The Tale of Tom

Tom, an older tabby, starting to go white with age.

My grandfather immigrated to USA from Austria. In America, he had a farm when I was little. All cats on the farm were outside cats and all cats, regardless of gender or markings, was called Tom. Of course, Tom was short for tomcat. I’m not sure if it was the language, the need to emotionally distance from the multitude of farm animals or what, but every cat was Tom.

When I bought my house a few years ago and moved into the village, it was the first time I remember actually encountering homeless cats first hand. Of course, one of the very first stray cats I encountered here at the house I have named Tom.

Tom is an older tabby. I am pretty sure from watching his habits that he is an unaltered male. Tom is starting to go white around his face, much in the way that Kitty did in his later years. Tom knows that my house and garage are a safe space. He can show up here for a meal and a nap. No one will bother him. 

Over the past few years, I have been trying to trap the stray cats and get them into shelter off the streets. I have a feeling that Tom may be either the last or one of the last ones that I am able to trap to get off the streets. 

You can tell that Tom is very street savvy. He has to be to be able to survive on the streets in this neighborhood as long as he has. I look for the three outside cats “in my care” every day and worry about them when I do not see them.

Tom will watch me if I am outside, but he always keeps a good distance. Any time a newcomer cat comes into the neighborhood, Tom is the one who fights the newcomer and basically tells them this is his territory. I saw Tom fight with a cat who wandered here from two blocks away once. That cat now stays in it’s own area.

Tom gets along well with the other two outside cats I help, Flower and Kenny. Tom seems to know that they need help too. It’s as if Tom knows who belongs here and who does not. That cat from two blocks over has a home. Tom, Flower and Kenny do not have a home. They come here as their place of refuge. I am waiting for the local shelter to have more space so that I can trap one of them and get them off the streets.

I worry about what will happen to Tom, Flower and Kenny if something happens to me. Of course, my priority is Jude, Simon and Jolene. I need to be sure someone takes care of them if something happens to me. But if I was away from home for a few days, there would be no one to feed the outside cats. I worry they would starve. I’m sure Tom would find a way to survive, the scrapper he is. I worry most about Kenny and Flower.

Kenny was thrown out of a pickup truck in our neighborhood in January. He has taken up residence in one of the cat shelters in my garage. He is shy, but friendly. He would definitely be a good adoption with a patient kind person. 

Flower was kicked out of a neighbor house when they had a new baby. Last fall Flower had a broken leg and walks with a limp ever since. Flower tends to stay in this neighborhood. I worry how Flower and Kenny would survive if I was not here to feed them.

I am pretty sure that Tom may wander outside of the neighborhood. There are times when I do go a day without seeing him. I think his range is larger than Flower or Kenny. I would really like to trap Tom, Flower and Kenny and get them into loving homes soon before something happens to me. I cannot imagine leaving this house without being able to find homes for them. 

Flower and Tom are two of the original strays I noticed here when I bought the house. I’m sure that when I am able to trap them and get them into shelter, it will be an emotional time. Every time I see Tom, I think of my grandfather, and how every cat is “Tom.” 

Being on my grandfather’s farm as a child, there were many cats who were “Tom.” However, now, when I think of Tom, I know I will always think of this aging tabby who has defied the odds and not only survived a very rough life on the streets but thrives as well. 

I am grateful for the opportunity I have to try to help Tom in what little ways I can. I provide fresh water and food daily. There are three insulated cat shelters for them to use to have safety from the elements and be warm in the winter. I hope that the local shelter has space soon so that I can get Kenny, Tom and Flower into good, loving homes. 

Every cat deserves a loving home. God bless Tom. 

Tom with Flower
Tom with Kenny

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