Thursday, March 12, 2009

How About a Cat Story For a Change?

The Wild Beast!

When I moved to a house in the woods I discovered that my woodland neighbors liked to visit at night. So I began to put a pan of scraps out every night to feed the steady stream of raccoons and opossums that nosed around on my deck in search of something to eat. I enjoyed watching them through my glass door, as they shared the food without much fussing.

One night I was shocked to hear a piercing scream ring out on the deck. I ran to see what the problem was. It turned out to be a huge cat, with orange stripes and chewed-up ears—and an obviously mean disposition.

"That’s no ordinary cat, Mom," said my grown son, who was visiting me at the time. As we watched the cat hiss and scream his way to the food, he added, "That’s a wild beast!"

After he ate his fill, the cat jumped up on the railing and glared at us with his big yellow eyes, as if daring us to come out. We didn’t take him up on his challenge.

The following night, the cat showed up early and ate his fill before the rest of the gang’s arrival. Obviously, he was a smart cat—to survive in the woods, he had to be smart—and tough. I drove to town and bought some cans of cat food.

Starting that night, I would put a separate dish of cat food out just for the cat I had named Beast. Sometimes, as he ate, I opened the glass door and talked to him. Beast always responded with a hiss and a snarl. He made it clear he didn’t want to be friends.

Autumn turned to winter and it got cold. Soon, there were even more hungry visitors on the deck. Beast began to show up earlier and earlier. Often, he’d be lurking in the yard while I was putting out his food.

"Hi, Beast, ready for your supper?" I would ask.

"Meow. Hiss!" Beast would snarl.

"Enjoy your supper and try to stay out of fights. I don’t like to see you hurt."

Beyond these conversations, I left well enough alone. After all, Beast was one tough feline and I was a woman well past my prime. I didn’t think I was a match for him.

Then came the night of the first Arctic blast of winter. The north wind blew through the woods, chilling the air. The animals are in for a tough night, I thought, as I put out their food.

"Here’s your supper, Beast," I called out with chattering teeth to the waiting animal. "You’d better eat fast, then find some shelter. This weather isn’t fit for man or beast."

"Meow," Beast responded, jumping up on the deck for the first time. Startled, I backed away and quickly went inside. I sat down by the glass door and watched Beast wolf down his food. When he finished he sat there and stared at me. He was shivering.

"Beast, go find some shelter or you'll freeze to death," I called out loudly from the warm kitchen.

"Meow," Beast responded, walking up to the glass door and peering in at me. The wind ruffled his orange fur and he shivered again. So I gingerly opened the door, expecting Beast to run off. But he surprised me again. He walked right into the kitchen, looked around, headed to the wood stove and curled up underneath it. When I headed for bed he was still there.

"Good night, Beast," I said softly, without touching him.

The following morning I awoke early. Immediately, I wondered where Beast was. But I didn’t have to wonder for long. As I moved to get out of bed, I felt something heavy on my feet. It was Beast! He was curled up on top of them, still asleep. I reached over and stroked him, ever so gently. Beast responded by purring. And when I walked into the kitchen to stoke the embers and throw a log into the wood stove, he was right at my heels, as if he didn’t want me out of his sight. I was bowled over!

Later that morning, I brought my old cat carrier in from the shed and tricked Beast into it. He screamed like a banshee most of the way to the animal clinic. Finally, I pulled to the side of the road to have a talk with him.

"If you and I are going to live together, you’ll have to stop your wandering ways, Beast. You will get a health check and vaccinations, and you will be neutered. Your days of fighting and roaming are over." I told him firmly but lovingly. I believe he understood me for he calmed down and seemed to accept his fate without another complaint.

A few days later, my son came back for another visit.

"I can’t believe that you managed to tame that wild beast," he kept saying, shaking his head.

"It wasn’t even difficult," I told him. "All that wild beast needed to turn him back into a kitty-cat was some love and kindness. "

These days, when I sit by the glass door and watch my woodland neighbors eat their supper, Beast sits in my lap and watches them with me. He seems quite content to be an ordinary house cat—instead of a wild beast. And he is the most devoted, loving companion anyone can ask for. Love and kindness accomplishes miracles!
Original Copyright © 2000 by Renie Burghardt
Published in Chicken Soup for the Per Lover’s Soul and on bags of Chicken Soup for the Soul Cat and Kitten Food
©) Diamond Pet Foods, Inc. 2009, makers of Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Foods.

Thank you for reading and visiting. I hope you enjoyed Beast's story. He went to kitty heaven three years ago, but he lives on in my heart and memory, and on bags of Chicken Soup for the Soul Cat and Kitten Food.

And hopefully, I will be able to upload pictures of flowers and shrubs blooming in my yard soon! I just need a memory card reader that will cooperate! :-(

Blessings from the woods!


Reader Wil said...

Oh Renie what a lovely story! I am fond of cats. Do you know that lovely story about the Mousehole Cat, that tamed the Storm Cat by singing to it. Mousehole is a Cornish fishing village on the south coast. It is a beautiful place and is said that it was there, that the last one to speak Cornish died in 1770. I love Cornwall and spent much time there, while staying at the house of an English friend and her Australian husband.I have also got a Chicken Soup book. It's called Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul. It's good! I am glad I met you!

Red said...

That was a great story! Thank you so much for letting us in on it. I would love another cat but my living conditions right now won't allow for it.

Hope you weathered the storms and weather you have had of late. We are suppose to get cold here for about a week. Sigh. It has been in the mid to upper 80's


Granny Annie said...

Wonderful story. The is no animal more loving than one rescued from a very tough existence.

TheWritersPorch said...

Good Morning Sweet Renie.......
That was a wonderful story! Ours is pretty much the same with TC our cat. He was totally wild !
Not he will trip you up if your not careful. Hubby and I are still amazed after two years that we ever tamed the wild beast!
Carol should get your book today!

bennie and patsy said...

You sound like my husband, he can tame any wild aminal and food is the way he works with them. We had a wild cat we called Blackie that lived with is for 18 years.

Sharon said...

Oh that was a great story.
We have a wild beast that comes around every now and then.
I love reading the Chicken Soup books.
Thanks for sharing
Have a great day and God Bless

Leslie said...

Dear Renie,

I loved that story, I am cold but, that warmed my heart.

I have tamed several animals with great results. One was a Ground Hog. He lived in a hole by my garden, he loved my veggies, tomatoes were his favorite.
It took 6 monthes but, I finally got him to take tomatoes from my hand and sit by me while he ate them.
Where can I get a "Chicken Soup for the Soul ? Didn't you tell us in one blog a while back You were going to have something in the March book ?

Are you in for the snow we are supposed to get today ? I hope not.

God Bless you. Hugs~~~~Leslie.

P.S. I am going to write a blog about taming my groundhog. It is to long for a comment

ancient one said...

I loved the story of your cat.

violetlady said...

What a lovely story! Two of my cats were local feral cats, but eventually they became tame and are now happy members of my household. Did you ever change Beast's name?

Rudee said...

What a beautiful story Renie. It takes great patience and love for creatures to tame a feral cat. Look how he repaid your kindness with devotion. Priceless.

Bren said...

LOVe THIS STORY... Because I love my kittens too!

Susie said...

Hi Renie,
What a touching post to start my day :) You've shown here just what loving kindness can achieve.
I'm glad you and Beast have each other!

Brenda said...

I enjoyed that story very much Renie. This story could also relate to us humans. Even the most ornery people may come around after they been shown love time after time.
Thanks for sharing this with us. Hope everything is shaping up at your place with all of the ice storm mess. Hugs to you and enjoy your day!

BClark said...

Ah, Miss Renie, wonder who tamed who there. Like us, those "wild" animals sometimes just need a little love. So wonderful you gave your Beast so many happy years, and he you.
Looking forward to pictures of your pretty flowers.

Gramma Ann said...

Oh Renie! I loved your story. I also love the Chicken Soup Books about pets, dogs, and cats.

My son Paul use to drag home dogs and cats for me to take care of or tame. I like you, found that just being kind and there for them and they make up with you and begin to trust you in THEIR own due time. They always seem to just come and crawl in your lap and say here I am, love me. But, they always had to come to me first. If I tried to pick them up they would run away. First, I had to gain their trust.

Again what a wonderful story, I truly enjoyed it.

Have a nice week-end!


Patty said...

Thank you for the wonderful story. My Mother has been feeding a stray cat, which our one daughter started feeding before she moved out of my Mother's and into her own place. But she's not allowed pets. She took ole Tom and had him fixed. Mom feeds and waters the cat. She lets him come onto her enclosed back porch to eat when it's really cold outside. So I got her a cat house for him, and a large bag of cedar chips to put in the house for him to lay on. At first he didn't want anything to do with that little house, but apparently he's found out it's a pretty nice place to sleep. So he's been sticking around closer. Only thing is, Mom has to be careful, sometimes he almost trips her when he wants to rub up against her legs, I've told her to make sure she always has her cane with her. She had a knew replaced about three years ago. I would hate for her to fall and damage that knee. Have a terrific week-end.

Sandy said...

What a wonderful story Renie, I totally enjoyed this. yes..totally...

Michele said...

Love this story, Renie. Glad to see a new post--been missing you!!


Gramma Ann said...

Hi Renie,

In answer to your question: Did I watch "Dancing With The Stars" Monday? Yes I did. It an "American Idol" is about all I watch anymore, unless there is a good movie on TCM or one of the other movie channels.

Have a great week!


flydragon said...

Hi Renie,
What a great story!! I can certainly see why you've been published all over the place!!

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Mrs. Renie,
I enjoyed the story abut Beast and how you took him in adn tamed him. It was as if he was a liitle child that needed some TLC. Sorry he is gone and I know you have fond memories of Beast. "THANK YOU" for sharing anothe one of your wonderful stories with us. YOu and Mary are so talented and I love reading both of your stories. YOu don't have to visit my blog since you have beenhving troule gettin on there. I juwt wanted to come visit you and see waht you had posted. You can keep posting on my Facebook. Take caer my friend and ahvd a great day/weekend. May GOD Bless you and yours. Be careful and safe goint to town today.
karen H.

kkryno said...

I'll bet you miss Beast. What a surprise that he just wanted to be a regular old housecat! Those big old orange tabby tom cats are usually so cool.

I loved this story.

Loida of the 2L3B's said...

Miss Renie,
I always love your stories..
Thanks.. Please come and visit my site, I have an award for you. It's a FRIENDSHIP AWARD that I hope you'll like. Thanks..


Winifred said...

That was lovely Renie.

Quite a few years ago we had a big tomcat wandering around the garden and he fought with our cat until sadly little Tom was run over.

I inherited three cats after this and one day I found the poor old cat lying in the garden with a huge abscess on his face. I got him to the vet who treated him. Eventually we decided to keep him and get him neutered as he had become very friendly. I called him Dudley becuase he was cuddly my husband called him Roger the Lodger!

He was the friendliest of all our cats (apart from little Tom)and like Beast he followed me everywhere. I always fell over him if I turned quickly. Like you say love and kindness can achieve miracles. Sadly we lost him after about three years, we had no idea how old he was but he looked prety old. Like you I still miss him.

Rosy said...

Beautiful Story Renie, made me laugh and cry all at the same time.

A couple of years ago I was able to tamed a wild street cat...he even got brave enough to come into my home and yet he wasn't still quiet sure if he ought to trust or not...for a good many months he wouldn't let me touch him, then one day he just vanished.

Janice Thomson said...

I loved this Renie! I think most wild animals can be tamed with a little TLC. Your writing talent is fantastic.

Nancy said...

You know, Renie, that you touched my heart AND soul with this story! I have never hidden my love for animals. I have been trapping ferals and taming them for almost 9 years now, and they CAN be tamed, as you and I have both proven. I think strays and ferals makes the best pets. It's like they know you have saved them and given them a second chance at life. I love each and every one of my 33 and wouldn't part with one of them! They are here to stay!!!

Thanks so much for sharing this story with all of us cat lovers out here! It was so touching...I had tears at the end...sorry you lost him 3 years ago, but you know that he loved you and his home there with you.

((( HUGS )))

Deborah Wilson said...

Great story, Renie. I've always had a cat, they were with me for many years. The only wild one I had was Betsy, I'll have to tell her story soon.

It's cold and rainy here this weekend, I guess I'll stay inside. But I can see the flowers.

ancient one said...

Hello Renie,

That's an old picture of the yucca flowers. Last fall my husband cleaned out that corner. We cut all the old yucca down (still have little ones coming) cut the big old half dead azalea out, left the little dogwoods that are coming up, cut a cedar tree out of that corner, left a flowering vine, and a catcus. I hope to get out there soon and finish cleaning it up. That corner was our rock garden when it started and we had a wooden barrel planted with lilies among the yucca. Birds planted us a nice dogwood tree as well as a small red cedar. We planted the azalea and some daffodils along the fence. That corner has changed many times over the years...

Thanks for coming by and commenting on my "four".

janice_phil said...

wow!!! great story... I love cats...and I love seeing raccoons but they are sooo alert...i cant just simply enjoy watching them as soon as they feel someone is around they evaporate hehehe..ohhh possum i dont like much...but raccoons are soo cute...hehehehe!!!

Merle said...

Dear Renie ~~ I so enjoyed
your story about Beast and how he changed after you fed him. I think you have a great way with animals because you are so kind to them. Thank you for your kind words about my friend
Gwen. She will be dearly missed. Glad you enjoyed the jokes including the School answering machine message. Take great care, dear friend, Love, Merle.

Patty said...

That is a sweet story. We have five rescued cats. Well, they have us. We are their slaves, and they so enjoy it.

I am like you. There is no cat that can not be taught love and give love in return. I hear people say you can't tame a feral cat. How untrue that is.

I once drove 30 minutes twice a day to an old house that was passed down to my aunt. My sole purpose was to capture a feral cat who, somehow, had managed to live about five years, which is a pretty long life for a feral cat.

Neighborhood kids would steal her kittens, and who know what they did with them?

Anyway, I fed her twice a day, taking a cage with me so she would get used to seeing it.

It took her about a week to come near me, and one day I was able to touch her. A week later I put a can of cat food in the cage and captured her.

I locked her in a bedroom where she hid under a bed for about a week, not coming out when I came into the room.

One day, she came out, jumped upon the nightstand that I had sat down beside in order to dish out her grub.

I looked at her and told she was a good kitty. She swatted my face with a painful slash of her claws, and dashed under the bed.

I held very still and remained quiet.

I told her she was good kitty and left the room to access the damage to my face.

I went back a few hours later and lay on the bed; she jumped up on the bed and looked at me again. I was expecting another slashing incident. As she came closer to me, I treid not to tense up, and told her she was a good kitty again.

I was shocked and amazed when she lay down beside me and started purring.

She had tested me, and knew that I would not harm her. The next night she slept in the bed with us.

She lived another 10 happy years.

GutsyWriter said...

Do you think Beast had been a house cat before and was abandoned by the previous owners? I thought that since she came in and snuggled on your bed. Lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Mrs. Renie,
"THANK YOU" for dropping by yesteday. Well, we didn't have no Sunny sunday after all. It ws cloudy all day and even tho the tempeature was like 5 degrees. it was still on the chilly side. It is still cloudy here this morning as well. Hopefully the clouds will be movin out later this afternoon. It's suppose to be in the 60's here today and in the 70's tomorrow. I'm so ready for them. Hope you had a Blessed Sunday. Me and the girls went to Church yesterday also. Take care my friend and have a great Monday. May GOD BLess you and Yours.
Karen H.

Linda said...

What a delightful story!!! While reading your story I kept thinking of my son's "beast" he rescued as a baby. This cat lives indoors, sleeps on his bed, but she is not to be touched except when my son comes home from work. Then it's only a couple minutes.

Mary said...


This is a marvelous story. Of course I wouldn't expect anything less. I always enjoy your stories and am glad that this one was published in Chicken Soup.

Hope you are doing well. It's been a while. Spring is in the air here and we have very little snow. Just a bit along the fences.


Jean Maurie (angelsloveyou) said...

Renie, I loved this story about your "beast" and I am sending it to some friends who will also love it.

Now on to reading your other posts... what fun blogs you write.

Angel Hugs, Jean Maurie

Margaret Cloud said...

Renie, that was such a touching story, I love cats and have had many over the years, they are all at Rainbow Bridge now waiting for me. I really shed tears at the end of your story, when you said he passed away, bless you for taking good care of him, he also knew you needed someone for company also.

Midlife Mom said...

Oh my! Miss Renie that is the best story!!!!! I love it!! So glad you were able to tame the Beast and make a nice housecat out of him. It gives me hope that I will be able to tame Barnie at some point. He is doing fine living in the barn but I still worry about him when it's storming. I know he is snug as a bug in a rug or hayloft but I would much rather he was in the house with us. Thanks for sharing that lovely story with us!!!

Lucy Stern said...

Beast sounds like a wonderful cat.... I'll bet he was left by a previous owner and all he needed was a reminder that their is love out there. Thanks for the story...

Jmkdreak said...

Meow Hiss!


chad said...

hi miss renie...nice one, i love cats!hehehehe

audrey` said...

This is a moving story on the power of love and kindness. You were very brave to sleep with Beast in the same house when Beast entered for the first time =)

The W.O.W. factor! said...

Oh Renie! What a heart warming story!! You each brought joy to each other through love and caring!
I love this story.