After the Erskine Creek Fire of 2016, the feral cat population dwindled to one; a cat called Nobody. Nobody had belonged to the big white house on the hill above Cook Peak, one of four in a row, one of 257 homes destroyed by fire. The owners never returned to rebuild or look for their cat. Traumatized by fire and all alone, Nobody moved down the hill to Cook Peak where he lived under the chicken coop. He was a good looking cat, sturdily built with a midnight coat. He lived off gophers and drank from the pig’s trough. I tried many times, but I could never get closer than a car length before he bolted. Mostly, he was content to watch from afar and never wanted more from me than space.
Last fall, I stopped noticing the cat in the mornings when I fed the pigs, then in the evenings until one day I stopped noticing him at all.
Feral and outdoor cats don’t last long at Cook Peak. I’ve learned not to get attached. When coyotes scream in the middle of the night, I know what’s going on. It happened Pindi, Ruthie, and my best cat Sheldon. I’ve learned the only kind of cat to have at Cook Peak is an indoor cat. Anything else is a nobody.