FORT POLK, La. — For those of you who have not yet “liked” the Facebook page titled “Chuck Cannon Photographer,” you most likely aren’t aware the menagerie of felines who’ve adopted us as their forever home.
Actually, it was one who adopted Susan and I without first telling us that although she was just a small little girl, she already was in a motherly way.
In March, this small yellow shorthaired female showed up on our back porch, hungry for both food and attention. As my softhearted spouse could not bear to see a suffering kitty, a little food was set out. The cat, eventually given the name Lurlene by the aforementioned Susan, quickly let us know that we now belonged to her. That was cemented by the fact that shortly after Lurlene’s arrival, Susan came home to find the fuzzy feline lying on my belly as we watched TV on our couch.
We took Lurlene to the vet to make sure she was healthy, had her shots and was spayed so that we would have no surprises; alas, we were too late. The vet informed us that we were soon to be the proud grandparents of a litter of kittens.
Not long afterward Lurlene “presented” us with five grandcats. Homes were found for two of the newbies and we kept the others, increasing our cat population to four.
It wasn’t long before word quickly spread that the Cannon house in Rosepine was a great place to grab a free meal and porch to sleep on out of the rain.
As the majority of our visitors were feral, they would usually just sit by one of our bird feeders, grab a snack and move one.
That is until Billie showed up. Billie was even smaller than Lurlene when she arrived. Nothing but skin, bones and long gray hair, Billie was a little shy at first, but quickly learned that both Susan and I made good cuddling partners.
After checking the neighborhood to see if some had “misplaced” their kitten, we took Billie to the vet. No pregnancy this time, but the poor little thing was in bad shape — an eye and ear infection, crushed carpal joint on her right front leg and three of her four foot pads looked as if she had been dragged, leaving them raw. Fortunately, she was free of feline leukemia and AIDS, and her eye and feet showed signs of healing.
We let her bed down in a cage on our back porch to keep her separate from the indoor kitties and safe from any others critters who might pass by.
We did our best to keep her comfortable, but I’m sorry to report that poor little Billie had to be put down. Apparently she was in worse shape than we thought. If you heard sobs emanating from the Fort Polk Veterinary Treatment Facility on the morning of Dec. 23, it was yours truly. At least, as the kind folks at the VTF shared with me, Susan and I made her last month as nice as possible and she knew that someone loved her.
So we’re back to Lurlene and the three grandcats: Mini Me, Pinkie and Mouse. They make us laugh, and at times, can be aggravating, but what children aren’t. They’ve also shown us what unconditional love is as they snuggle up to us on the couch while we watch TV, or lie between us in bed.
I often find my eyes watering a little as I watch them play, or snuggle with each other, and I think about little Billie, and wonder how someone could abandon such sweet pets. It was obvious from her loving nature that she had been someone’s pet, just as Lurlene had once belonged to someone who had abandoned her. Lurlene was lucky; she stumbled onto us quickly. Little Billie was not so lucky.