Monday, September 9, 2013


I finally got a picture of Bernie, the old stray cat I feed (and truly care about). The quality of the picture isn't very good (I had to take it quick before he got scared), but he sure is cute.

Rob says Bernie looks like a cartoon version of an alley cat, with his crooked ears and his sad eyes. Bernie isn't tame. I can't pet him or even get very close to him, but I love him nonetheless. Bernie is probably the father of just about all our 11 cats. I call him a "retired tom," because for years he was the king of our country neighborhood, roaming about, fighting with the other toms and winning over the ladies, but now, in his old age, he has settled down. He spends his time resting on the landing outside our utility room, waiting for me to bring him his Fancy Feast. When I do, I always greet him and try to tell him how much I care and he always hisses at me. That is our relationship. When he hisses at me, I know everything is as it should be and that he's doing all right. (I'm always worried about poor old Bernie.)

I wish I could have intervened earlier in his life, gotten him fixed and brought him inside. I think he would have made a great pet, because he's really very gentle for a feral cat. He's so small. And I love his sweet, forlorn expression, his puppy-dog eyes. The trouble was, we could never catch him, and now I feel it's too late even to get him fixed. (I'd have to trap him, and he'd be terrified.) He doesn't fight anymore. He just lies in the sun on the landing, sometimes sleeping, sometimes not. I feed him before I go to work and when I get home again. When I come in the door after work, Rob always tells me, "Mr. Bernie's waiting for his supper." And I go and fix up his bowl, fill it nice and full. (The reason Rob doesn't feed Bernie is that he knows I want to do it.)

I'm glad Bernie's getting a bit of rest now in his golden years. I'm glad the landing where he lies is sun-washed and warm and that it offers a pleasant view of the yard. I often see him blinking and looking sleepily around. Here are some of the sights that surround him on these early-September days:

Surprise lilies

Ripening beautyberries

Tabasco peppers

Katie Road Pink rose hip

Orient pears

Caladiums in the Vine House


  1. I love Mr. Bernie! I love his lopsided ears and his sad expression. You are giving him just what he needs, love and food. Both are very important.

    Love seeing what you've got growing there.

    Have a nice evening and a great day tomorrow.


  2. Oh, Mr. Bernie is precious. I chuckled at the "Mr. Bernie's waiting for his supper". That's too cute. Your photos are just beautiful. I love love LOVE the Beautyberry. :)

  3. Aww, cute little Bernie. I love it that he still hisses at you - too funny really. Cantankerous old guy!

  4. Mr Bernie has got it made. Sounds like he is a very happy cat....with a human to worry and care about him.
    Your pictures are so beautiful.I love them all. Do you ever frame your photos?
    Thanks for the sweet comment today. The joy of reitrement is that you have "time".... Time to notice birds and the seasons changing.Old age comes to us all...if healthy, it can be a most enjoyable time of life.

  5. Awwww, Bernie is so cute! Even though he doesn't show it in the traditional way, I know he knows that you love him and he loves you back! I have such a soft spot for cats :)

    Your photos are so gorgeous!!!

  6. Leslie - I wish you could have gotten Bernie fixed, too. I had two stray cats show up in Jan. 2012. Big Foot (a Hemingway/polydactyl) cat was feral. It was a year or more before I could trap him and haul him off to the vet to be fixed. He came back almost human! He's decided it's ok for me to pet him and he even seeks out affection.