We’re still hanging out in Bandon, and in the absence of anything new, I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts from years past. Here’s the story of Fido, the Campground Cat:
Every once in a while you come across a story that bears repeating. This is one of them:
10 years ago Alton and his wife, retired farmers from East Texas, began volunteering during the winter at Blanco State Park as campground hosts. It wasn’t long before a small, beautifully marked little cat began hanging around their RV, and Alton (a pushover for a hungry animal), put out some cat food. It was obviously a feral cat and wouldn’t let Alton near it….for the first year. The next year Alton returned to volunteer, and there was the cat waiting for him. More food was offered, and by the end of the year, the cat would let him softly pet her while eating.
Year three….more food and more petting, and by the end of the year the cat was following him everywhere. Alton says that since the cat followed him everywhere like a puppy, he decided to name her “Fido”. Year four; more petting, and then came year five and the big breakthrough, when Fido climbed into his lap and allowed him to pet her. Each year since then, Fido has been waiting for Alton to return to the park, and now when he arrives she quickly becomes his “lap dog”….er, cat. In her tenth year since adopting Alton, she stays at the park by herself each summer because she’s still feral enough that she occasionally needs her space and wants to roam. But when Alton’s here, you can bet that if you walk by his RV and he’s outside reading a book he’ll have a lap full of a sleeping Fido. Alton doesn’t know how old Fido is or how many more years she’ll be here to greet him when he arrives, but he hopes it’s for a long time. So do we.
Last January I told the story of Alton, the campground host, and Fido, the feral cat who adopted him. For ten years, Fido (named because she followed Alton around like a puppy), would be waiting at Blanco State Park each year when Alton and his wife returned, and where you saw Alton, you saw Fido – usually in his lap. Sadly, Fido won’t be there next year.
As Alton tells it, Fido came down with a runny nose and had trouble keeping food down. An antibiotic from the Vet helped the runny nose, but Fido still couldn’t eat and grew weaker. After more trips to the vet, it became clear that Fido wasn’t going to get any better; after all, 10 years is a long time for a feral cat to survive. Alton says that on the final trip to the vet’s office, Fido, who usually fussed when riding in the truck, sat calmly, and at one point stretched her paw out to Alton’s arm and looked up at him as if to say she understood where they were going. Alton was with Fido at the end, and if she could talk she’d tell you that in adopting Alton she had a pretty good deal. But Alton would tell you he got the better of it.
Fido rests with other pets in a field not far from the park, and another camper crafted a simple marker, varnished nicely with her name on it. But cats are supposed to have nine lives, and maybe she’s back in another, younger body, because another feral cat, that a ranger told me no one could get near to, has adopted Alton.
This young cat, nicknamed “Crazy” for now because of her antics, also follows Alton around, and like Fido, has discovered that sitting in his lap keeps him in one place and closer to the food supply. If you’re ever in the Blanco, Texas area, stop by the state park and say hello to Alton and his new friend…..just make sure you bring a cat treat!