In Maine, it is inevitable that wildlife and domestic pets will occasionally pass through the trails.
It often happens under cover of darkness, or far enough into the woods that we don’t see those interactions.
That’s why Caroline Meadow of SACO enjoys seeing photos of all the creatures passing through the game’s camera in her backyard. On November 24, I discovered a photo showing a cat and a red fox, head on.
The cat appeared several times at the beginning of October.
“At first we assumed this cat must have belonged to a neighbour, but it was strange that we only saw him at night; Meadow said.
She said the cat kept a distance while local deer were feeding in the yard. She was worried that he would intersect with a fox, an occasional visitor.
Meadow could never have imagined that the sightings would help her reunite a lost cat with her owner, who had given up hope of seeing it again. The story shows that domestic cats are able to defend themselves in the wild.
Marj was relieved to learn that foxes and cats were able to coexist peacefully.
“Red foxes are opportunistic predators and can kill domestic cats, but that probably isn’t as common,” said Chefnell Webb, a miserable biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“Domestic cats are very defensive and can climb trees to escape predation,” she said. “The picture suggests the curiosity of both the cat and the fox – neither of them seem worried about getting too close to each other.”
Marj thought the cat might be wild and started taking out dry and canned food. She stayed a safe distance at first but eventually went for it.
“One night he ‘talked to me’ and I slowly approached him, lowered myself to the floor, and spoke to him, then he came forward and my hand touched his nose. Apparently this was not the behavior of a feral cat,” said Mido.
I started adding cooked chicken to cat food and placing the dish near the house and then on the balcony. Over time, the cat routinely arrived in the dark and waited for food to be served.
“I sat on the balcony and he came and sat on my lap!” Marj said.
Meadow’s sister-in-law suggested you try checking Facebook pages where people in the area might be looking for lost cats. She had almost given up hope when she found a post in October on the “Maine Lost Cat Recovery” Facebook page.
It turns out that “Thumper” had disappeared from Old Orchard Beach about two months ago.
Its owner, Katie Kerry, sold her home for 10 years and was preparing to move to Utah. In the meantime, I’ve rented a place in the OOB Village in Ocean Park.
“Thumper has been an indoor/outdoor cat since we’ve had it, about five years ago and absolutely loves to play outside,” said Keri’s daughter Chelsea Tarbucks.
But a few days after this temporary move, the cat rushed out.
“Unfortunately, it was the love of playing outside that drove him to sneak out the front door while my mom was carrying groceries and that was the last time we saw him,” Tarbucks said.
The other two women had died within the previous year, so Thumper’s disappearance was very difficult for them both.
It was devastating for us,” Tarbucks said.
They made posts, posted on social media, talked with neighbors, reported animal control and contacted a local animal shelter.
“We got nothing,” Tarbucks said. “Over time, the hope that he would return faded and we started mourning the loss of our little man.”
During the first week of December, Keri left for Utah and Tarbucks returned to her home in Boston.
Although he has been living abroad the whole time, he has since made his way approximately 3 miles from Ocean Park to Meadows home in Saco.
When he was in/out he was a good hunter, but not a tough cat,” said Tarbucks, amazed at his survival skills. “I don’t think I’ve even heard it hiss/murmured before.”
After confirming that Thumper was the missing cat, the women arranged the reunion. Tarbox fears he may not remember her.
“He heard my voice while I was talking to Caroline, and he immediately came out of his hiding and ran to my feet,” Tarbucks said. “He let me bring him straight in and we spent a few moments snuggling and purring before we turned around and headed back to Boston.”
Tarbox said Thumper is healthy and has been happy since the reunion.
“If I hadn’t known he had been gone for two months, I would have no idea,” Tarbucks said, appreciating Meadow’s efforts in helping the cat, truly the best Christmas present I could ask for.
In January, Thumper will be heading out for another trip. He will accompany the Tarbox to Utah.
“Thumps is happy to be safe and at home with me, but he really has to be with his mom,” Tarbucks said.