Thomas Wictor

Why a cat made me believe in reincarnation

Why a cat made me believe in reincarnation

I’m currently feeding a family of feral cats. I don’t want to, but I don’t see that I have a choice. Today, the cats themselves pretty much told me that I have to keep doing it. I’ll explain what happened. And then I’ll tell you how another cat made me believe in reincarnation.

Five days ago I began feeding a feral cat that had given birth to three kittens in Tim’s former back yard. This morning when I went in to feed them, the bowls of food and water were all full. I couldn’t find the cats. After a brief search, I located them behind my garage. The only way they could’ve gotten there is if the mother took each kitten by the scruff of the neck, jumped over the board fence, and then leaped back into the yard for her next offspring.

The fence is about six feet high on the driveway side, so it’s a hell of a jump. I left the gate open all day, but the cats wouldn’t go back into the yard. Finally I went to put the food and water bowls behind the garage. Even after five days of me feeding them, the cats are insane with fear. I approached slowly, but they ran in all directions, one kitten trying to fling itself up the side of the garage.

Even so, I put down the bowls and then unbricked the rabbit hole Tim and I had cut in the base of the fence. This was so our late cat Syd the Second wouldn’t have to make that six-foot leap every time he wanted to come in or out of the back yard. We’d bricked it up after he died so that opossums and other cats couldn’t come in.

Early this evening I checked the bowls of food and water behind the garage. They were untouched but covered with ants. The ferals were gone. I emptied the bowls and went and told Tim. On my way back to my house, I saw the mother cat in my driveway. She scuttled over to the side of the garage and stopped, looking back at me over her shoulder. I opened the gate in the board fence, sat on the cement curb, and talked to her.

“Where are your kitties?” I asked. She turned around and sat, staring at me. I leaned back through the gate so she couldn’t see my face, waited a few seconds, and sat forward. She’d moved closer. I leaned back again, waited, and when I looked, she was only about six feet away. It was just like the ninja cat video. Each time I hid my face, she moved closer.

She went behind the garbage can only three feet away, and when I next looked, she’d run past and was sitting at the rabbit hole cut in the fence, about eighteen inches to my left. I turned my head, but out of the corner of my eye I saw her jump through the hole into the back yard. Then she ran over to where the food and water bowls had been and lay down, looking at me.

“Okay,” I said. “I get it. Hold on a second.”

I went into my house and got all four bowls as well as the bags of adult cat and kitten food. When I brought them into the back yard, the mother moved away from where the bowls had been and sat in the garden, watching me put out the food and water again. Now that I know that they can use the rabbit hole, I’ll just keep the bowls filled until…whatever.

The newly unbricked entrance-exit should make things easier for them. Maybe the mother took out the kittens because she felt trapped.

Syd the Second

He was even more feral than these cats, but the second day he saw me, he came up and sat in my lap. The first time he met Tim, he went right to him. Syd entered Tim’s house without coaxing, and he liked Mom and her house too.

Physically, he was identical to Syd the First, down to the giant fangs, white tuft on his chest, and square chin. Like his predecessor, he ate more if you sang to him, and he chirped like a bird when you fed him turkey.

I wrote about him in Ghosts and Ballyhoo as The Cat Who Saved My Life. The reason I call him that is because he showed that it’s possible to overcome almost anything. He wanted very badly to be a good cat, but he’d lived by his wits for so long that his instinct was to treat everything and everyone as a danger. He bit and clawed without warning.

Then he’d go outside and sit under the Sulking Tree, even in the rain. We were very patient, and it paid off. He became a great cat with a quirky, self-deprecating sense of humor. He also went mad with joy, capering up onto the roof, through the kitchen, and upstairs. We had him for only a year, but it was a year of safety and love he wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.

We named Syd the First after a misheard Pink Floyd song.

The current ferals reinforce my conviction that Syds the First and Second were the same being. Has any feral on earth chosen two specific houses and three people to befriend, while never losing his fear of everyone and everything else? Has a completely wild cat ever sauntered inside when you opened the door for him? Has a feral ever tamed himself without much effort on the part of humans? All we did was wait.

As he died the second time, Tim asked him to please wait until we’d moved into our last home before he came back. It took him fourteen years to find us again, just about the lifespan of a house cat. Hopefully he’s having a blast right now, and then when we’re ready, in Texas, he’ll be ready.

There’s no hurry, Syd. Take your time. We’ll be here.

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