Guest Star: Walks with Sheba

Sheba is a little black cat with Amber Eyes.

As with most cats when she was young, she was feisty and adventurous spent long hours outside and committed Genocide on the local mouse population, I’m convinced they moved out of my old neighborhood because of her.

Then she got into a fight, a larger cat, grey, unkept and used to winning.

It’s been my experience, when cats lose a fight they change, they become more home bound, cautious.  Out of the 6 cats in my life, only one of those cats ruled the neighborhood, a medium sized Tortoise Shell with a huge attitude.  We called her Tootie ( short for Tuti Fruiti, this is what happens pets when little kids name their pets), one of my memories of Tootie was her going after the German Shepard across the street.  He was not timid and bullied some of the dogs and some of us kids. One day Tootie wasn’t having it.  They snarled at each other, then Tootie leaped onto his shoulders and dug in…… The German Shepard, surprised, started running down the street and Tootie hopped off halfway down, sat, licked her paws and watched him dart into a neighbor’s yard.

Tootie lived to the grand age of 22 and only because she succumbed to being hit by a Truck.

I moved to Burien last year, new neighborhood lots of new sounds and smells the house I live in came with stray cats 3-5 by our estimate.  And, there is a Grey cat, pretty good looking short haired guy that what we can tell, runs the neighborhood.  We call him Tom.

Sheba was chased and taught the rules during her 1st week.

It’s a big yard, a couple of fruit trees in the back, 2 small greenhouses and a couple of storage sheds…. Lots of room for cats and 1 of the strays, we call her Ernestine lives comfortably under our back doorsteps.

Sheba and I love our Mornings. Summertime sometimes as early as 3:30 she lets me know its time to go out, Ill grab a cup of Tea and open the door, she steps out and looks back at me to make sure I follow.  I walk behind her, we go to the bushes that line the street, walk south, then around the house.  I keep my distance by about 10 ft or so.   She keeps and eye on me but doesn’t want to be petted in front of the strays.  Sometimes Tom peeks out from the Greenhouse, glares at each of us, determines he will stay away from me, pulls his head in. She sniffs bushes, cautiously walks the sidewalk, Ernestine greets us as we walk by (she’s friendly, but doesn’t want to be touched just fed) Sheba glares and wants nothing to do with her, I say good morning Earnestine and we continue on.

Our walks somedays take a half hour, sometimes I sit and watch her go around, when she’s done she comes and sits by me on the bench and we listen to the Owls do their last hoots of the night and the crows begin their day, we watch the sky get brighter, we listen to the neighbors starting cars while others take their dogs past us on leash and wave.

Sheba watches it all, and watches me, I stay out as long as I can, when its time to go in, I just say, “Time to go sweety”. Sheba follows me up the steps.

This post first appeared on Transit Transients and Other Stories

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