Our home on The Woods Drive, in El Cajon, was built on a hillside and was, of necessity, a multi-level home. Additionally, the developers had worked around the giant boulders that were scattered throughout the area and included them in the landscapes. If a boulder was in the way of a fence, they just fenced right up to it, cut a board to fit the contour, and continued on the other side. Knowing this will help you picture the dramatic events that occurred the night Baby Cat came to live with us.
The house next door was downhill from us. Our back deck was even with the ridge of their roof. The person who lived there was a nice little lady, a widow, and a grandmother. She lived by herself most of the time but sometimes had a teenage grandson stay with her when he was having trouble getting along with his parents.
Pat and I were working out in the yard one Saturday when the neighbor lady yelled at us. She wanted us to see the cute little kitten her grandson had brought with him that morning. We went over and saw the cutest little black and yellow cat with very unusual markings. We talked for a few minutes, petted the kitten, and went back to our yard work.
A few days went by and we hadn’t seen the neighbor lady. Pat asked another lady about it and learned that “grandma” had a stroke and then went to a rehab facility. After a couple of days, the grandson was ordered to return home to his parents.
Another day or two had gone by and Pat and I were caught up in our regular routine. We went to bed one night at the regular time. It was summer and since our bedroom windows were 25 or 30 feet above ground and not accessible, we left them open. Pat was awakened a couple of hours later by a crying noise. She got up and went to the window and heard a kitten meowing loudly and with anxiety. Figuring that it was that little neighbor kitten, she went downstairs to check. She stepped out on the back deck and heard the kitten’s cries coming from the back yard, next door. It was a bright, moonlit night so she went down the steps into the yard. The kitten was still crying, and she wanted to get to it, but the fence was 5 feet tall. Fortunately, this was one of the spots where a boulder, at least 8 feet in diameter, had been incorporated into the fence. The boulder had enough bumps, cracks, and crevices that it looked as if it could be climbed, so Pat started up. Being in her pajamas and bare footed, she was hardly dresses for rock climbing, but she decided to give it a go. She slipped a few times but reached the top and slid down the other side into the neighbor’s yard.
Pat could still hear the kitten crying. The sounds seemed to be coming from under the deck which was about 2 feet off the ground and open, all the way around. She moved slowly along the edge of the deck trying to protect her feet. She got to the place where the kitten’s cries seemed loudest and got down on her hands and knees and peered under. The moon light was bright enough that she could see and sure enough…there’s that black and yellow kitty with the big eyes. With a sigh of relief, Pat reached for the kitty but was brought up short by the sensation that she was being watched. She turned toward the end of the deck and there were two big coyotes watching her! OH, my gosh! Pat says she understood for the first time what it meant say “I was so scared, the hair on my arms stood up!” Grabbing the kitty, she got to her feet and started backing away. The coyotes just stood there, watching. Reaching the boulder, Pat started climbing. This side of the rock was slicker and since she had the kitten in one hand Pat was slipping and sliding and her anxiety level was getting higher as she tried to get to the top. The coyotes had moved a few feet as if to get a better look at her. She finally made it to the top, slid down the other side, and ran to the stairs. When she got up to the deck, she turned to look, and the coyotes were still staring up at her. She shuddered and went in the house and closed and locked the door.
The next morning, I was up first and as I entered the bathroom I heard a noise coming from the shower. I opened the shower door and there was that little black and yellow kitten! There was a towel on the floor for a bed and she had a bowl of water and some cat food. I wanted to keep moving so I could leave for work on time. I did my stuff and went on to the kitchen and got the coffee pot started. In a few minutes, Pat joined me in the kitchen and I said to her “There’s a kitten in our shower.” She replied, “Yeah, and you slept through all the excitement.” Then, she proceeded to tell me the story I just related to you. After hearing all the exciting details, I was amazed that she and the kitten hadn’t both ended up as a midnight snack for those coyotes.
We discussed what to do with the kitten. The “grandma” was going to be in rehab for an extended period and the grandson had abandoned the kitty and left her for the coyotes so we concluded that we should keep her. We already had a mature cat, Ms./Rambo, so we got in the habit of calling the little one “Baby Cat”. She grew up to be a mellow and loving cat-person and we enjoyed her company until she passed away at the age of 16.
Dave and Pat Thomas
January 13, 2018