It does my heart good seeing her in a comfortable spot in the sun. This is Mary. She’s a feral cat, and she’s probably at least 13 years old. We know that because in April 2000 she had a litter of kittens in our backyard (one of them still lives in the house with us). We’d love for Mary to join us inside too, but she just won’t come in. She won’t even let us touch her. She used to have a more outgoing and free-spirited companion named Rhoda who also had a litter of kittens in our yard that same spring. Unfortunately, Rhoda was hit and killed by a car speeding down our street about five years ago. I miss Rhoda, but I’ll bet Mary misses her even more. We would usually see them together and when it was time to rest, they’d usually snuggle up side by side.
That’s a shot (above) of Mary and Rhoda in earlier days. I’ll always love those two. They and their broods (the kittens eventually all went to no-kill shelters which was no easy feat at the time) made a big impact on me in ways I won’t bore you with here. But I will say that because of Mary and Rhoda this then somewhat world-weary, disillusioned, and confirmed dog person of a 37-year-old made the discovery that she was, in fact, a cat person too. It’s so invigorating to make a happy and unexpected discovery about yourself and the world you live in just when you think there’s nothing all that new out there. But what an ordeal all those unexpected cats were in the beginning!
I made the pillow Mary is resting on and another one just like it about 10 or 11 years ago. They’ve held up well. I needed them to be able to sit on the ground in the damp and wet and to be able to dry out quickly and blend in with the yard. I only wash them once or sometimes twice a year. I try to keep them out of the rain and give them a shake and some sun now and then, but that’s about it. The base is a sturdy nylon and the top is a nice quality fleece. I ordered both materials from The Rain Shed, a great resource for outdoor sewing needs. I purchased another lower-quality fleece at a local fabric shop, cut it into strips, and used that as the pillow stuffing because I figured it would be comfortable and dry quickly. We are always trying to think of ways to keep Mary comfortable and dry, but the only thing we are sure she makes use of is her nightly meal.