Feral Cat Fridays: The Day of Rue
Rue emerged from the woods surrounding our clearing accompanied by another kitten of about the same age. We assume they were littermates, but we have no idea who their mother might have been. We know Rue’s mother was not a member of the colony. The females of kitten-bearing age had been spayed by the time Rue arrived.
Although we had seen many more feral cats than we wanted and were ruing the day Rue arrived, that is not how he got his name. Rue and his littermate made a bee-line for the Salvia Greggii, called Autumn Sage or Texas Sage by many people, and his littermate was christened Sage. The picture below was taken soon after they arrived, perhaps on their first day. If you look carefully, you can barely see a red Salvia bloom or two on the plant in the right side of the photo. That’s Sage licking his paw while Rue eats.
We selected Rue as a complementary name to Sage, although I can’t deny that unconscious forces may have impelled us in that direction. After all, Rue is hardly the first herb or spice that comes to mind.
Rue was as spirited and attentive as his ears suggest. In fact, we paid extra when we had him neutered so they would not tip his ear because they seemed to be such an integral part of his personality. While other cats might rest comfortably on the deck or watch the show in the yard, Rue seemed to always be on guard duty.
The self-satisfied brown tabby behind Rue is Bobby. Stoney and Duff have their heads stuck through the deck rails.
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- Hill Country Roadside Park
At first, I wondered if ‘Rue’ was a shortened nickname for Ruellia. There’s a species of the flower, Ruellia drummondiana, that’s native to both Kerr and Bandera counties. Your kitty Rue seems as perky as the flower, that’s for sure.
I’d never put Rue and Ruellia together, but it would make sense in several ways. You can’t see it in the photo of Rue eating, but a few feet away there is a small bed of dwarf Ruellia. We’ve grown the full-sized and the dwarf cultivars at various times, and they are beautiful, low maintenance additions to the landscape. Our dwarf Ruellia lives with minimal care – just a little water every now and then when we’re filling the cat (and raccoon, skunk, possum, etc.) water bowl nearby. The purple flowers are beautiful, and the deer leave it alone unless their browse is under severe drought stress.