In which a stray cat saves my entire night.
I was grumpy tonight. Rather catty, even, since my help was gone at 7:30 and half of the stuff I'm not really supposed to do while I'm by myself hadn't been done. She got some stuff done for me and kudos to her for that, I appreciated it, but having to take trash out after I lock the doors on top of everything else just aggravates me.
However, as I was outside locking up the ice coolers, in preparation for locking the doors, and having a quick smoke while I had half a moment, I stumbled across "our" stray momma cat.
She hangs around the store and snags food out of the garbage cans, to feed her never ending trail of kittens. Now, this town is pretty much full up on stray cats and we don't really need more kittens running around alleys, but I can't get mad at her for doing what comes natural. If I catch her when she's not nursing, I'll probably try to get her in a carrier and get her spayed, but I won't mess with her while she's got nursing babies.
I've been trying to buddy up to her a bit, thinking if she befriends me I might be able to love on the kittens some (because they're adorable, of course, but also because I just might be able to find a few of them homes and reduce the stray problem if I can lay hands on them) and I've been very careful not to frighten her unduly. She's been gradually getting closer to me over the last few months, but has steadfastly kept out of touching distance.
Mostly she's been giving me that "Well, drop some food already" look. Tonight though, she seemed to come to a decision all at once. I was speaking softly, distractedly, to her, as is my usual habit, since she was between me and the ice cooler that I needed to lock. She tensed and I figured she was going to walk away, but she paused while I took another relaxed step, then came right up to me, and rubbed against my leg.
I leaned down and held my fingers out for her to sniff, which she did, and seemed to decide that even though I smelled like cleaning products, I would be allowed to touch her royalness anyway.
She loved on me for about five minutes, while her kittens peered around the corner, obviously confused.
If I can get her to come for some attention every night, eventually the kittens will decide that what's good enough for mom is good enough for them. It shouldn't be that hard to find homes for a gray tortoise shell, a black short hair, and a gray-and-white ball of fluff.
Also, it is so easy to tell who momma cat prefers to cavort with, since every litter has one gray and white kitten, marked almost identically to the tom that I see occasionally wandering around that area of town. The current one is extra adorable, having inherited dad's coloring, gray mask and top of head, down the back and tail, with white nose, chin, belly, chest, and legs, with mom's long hair, which at this age makes him or her a little powder puff.
Tonight, I got a victory that I wasn't really expecting. It certainly improved my mood immensely.