When I first posted “The Man With The Can” I had no idea my story would continue for so long, or take the twists and turns it has taken. It just goes to show, you never know. Here’s some brief background.
Fifteen years or sixteen years ago, I adopted a gray kitten from Ed’s parents’. I thought the kitten was a male, but it turned out to be a female. I named her “Trouble”, and she’s lived up to her name. Flash forward a few years…”Trouble” is a ‘loner’, couldn’t stand the other[shelter] cats I adopted, and eventually left home, ending up back at Ed’s parents’ house. By then, our youngest son, Brad, was living with Ed’s elderly, widowed, mom, so he took care of “Trouble”. Flash forward a few more years…Ed’s mom entered an assisted living facility, subsequently passed away, Brad got married and moved away. “Trouble” stayed behind, living at Ed’s parents’ house, where she’s been living alone (or should I say without humans?) for the past three years or so. My husband, Ed, goes to the house and feeds her every afternoon. He’s “the man with the can.”
Now, even though “Trouble” is a ‘loner’, somehow, stray cats manage to keep making themselves at home around her–at least for a little while. The latest newcomer is a large, young black male cat. He showed up, starving, so, of course, Ed fed him. He’s been hanging around for the past 3 or 4 months, even though our oldest son has tried to entice him to stay at his house.
About a month ago, Ed and I saw a black carcass on the side of the busy highway that runs in front of Ed’s parents’ house. Our hearts sank, since we both just knew the black cat was dead. Later, that day, Ed took a shovel, intending to remove the cat’s carcass off the highway and bury it. Imagine his surprise when he discovered the carcass belonged to a skunk! Now here’s where this story takes an interesting turn.
A few days ago, Ed ran into his brother, who’s also our neighbor, and they began talking about this and that. In the course of the conversation, the subject of the black cat came up. It turned out that “Black Kitty” belongs to Ed’s brother and his wife!
You see, a couple of years ago, there were five kittens, belonging to a feral cat who’d been living at Ed’s parents’ house, along with “Trouble”. The feral cat left, and gave birth to her kittens underneath our son’s house, which is located near by. After about 3 weeks, something happened to the mama cat, leaving behind five very tiny kittens, not quite old enough to fend for themselves. Ed was doing the best he could, feeding them softened canned cat food, when, one day, an old red tom cat showed up and literally carried all five kittens into a thicket that grows in the middle of the family farm. We later found one of the kittens at Ed’s parents’ house, and were able to rescue and adopt it. I named her “Baby”.
It turned out that three of the four other kittens found their way to Ed’s brother’s house (I suspect with the help of that red tom cat), and were adopted by Ed’s brother and his wife. All three kittens turned out to be males, and, eventually, the strongest and meanest of the three ran the others off, which explains why “Black Kitty” is hanging out at Ed’s parents’ house!
In thinking back, when “Baby” was still a kitten, a black kitten showed up at our house, one weekend. The kitten and “Baby” spent all weekend playing together, outside, then I saw the strangest thing happen. I saw that same red tom cat [who’d stolen the kittens before] sneak into our yard, pick the black kitten up, and drag him off, toward my BIL’s house! I’ll bet that little black kitten was “Black Kitty”, and, apparently, the red tom cat wanted him to go “home”.
Epilogue: It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen the red tom cat. He used to come and join “Trouble” for supper, occasionally, but now he doesn’t. I’ve often wondered where he is, and thought about how he “mothered” all those little abandoned kittens, for a time. I believe there are angels among us, in all forms. How about you?