Maggie and Mikey have been on my mind ever since I released them after having them spayed and neutered. I wrote about them weeks ago and admitted I hated to release them back into the neighborhood, but I felt it's what I needed to do. Maggie seems friendly, though still skittish, but Mikey was born under a neighbor's shed and will not allow anyone to touch him. If he perceives I'm going to try to touch him, he bolts. I was only able to catch him once, after a night-long vigil and a few cans of cat food and tuna. He's the only survivor from Maggie's two feral litters. A neighbor family promised to catch her and have her spayed after her first litter was weaned and I made the mistake of trusting them to do it. I offered my humane trap and told them I'd help any way I could. They didn't follow through and Maggie became pregnant again. That's when I took over and made sure that was the last litter she had.
I'd been seeing Mikey around the neighborhood and he seemed to remember me, but I hadn't seen Maggie since July 3rd. People in my neighborhood were setting off loud firecrackers that evening and I assumed both cats feared the noises and went into hiding. Mikey came out of the woods after a couple days, but Maggie didn't. I'd see him sitting on a neighbor's porch and he came down here to eat a few times, but there was no sign of his mama. Unfortunately, I've never learned how to stop worrying about things I can't control, so I've been fretting over Maggie and wondering where she could be. Was she still frightened? Did she decide to move on without her son? Did someone harm her?
Last night Maggie came back to visit. She saw me outside talking to a little gray cat that came to feed and began mewing as she came running toward me. I was so relieved to see her I could hardly hold back tears. I didn't have the camera with me and was afraid if I went to get it she might be gone when I returned, so I just sat on the porch and talked to her while she ate. She was very hungry but looked wonderful. Her fur was smooth and clean and she had put on a little bit of weight, which was good. She had been so thin after being spayed. Maggie allowed me to hold her for a few seconds and then she was off and running down the street. She kept stopping and looking back and I continued to talk to her until she was out of sight.
I was finally able to fall sleep without worrying so much about Maggie and Mikey. I need to embrace the fact these cats may live short lives, but maybe the old adage is true - to an animal, one day of freedom is better than a thousand days in captivity.