Dry Creek Hill

Feral Cat Fridays: A Look Back At Starsky

After Starsky’s memorial of last week, here’s a more complete look at her life.

You can see that young Starsky isn’t afraid to say hello.

Starsky was always one of the more social members of our feral colony. You can see her friendly, alert character in this photo of her as a kitten, taken when she was about 6 months old. Starsky was never a dominant cat, but she drew attention by simply being attentive and pleasant to be around. In many ways, Starsky and the other members of her litter took after their mother, Fuzzy, who was one of the favorites of the colony and with us.

That expression never really changed. It just became older and wiser.

As the colony gradually became smaller Starsky came more and more to the fore. It was easier for her to define her place and settle into relationships. Most notably, she became Loretta’s buddy on walks around the property and would excitedly lead the way back to the house, eager for a post-walk treat.

Senior citizen Starsky leads the way back for a post-walk treat.

Eventually the colony was down to only 2 cats, Starsky and MiniMo. They had known each other all their lives and were both the same age, born the same spring from different, but related, mothers. Fuzzy was often the baby sitter for kittens from other litters and it wasn’t unusual to see MiniMo join Fuzzy’s litter at dinnertime. That’s MiniMo climbing over Fuzzy from the back while Starsky and her siblings nurse.

But it wasn’t until Starsky and MiniMo were the only 2 cats left that we saw them become really close. MiniMo had always been a bit of a loner and more standoffish than Starsky, but when they were the sole survivors MiniMo became more social. The 2 cats often napped together and groomed one another. MiniMo would even allow Starsky to share her favorite tarp, and that’s saying something.

Two old-timers share a summer afternoon on MiniMo’s tarp.

Now that Starsky is gone MiniMo is alone. She is gradually adjusting but it’s clear she’s lonely. After all, she was born into a large colony and has always had at least 1, and usually many more than 1, cat nearby. We’re doing all we can to keep MiniMo company but we know we’ll never replace Starsky and all of her other friends. MiniMo won’t let us touch her but she wants to rub against our legs and talk to us.

Starsky left MiniMo one delightful legacy. MiniMo got to sample and share the diet we were giving Starsky during her last months of life and she’s become accustomed to multi-course, special meals. She deserves to have those continue, and they will.

2 thoughts on “Feral Cat Fridays: A Look Back At Starsky

  1. shoreacres

    It’s fun having those first two photos to compare. Graceful aging, I’d say, although the gaze is the same. I think cats are especially fetching at about 4-6 months of age. The first photo I have of Dixie Rose was taken shortly after she came to live with me. The vet thought she was four months old. I still laugh when I look at it. Her tail still was so much longer than her body that she could wrap it well past her nose.

    It’s good that she has those special meals to look forward too. A little continuity in the midst of so much change is comforting, even for the cats.

    1. Charles Prokop Post author

      I hadn’t noticed the gaze similarities until I was putting the post together. I thought the 2 shots together captured something about about change in the midst of consistency. Starsky was very much the same as she aged, yet she was also changing dramatically as she moved more from the world of the colony to a world centered on just a few other cats and us.

      MiniMo is adjusting to her new situation and beginning to get back to her old habits. She’s starting to show a preference for more of her old food and trotting away on her rounds after she finishes eating. For a while she just wanted to stay close to us. That was very unlike MiniMo. She was always one of the more independent, prickly (and sometimes irascible) cats in the colony. It’s good to see her old spirit returning, despite the liabilities it brings.

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