Feral Cat Fridays: MiniMo Marches On
After mentioning MiniMo several times I thought I should introduce her, starting with her name.
MiniMo is short for Mini-Mosby. She is the daughter and doppelgänger of Mosby, a solid gray cat. MiniMo was born in what we came to think of as the summer of kittens, the season that made it obvious that we had to do something to control the feral population on and around our property. We began our TNR program after that summer and no more kittens were born to any of the cats in our colony. The only kittens we added were brought in by cats we had never seen before. The new residents were trapped and neutered as quickly as possible.
MiniMo has always had a prickly personality, both around us and other cats. At the same time, she has always wanted some company, as long as it is on her terms. She likes us to be near and will rub against our legs and purr, but woe be unto us if we try to pet her. She’s fast on the draw. But she only gives us a light pat, often without claws, as if to say “I don’t want to have to do this again, so keep your hands to yourself.”
She’s a real survivor. Not only is she now nearly 12 years old and the last cat from the colony, she’s had several close calls. We’ve seen her fall from trees and our roof, bounce, and get up none the worse for wear. But her worst experience was with a band of marauding raccoons.
One night we were awakened by the wailing of a cat outside. We discovered MiniMo under the shed deck, cornered and under attack by raccoons. We chased the raccoons away, but it took weeks for her to recover. We left flood lights on in the yard all night to discourage wild animals and tended to MiniMo as much as she would allow. When she was able to jump onto the deck rail again I put up what I thought would be a temporary small shelf for her to sit on. That shelf became her favorite spot.
That “temporary” shelf is still there, just like MiniMo. She’ll always have her place with us and we’ll do our best to be her colony. She may be a bit prickly but she’s earned the right.
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She certainly looks like my friend’s Russian blue. She has some of the same color, and the same eyes. As for behavioral traits, she and Dixie Rose resemble one another. Dixie sat in my lap exactly once in eighteen years. She stayed for about five minutes, jumped down, and that was it. Apparently she’d tried it, and didn’t like it. Dixie didn’t want to be picked up, either, but she always wanted to be close. The word you used to describe MiniMo — prickly — is just right.
After finding the Inland Sea oOats growing here and there, I’d wondered if they might do well in a pot. Obviously, the answer’s ‘yes.’
Dixie Rose sounds a lot like Taylor, the calico we had for 20 years, although Taylor eventually became a lap and bed cat. She had always had her dog for company until he died and we began our full-time RV years soon thereafter. Taylor handled the changes by becoming much closer to us. I still remember the first morning in our RV. I awoke to find her sitting on my chest, staring into my face. I’d never seen her that close for that long before. She even started to like being carried around the house and held so she could watch out the window, as long a you set her down when she asked.
Those Inland Sea Oats have been happy in that pot for years. They die back in the winter and come back reliably every spring. It’s a large pot and I expect that helps moderate the effect of cold weather on the root system.
You’ve reminded me of another of Dixie’s habits. Although she wouldn’t sit in my lap, when I went to bed, she’d come in, jump on my chest, and knead for a while. Then, she’d go off to her own bed. My theory was that she had control issues. She knew that as long as I was prone, she could get close without risk.
I’m willing to go along with your theory. When we first took Taylor to the vet we were asked if she “had the calico personality.” We asked, and the vet said she had found calicos to be assertive and wanting control. That fit Taylor, and it sounds like it fit Dixie, too.