On a very cold day later that year I saw her walking through the snow to one of the remote buildings. I couldn’t just forget about her out there with nothing to drink. (My mother didn’t raise me like that.) I heated up some milk in the microwave, put it back in the jug and walked it down there. I got a glimpse of her up in the rafters. She saw me pour out the liquid.
A few years later after she spent some time at our place on and off, I was walking on the gravel road with her tagging along behind me. A car started to come out of the neighbor’s driveway so I picked her up — partly because she blended into the color of the gravel. The driver stopped and rolled down her window to ask, “Is that cat nice now?”
The cat had spent some time in their horse barns when not at our place.
We let her take up residence in the house while we were mostly living at a condo in Red Wing. Recently when I checked on her she was particularly out of sorts — not exactly steady on her feet, to say the least. I thought I should stay with her. I didn’t want to come back to find her crumpled up at the bottom of the stairs.
The first night, her tail hung down straight and still all night — or at least the numerous times I glanced in that direction. Then about dawn I saw it start to flick back and forth like a metronome. A couple days later she literally clawed her way back up into a stumbling/standing position outside in the grass. Human hand "training wheels" helped her pick up some momentum.
Now she spending the nights in the mudroom where I rearranged and removed a few obstacles. She had gotten tangled up with some snowshoes behind a flower pot.
She’s no longer anywhere near quiet all night long and the struggle is real. I hope the not "nice" moments were just her confusedly reverting back to survival mode.
The purring is considerably more angelic.