Wow! Thanks for all the name suggestions for my new buddy, the stray cat I’ve pseudo-adopted. With such an overwhelming inflow of possible names, I had a hard time choosing just one, but I’m still happy to say that I’ve come up with a solution to the dull and generic name “kitty” with which I’ve previously cursed this poor feline.
I’m naming the cat Chira. That is pronounced kée’-raa. For the phonetically challenged, try ki’-ruh. Think “gear” with a K suffixed with “uh”. The emphasis is on the first syllable.
The name is a blatant bastardization of the word chimera and is based on Chira’s half-grey-tabby-half-white coat (see previous link for photo examples).
As of today, Chira is still visiting me, and he/she comes around often based on a pretty regular schedule (early morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, and early evening). We sit and talk — well, I sit and talk while Chira eats. I provide regular doses of cat food throughout the day. If there is none there when the kitty arrives, he/she waits patiently for me to realize it’s time to eat. I then bring a handful of food outside and pile it up while my feline friend watches and waits patiently, usually only a few inches from me and sometimes even butting my hand aside to grab a nibble while I’m still trying to put food down.
Although I’ve been feeding Chira on the ground, I’m going to try putting it in a bowl so I can bring the poor cat onto the patio to eat. The food will be more protected that way (inside my patio fence) and anything left at night won’t be consumed by the momma possum that discovered this dining hall and generally vacuums up whatever is left once the sun sets. It’ll also provide me a way to put fresh water with the food so I know there’s plenty available.
In the meantime, birds have also discovered the food cache and nibble at it throughout the day. Mostly they are sparrows, although I’ve also seen a rogue blue jay sitting under the bushes nibbling at the food. They usually make a mess by spilling it all over the place rather than leaving the neat pile I make for Chira, but that’s just nature. Of course, you can imagine The Kids find this very enjoyable: they get to sit at the back doors and windows while the birds hop about the patio with bits of cat food. The avian visitors almost always carry a bit of the feed onto the patio and eat it right there. This places them within one or two feet of The Kids, yet they don’t worry since they know those are inside cats who can’t get through the invisible barrier separating them.
I don’t know if cat food is good for birds. I try to make sure there’s not enough left over after Chira eats to tempt the feathered friends, yet a single piece will bring one or two interlopers to investigate. I suppose I’m not so worried about the birds since they seem capable of consuming vast amounts of refuse meant for other creatures, let alone that which is normally considered waste. Still, I wonder if cat food is good for them…