That cat sat alone
On the cold fence in the yard
Her fur damp and wet
Stray cat teaches trust
By MEGAN ERICKSON
First I saw the tufts of hair at the tips of the ears, and then I saw a striped fore´head and finally a pink nose.
“Hey buddy,” I cooed to the stray cat peering at me from under my neighbor’s shed. “Aren’t you pretty?”
Soon his orange sibling appeared and they both perched on the wood railings, blinking at me in the sun. I took a tentative step and in a flash of gray, black, white and orange, they scurried back under the shed.
It turns out that a stray female randomly chose my neighbor’s yard as her den. My neighbor has been putting out food and water, and has tried to catch them to take them to a shelter, but no luck.
I worry about them getting under the wheels of a moving car, or between the teeth of a mean og, but I can’t take them in, as I have two cats myself, and how would I catch them in the first place?
That’s why the book “The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside” by Cynthia von Buhler caught my eye. It’s a children’s book based on a true story about a woman who befriends a stray cat. The pages are actually pictures of sets she made out of clay and other materials. Buhler is an artist who has illustrated and written several books, but this book is her first as both author and llustrator.
The story details her attempts to try to coax a stray cat to come inside her home. Each time he comes to her house, she leaves him something, such as milk, tuna and a rug. The text is repetitious; each time she repeats the previous item. It will help the memory of your little reader.
Buhler does talk about her experience in an author’s note at the end of the book. Unfortunately, the first time her real-life stray cat entered her home was also his last; the cat died in her
arms that night. That might be an author’s note to share with your child when he or she is
One day you wandered into my view.
Your fur was tufted and ridiculously askew.
You were a confused vagabond without a home.
It was my intention that you would continue to roam.
You looked at me like we had known each other before.
As though to say, 'Recognize me, feed me…open the door.'
Your delving green eyes pried open my heart with a plea.
Your clawless paws managed to magnetically attach to me.
Your persuasive ways and purring motor have earned you a ticket.
This is your home and you’re an important part of our family unit.
You now fill a previously nonexistent void with constant affection.
Stray cat of mine, you no longer have to worry about rejection.
Comfort appears to await her
from an outstretched hand
But she skirts the perimeter of all humanity
with leery glances,
pacing, never still.
For there is a certain safety
in the freedom to run.
Her look is weary.
She has known the pain
of trusting too soon.
There may come a time when
she will never trust again.
Though there is the memory of
gentle hands and understanding eyes..
Survival moves her limbs
to seek shelter, to run away
from sudden wrath, to not feel the hurt
when the back door closes
never to open again.
She continues to seek
the hollow where she might find
peace from constant fear.
She no longer believes
that there is more to an outstretched hand
than passing compassion
from a morsel dropped.
For no one has the time or desire
to love and nurture her back to health
or to accept her in spite
of all the scars.
She sits briefly, eyes closing with exhaustion.
She licks her tired paws.
She is hoping this one face
will be there again tomorrow.
That gentle voice calling again and again
Dare she hope the nightmare will end
and she will find
kindness, acceptance, understanding
of her unavoidable fear to trust?
But for now
and moves on.