Paco Seamus Sasha Mojo Lincoln Sweet Potato: Slice of Life #sol20

My mother thinks that I must hang a neon sign that only cats can see outside my house. Wherever I go, it takes the neighborhood cats all of ten minutes to find me.

I’m afraid the sign works more like this: I see a cat from my window and I run outside to feed it. Cats tend to like free meals. And they’re smart. It takes exactly one time of something happening for a cat to consider it a habit.

There is a small colony of ferals that live on my new block. I’m most fascinated by the skinny grey male who comes to our porch every morning for breakfast and naps in the shade of a dying evergreen. I can always tell when he’s there by my cats’ body language. They spend a lot of time looking at squirrels and birds out the window anyway, but they get very stiff and still when they are watching another cat.

Historically, they have hated outdoor stranger cats. Zorro, especially, will try to fight through the screen and when the outdoor stranger runs off turn his anger and agitation on his housemates. Giant kerfuffle tends to ensue. But there hasn’t been so much as a hiss or growl with the three ferals we’ve seen on our porch so far.

In fact, if anything they all seem quite fascinated by each other. The little grey will sit on the outside window ledge and study the cats on the inside, who are equally glued to the window. He still runs away if a person gets too close to the window, but he watches curiously while I pet Zorro or Chipotle. One extraordinary morning when the window was open, he jumped onto the window ledge and touched noses with Chipotle through the screen.

Since it’s a bit clunky to say “the skinny grey one” and “the skinny black one” and “the grey one with white feet,” I decided they needed names, but we haven’t been able to agree.

My son lobbied for Paco, but I vetoed. He took a brief turn to Mojo (also vetoed), then doubled down again on Paco. Seamus was my first suggestion, vetoed by my son. I thought we were building consensus around Sasha, but then my husband pronounced it “a girl cat’s name,” and we had to start all over again. Lincoln and Sweet Potato are currently under consideration. Perhaps he will have a first name AND a middle name, or perhaps he will just be “the skinny grey one” forever.

9 thoughts on “Paco Seamus Sasha Mojo Lincoln Sweet Potato: Slice of Life #sol20

  1. Always love your cat stories. It is something how cats will tolerate some wildlife in “their” yard – birds, squirrels, chipmunks- but let another feline invade their outside space and the fur will fly. Whenever we hear a cat outside out three run around the house like wild searching for this interloper.

  2. Seems like, whatever he’s called, he’ll always be the welcome-to-the-neighborhood ambassador. Glad everyone is settling in so peacefully.

  3. I’m glad to see that your cat connections continue in your new home! My grandparents had a cat named “Elsie,” which was really L.C. for “Lost Cat.” A beautiful lilac point Siamese, she just showed up one day and decided to stay. SGO does not work for a name, though. S-Go? Escargot?

  4. There’s always refuge available in a good cat story! We don’t offer meals to strays, but they seem to come by our house anyway. I think the big old barn attracts them. I can appreciate the name challenges as we’ve. had quite a few over the years! Keep us posted. For what it’s worth, our very similar looking gray cat, who was once a stray, is named Squirrel.

  5. I always had to name a stray creature that came our way: a Siamese showed up on our front steps during a thunderstorm when I was a child. We opened the door because of his terrible crying and in he strolled, as if he owned the place. Mr. Cat. He’s made for some fun narrative and memoir writing with students. My son, around age five, fell in love with an old, abandoned hunting dog that took up in our yard in the countryside – he named the dog “Spicy.” Your writing is visual – “naps in the shade of a dying evergreen.” I can sense the wheels turning in those cats’ minds as they consider each other – animal behavior IS so fascinating. The photos are great…yes, your feral friends need names! “Lincoln” for some reason recalled a cat I had when I was a teenager – I named one of her gray kittens “Lancelot.” Gosh. I haven’t thought of that in so long! I do hope you let us know which name sticks.

  6. The neon cat sign made me laugh out loud! I love the photos and the discussion of what to name the cats. I think I’ve named all of the wildlife that hangs around my boyfriend’s house (raccoon, rabbits, bear, deer) because you’ve got to have some way to differentiate them. I can’t wait to find out which names win:)

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