It was a rainy afternoon in mid-March when I first saw her—just a little blackish shape huddled under a bush in my yard. I peered out the window, wondering if she were real or just a bit of foliage pushed down by the rain. "Is that a cat?" my husband asked. "It think it is," I said. But, when I opened the door to investigate, the tiny form ran into the trees at the end of the yard. I called, thinking she might be one of my neighbors' roaming cats, but she never came.
The next day, I set out cat food and water in bowl by the garage. I never saw her, but in the morning the food was gone. Of course, it could've been birds, I thought, or Ryder, my neighbor's fat orange Tom, who reckons any food left standing out belongs to him by right. But, after a week of leaving out food and water, I began to see a pattern. The food was only eaten after 7:00 PM. And, sometimes, later, when I was walking my cocker spaniel Lady, I would see a tiny shape at the end of the yard with big, golden eyes. When Lady and I advanced, she ran into the tree line. Still, I could definitely see that she was a cat and a very small one at that.