet,” we didn’t think much of it. If a neighbourhood cat wants to nap in our backyard, they are welcome. But the next night, a quintessential “November in Toronto” night (i.e. cold, dark, rainy),the kind of night when all good kittens should be tucked in and cozy, she was there again. All night. Was she lost? Abandoned? Wild? We put one of our cat beds out to help her stay warm. She liked it.
I posted a picture on Facebook and eighbours said it was an outdoor cat that lives on the street behind us. The next day we discovered that no, this little boo as not Tallulah. So, we built a shelter. We snagged the last two Styrofoam coolers from the hardware store and cut into one of our bins. We lined our cozy fortress with a thick towel. It was the best thing we had on hand, though straw is recommended.
The next day promised snow so I was determined to find some straw. Apparently it wicks away moisture that the cat might bring in, keeping them drier and warmer than fabrics. Thanks to a lead from a local stray cat volunteer, I headed to the garden centre, confident I’d be able to carry a bale of straw on the bus. Not a chance! The bundle was half the size of me! Luckily a kindhearted taxi driver agreed to take me and the straw home. When he heard what I was using it for, he said, “God bless you.” “You too!” I said. “You are helping this happen. I was about to give up hope!”
My sister Suzie helped me fill the cat shelter with hay before the snow fell. Thank goodness! Though I’m not sure it matters because apparently Boo, as we’ve decided to call her, really likes the cat cubby.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with this little one. I can’t bring her inside because of our three. I’m not sure she could be convinced anyway. When I open the back door she still runs and scrambles up the fence. But I do think we’re building a relationship, bit by bit, and as long as I can figure out a way to help her, I will.
I didn’t know that I had a covenant with cats but it seems that I do. They keep showing up on my doorstep.