I was walking up to Starbucks Sunday morning about 5:30 — the good folks at Starbucks have been kind enough to build a drive-through just two blocks from where I live; I can either reward myself after I’ve taken a brisk walk around the neighborhood or, like yesterday, just amble down the block and get myself a latte for no particular reason at all. As I was walking along Riverside Drive in what is known locally as West Toluca Lake in Los Angeles, which is part of the eastern San Fernando Valley near Burbank, I heard a rustling in the hedge that I was passing by. There are several small and kind of cozy-looking apartment buildings in that area.
There was a rustle in the shrubbery. I glanced down and saw a skinny tail. Ick, I thought: a rat. I don’t like rats.
Another rustle. I looked again. Hmm, said I to myself, since when are rats white with a big brown spot?
I kept walking. The shrubbery kept rustling. On the third appearance of the critter — it was kind of keeping pace with me — I realized it wasn’t a rat at all but a baby possum. I said good morning to it. It blinked at me. And then we went our separate ways, me with a smile.
I can’t help but wonder if this baby’s mama is the possum that sometimes hangs out with my feral cats. It too is white with a big brown spot.
As for the ferals, Bad Ass has pretty much recuperated; the missing patch of hair on his hip turned out to be the resulting of fighting instead of mange. This past week, however, Nose was sick. One morning he was at the door as usual, the next morning he was moping around the back yard, wouldn’t let me near him, wouldn’t eat. I think he got into something he shouldn’t have. He was ailing several days. Moving stiffly, but not like he’d been hit or hurt. The third day he meowed at me, once, but that was it. I was really concerned. He didn’t leave the yard, just flopped down and slept in his favorite spots.
Yesterday morning we were almost back to normal; Nose was waiting at the back door to be fed. He had a great deal to say but didn’t eat much.
This morning he was at the door meowing when I went into the kitchen. It wasn’t even daylight yet. I put out the dry cat food but he still wasn’t particularly interested. So I opened a can of wet food and gave him that. He gobbled it up like he was starving. Good stuff, that canned food. The ferals usually get it only when I’m trying to entice them into a cage. We had a nice long chat before he ate anything at all, and another chat after he was through eating. Too bad I’ve no idea what he’s telling me.
He’s been at the back door on and off all day. I went out a little while ago and sat with him for a good half hour. Nose is the only one of the ferals who will lay down and just hang out.
He’s outside the door again. Maybe now that he’s feeling better he’s in the mood for my company.
Or maybe, just maybe, he wants some more of that good canned cat food.