Monday, June 25, 2012

Sonata and Solo

I was in no way prepared for the surprises I got at the park last week, or the hunger of the cats that showed up at the park to be fed. 

Nearly all of the kibble bowls we leave behind for the cats were licked clean.  When the bowls are licked clean like that, it means either one of two things to us - either a stray dog has come through and found the food (but usually you can tell if it's a dog, because the bowl will be upside down or something canine crazy like that), or for one reason or another, the cats are extraordinarily hungry and there are more cats feeding.  Judging by the way the cats were behaving, and the dissonant chorus of mewing as I laid the plates out to be filled every morning, I think this week the cats were really hungry. 

They are going through more food than ever!

This week at the park we had as diners: Agamemnon, Strike, Blabby, Greyboy, Baby, Moonpie, Mustafa, Petey, the cat we thought was Braveheart ( but we have our doubts anymore, and now we call her Wanda), Coral, and also Baby's kittens who came down from the hill to test the waters - (we have counted a total of four kittens for Baby now), and a few cats up top we didn't recognize.

The cat we thought was Braveheart, but we don't think so anymore.  Now we call her Wanda.

Baby and three of her four kittens

 Baby's kittens have been venturing close to the table and enjoying a little soft food, too.


I didn't mention Gunther, because he has in the last two weeks migrated up to the apartments to eat.  He disappeared for about 5 days recently, and I was terribly concerned until one morning Nik called me down at the park from the apartments, and said Gunther was there.  Phew.  That was a relief.  Of course we have missed him on the table top.  We are not sure why he has migrated up there.

Gunther, formerly getting a tan at the park, now is doing his sunbathing up at the apartments

And then, you could have knocked me over with a feather, when on Wednesday, I sensed another cat behind me, and I turned around and saw Sonata.  


We have next to no pictures of Sonata, because she is a cat we normally feed up at the apartments, and we simply don't have many opportunities to take pictures while there, because we try desperately  not to attract attention for the safety of the cats.  Many people who live and weekend up there think of the cats as a nuisance.

That's Sonata, on the right, in a rare picture from the apartments

Sweet Sonata

Sonata is Solo's littermate.  Solo is our precious pet cat we picked up and adopted from the apartments last summer when she was just a kitten, after we saw that the kitten she had been inseperable from until then had been hit by a car.

Solo as a kitten, the night we picked her up last summer

Last summer there were many kittens there at the apartments, many of them long haired tabbies like Sonata and Solo.  And then slowly they started disappearing. After we found Solo's playmate hit by a car in the road, every time we drove by the apartments after that we would look and see Solo sitting by her lonesome next to an ancient food bowl someone had put out; she was one of the last kittens left.  (We know the cleaning ladies had at one time been feeding kittens there, but we didn't see any evidence of feeding anymore.)  I couldn't bear it any longer, and one night when Nik was working late at his second job, I went down there with a carrier and told myself, pretty inexperienced at the time, "If she runs I will let her go; if she doesn't put up a struggle I will  bring her home." Well, she purred the minute I picked her up and the entire way home, and she continued purring as I sat down with her in the guest bedroom.  We fell madly in love.  She looked just like a ragamuffin.  And she had the craziest big furry paws.  She had worms, earmites, fleas, and a terrible case of ringworm.  I was so glad I had gotten her. 

Solo is a treasure

Solo really inspired me artistically, and I drew many pictures of her:

"Crazy Feet" was an ode to Solo's remarkable paws
This one I called "Classical Solo" because it seemed she walked on music and air

Here Solo was sleeping sweetly

 Here I drew Solo as the Ragamuffin kitten she was at the time

So when we discovered months later during a feeding that there remained a Solo lookalike at the apartments, we felt a special connection to her immediately, as we knew this was one of Solo's long lost littermates.  One major difference though is that Sonata is completely feral, and as yet we have been unable to get her anywhere near a trap for altering.

Sonata showed up at the park twice last week.  Why was she there?  Is something going on at the apartments?  Is it all the new people there for summer vacation?  Too many new cats?  Bullying?  We don't know.  Is she perhaps, like Mustafa, migrating?  Did she have her kittens near by?  We know she knows Mustafa, because she used to play with Mustafa and his littermate Lionel last winter when they were small kittens.  It was cute.  She looked like the young adolescent babysitting the younger kittens.  We were glad then to see Sonata had some friends.

Mustafa, above, and Sonata used to play together at the apartments, though Mustafa is a several months younger

Sonata is a cat that holds a special place in our hearts since we have her sister.  We really would like to be able to trap her and alter her and get her to a safe haven, but that has proved to be a challenge. 

Solo, Sonata's littermate today

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