Last spring a gray cat showed up in our yard. He’d sit at the fence line or on the brush pile and stare in our window. He lived in the barn.

Eventually he started coming every night about the same time. He wanted his dinner. We named him Fred. He sometimes was robbed of dinner by the possums. He got in the house once and didn’t like it. Fred, who as it turns out is a girl, moved to a box filled with an old army jacket and some towels on our back porch.

Then we started seeing a big white cat in the field. We thought he was a mama cat and that he was wild. He, who actually is a he, took up living on the front porch. I fed him there and put him out a box too. He hung around during the day and was much friendlier and tamer than Fred. We named him Scooter, but I think he belongs to someone else.

A black and white cat came by a time or two. A big brown cat with a bob-tail stopped by twice. I don’t know why all these cats started showing up at our house, but they have kept us a lot of company. Our black house cat, Effie, sure doesn’t care much for them though. She pounces at the glass window and hisses ferociously while they sit on the back steps begging for food.

A week or two ago, the boy came running in the bedroom. “There’s a lion outside,” he said. “It’s a new cat! Come see! Come see!.”

I’ll learn one day that the boy doesn’t tell stories when it comes to what kind of animals he sees in the yard. First the coyotes, now this.

There was a skinny orange cat meowing at the back door. Unlike the other wild cats who slowly warmed up to us, this one waltzed right in and immediately took up residence. He meows a lot. He thinks our home is his home. Effie does not like him one bit more than any of the other intruders that have encroached upon her territory.

He took over Fred’s bed on the back porch. Fred moved to the front porch for sleep.

We named the orange cat Ferdinand. He likes us. We like him. The boy drags a string all through the house for him to chase and little sister pulls his tail with glee and he reluctantly lets her.

If Ferdinand hangs around I guess we will let him move into the house, although I really think he has to have belonged to someone else because he is so friendly.

Michael says I should stop feeding the wild animals, but I saw a deer in the field yesterday and I’m already planning how I can get them to come to the back door. In the meantime I’ll keep feeding the cats and possums (It’s not that I really try to feed them. I just put our scraps on the back steps and whoever gets there first gets them.)

There’s this book I read the kids about this old man who goes out to find a cat for his wife and ends up bringing home so many cats that they eat each other up arguing over who is the most beautiful and the only thing left is one little homely kitten. I hope I don’t end up with so many cats that they eat each other up.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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