Owl the feral tom cat

Owl was the only adult male feral cat to ever spend a lot of time hanging out at my campsite. All the male kittens born at my campsite would eventually wander off before they reached one-year-old. . . Owl just showed up one day — attracted to my cat food dish, and all the female cats hanging around (which he would come to consider as his personal harum) — and stuck around for several years. Mostly on the outskirts of my campsite. He always kept a respectful distance from me, and eyed me warily for a long time before he finally came to accept me as part of the scenery and relaxed. Usually after eating breakfast in the morning, Owl would loiter around for awhile, maybe take a nap nesting by his favorite tree. Then he’d wander back off into the woods. . . All the female cats at my campsite seemed to like and accept Owl. And they’d often hang out alongside him and nestle with him. It’s like he was the big daddy of the tribe. . . My impression was that Owl had been fending for himself in the woods as a feral for a long time. Every now and then I’d get a close-up look at him, and he seemed a bit grizzled and battered. He was like an old war-horse. Burly old tom. But he also had a calm and relaxed demeanor. None of the skittishness that feral cats often have. Owl would saunter onto the scene like he owned the place, usually walking in a slow, deliberate manner. Though with the air of the perrenial outsider.

I was always curious about Owl’s background. Had he been born in the woods? Or had he once lived with humans only to be abandoned? And how old was he? Of course I would never know. He was a mystery. Anyways, he hung out for several years, fathering several litters with multiple chicks — he was quite the stud (Tammy, Scaredy Cat and Micro Scaredy all had kittens by Owl — Mini Scaredy tried but had a miscarriage). I was never able to trap and fix him. And it was a bit of a chore to trap and fix his multiple offspring. But that’s life.

Eventually, Owl wandered off. And I didn’t see him for many years. I assumed he was dead, because he seemed pretty old to begin with, and the life of a feral cat can be precarious at best. Then he showed up out of the blue one day a couple months ago. Ate a little breakfast, hung out for awhile, and then wandered off again. And that was the last I saw him. Owl. I always liked the guy.

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