I’m out the door at dawn. Robin can’t understand that it doesn’t help to rub against the storm door while it’s opening and the rest of the cats don’t think it’s fair that the hummingbirds get their feeders hung before cat breakfast time. I’d leave the hummingbird feeders up all night, but the raccoons drain them every time I forget to bring them in.
I hang the feeders, go back into the house for the cat food, and return to the deck. The railbirds are lined up on the deck rail next to the door and I feed them first. A pile of food in front of each cat works fine until Hutch starts to climb Mini-Mo’s butt. I redistribute the cats by going to the end of the line and working back.
Next it’s time to attend to the boiling mass of cats around my feet. Foreman keeps head butting everybody as I dole out piles of food, but everyone settles down after enough piles are delivered. At least Foreman hasn’t butted the skunk. The skunk gets one of the last few piles and I gingerly step around her (or his?) spot.
I make a quick delivery of the first (already filled) tray and a few piles for the more patient railbirds at the far end of the deck and go back into the house for a refill.
I fill the two trays on the side deck as I head for the back yard. King (or maybe Bump? We aren’t sure if it’s one or two black cats, or how to tell who’s who if there are two of them) waits patiently in the weeds uphill of the “deer-proof” feeders. I greet him as I put food in the feeders but don’t look directly at him so he won’t spook.
The deer aren’t far behind King/Bump, and I leave a little cat food on the stump where they can get it. It slows them down and gives me time to trot to the front yard before they make it around the house. Cody is circling at a distance as I trot away. She’s trying to figure out how to get to the food before the deer. She’ll work it out somehow and probably eat again on the deck later. I don’t see Mrs. Fox this morning, so that’s one less problem to worry about.
It’s back to the house for another load and out to the front yard. The railbirds are finishing their piles and a few ask for more. I drop a few kibbles in front of them as I pass by and the others lead me to the front yard. I drop a quick pile on the faucet bench for Bitsy, Sheridan, Sherman, or whoever gets there first and head down the path into the yard.
A few cats jump onto the Boots platform and get their piles, but the Davidson family has been waiting patiently so I hurry over to them. They mount the Harley platform and I dole out piles along its length, keeping a weather eye out for the deer.
No deer yet, so I make a quick trip to the shed deck and the lean-to and leave a few piles there. The deer now arrive, so I can’t make it to the bowls in the garden. I need to stand guard while the front yard cats eat.
The crowd has seemed a little thin lately so I take inventory while I guard. I count 25 cats, give or take a few. No wonder the food seems to be lasting longer these days. I used to count up to 46.
This isn’t what I had in mind when I moved out into these hills.
For the full story of our cat colony, get Cats of Dry Creek Hill on Amazon