More cat#039;s tails and tales

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 26, 2002

A few years back a pair of half-wild kittens appeared on Mom's back porch searching out some food. The pair looked pretty young and Mama cat was nowhere to be seen.

It took a while to gain the trust of that skittish pair.

Finally they would allow us to touch them while they dined atop the chest freezer on the porch.

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One of this pair of females was quite the comic with her slightly mismatched eyes and over-sized ears.

She wasn't crazy about the stroking but she sure liked trying to wrestle your finger.

There was just something about that kitten…

The newly named Puddin'' joined Ginger and Mary Ann in our home. Seems those two had completely forgotten the cold shoulder the late, lamented Smokey gave them-or maybe they remembered and chose to pass the humiliation along.

Basically their campaign back-fired because Puddin' wasn't having any of that.

She kept on making friendly overtures to those mean ol' big cats and eventually won them over

or wore them down, I'm not sure which.

And like a lot of funny-looking youngsters Puddin' blossomed into a downright beautiful cat with lush, tawny long fur, a dainty little nose and an elegant head that grew to match her ears.

Even her emerald green eyes evened out.

To top it all off she's developed a magnificent plume of a tail that expresses volumes with a few dramatic flourishes.

A jerky up-and-down movement says, "Talk to the paw, lady".

A gentle swaying tells us she's feeling mighty friendly.

And a certain amusing staccato swirl urges me to feed her NOW. (We see that one pretty often.)

Now history has repeated itself once more and a new feline has joined our midst.

Somehow I had a funny feeling from the first phone message local cat lover Becky Coon left on my machine:

"Angie, I'm taking care of the most precious little three-legged kitten…she was in a fight with a dog and it tore her up really bad.

Dr Watson didn't even think she was going to make it…

"But she did make it, she's doing really well

she's a fighter! I've been taking care of her at my home but I can't keep her and of course, she'll have to stay inside. She needs a good home and you were one of the first people I thought of, she has to go to someone I know and trust…would you like to come and see her?"

Oh, gosh.

I felt my heart melting sight unseen.

But did we really need to add a fourth cat (on top of the two outside dogs, one of which had required extensive

and expensive

rehabilitation from the mange)?

Still, it wouldn't hurt to just take a look at the little thing, would it?

One look was all it took.

Those big eyes peering up at me from a heart-shaped black face splashed in white, the pounding of her tiny heart as I snuggled her warm little body against me, the way she started this enormous purr every time you spoke to her or touched her-I was charmed from the word go.'

We tossed around a lot of name ideas when we first brought our three-legged feline home-everything from Bonne Chance' (French for luck') and Tripod' to Trifeca' and the unwieldy Triceratops' (Benny was just joking about that one).

When she walks, though, she makes a sort of bumpy, thumpy' soundhence her final name of Thumper.'

And thump, thump, thump around the house this intrepid little cat goes. She's exploring the place top to bottom while ignoring the baleful stares and unfriendly hisses from the older cats. It's dj vu all over again

Thumper, my girl, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.