Where the Field Ends and the Cat Begins

It takes a peculiar vision to be able to detect
Precisely where

The field grasses brushed by blowing
Stars and the odor of spring
In the breath of sweet clover buds
And the star-mingled calls of the toads

In the threading grasses and the paws
Of the clover brushing through the field
Of stars and the star-shaped crickets
In the ears of the sweet grasses
And the tail of the night flicking
Through the calls of the clover and the spring
Stars slinking past the eyes of midnight
And the hour of the field mouse passing
Through the claws of the stars and the brushing
Haunches of the weeds and starry grasses
Threading through the eyes of the mouse
And the buds of the stars calling
With the sweet breath of the field

And the cat begins.
~Pattiann Rogers “Finding the Cat in a Spring Field at Midnight”

The knock on the door seemed urgent: – “did we know we have an injured cat?” –
the pest control serviceman was spraying the perimeter of our house for carpenter ants and saw our young calico farm cat crawling along the ground in the bushes, unable to use her hind legs.

I grabbed my jacket and a towel to wrap her in, preparing for a quick trip to the vet clinic, but she had vanished by the time I got outside. I searched for an hour in all the likely places Nala typically hangs out but she was no where. I kept an eye out for her every day, calling her, but I never saw her or heard her distinctive voice.

Nine days later, she was on the front porch, thin and weak and hungry, meowing for a meal. She was walking but with still-weakened hind legs and two healing wounds on either side of her lower spine. Something very traumatic had certainly happened, but she had survived, using up several of her nine lives.

As I inspected the wounds, I began to surmise what may have happened:
We have nesting bald eagles who spend time in the high trees around our farm house, watching for wild rabbits or other small prey. This cat is smallish, with plenty of white fur to be easily seen in the tall grass with sharp eagle vision. I suspect she was picked up by eagle talons as a tempting meal, pierced on either side of her spine to carry her away up to a treetop, but feisty as she is, she would have been more trouble than she was worth, so dropped from a significant height, causing a spinal cord contusion and temporary lower leg paralysis.

Little Nala has since recovered completely except for the bald patch scars on either side of her spine. She is a noisy communicator, insistent and bold. I think her loud voice and attitude saved her from becoming a raptor’s lunch.

Not many more lives to go, dear feisty Nala. Spend them well.

photo by Nate Gibson

A book of beauty in words and photography available to order here:

13 thoughts on “Where the Field Ends and the Cat Begins

  1. A terrific poem! and an adventure story with lovely Nala and as you as a pathologist. You may have to start a second career as a KCIS (Kitty Criminal Investigation Service) specialist and then write about your experiences.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Survival of the fittest??
    So glad that Nala survived and that the baby Eagles did also.
    I have noticed among our family cats that they seem to disappear
    when injured – or for other unknown reasons. Two of my brother’s
    female mother cats disappeared – left to die – alone!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This post took me back 6 or 7 years.

    We had 2 orange tiger barn cats.
    One was Big Leo. The other was Little Leo.
    One always had his tail up and the other always had his tail down.
    Big Leo was not well.
    One morning he was lying in the grass
    under the silver maple tree near the pond.
    I could tell he was coming to the end of his time.
    I kept an eye on him.
    Later, he moved to the the corn field.
    I went and sat nearby.
    I didn’t want to lose him.
    I wanted to give him the burial he deserved.
    A service repair man came for his appointed visit,
    so I put a shovel or rake at the edge of the field
    to mark Leo’s location.
    After the repair person left,
    I returned to the egde of the corn field.
    It took me awhile to find big Leo.
    He had moved a few rows to the north.
    I again sat nearby and waited.
    Later that afternoon, Big Leo died.
    Getting him out of the corn field wasn’t easy.
    His body had stiffened and the corn stalks were closely planted.
    With effort and using a rake and a shovel,
    I got his body out of the field and on the grass.
    I put his body in a garbage bag and took him to a flower bed near the barn.
    There I buried his body.
    A few years earlier,
    our house cat, Leo, had passed after suffering from a stroke.
    His body was also buried in this flowerbed, after his death.
    Since his burial, we had a solar light there to remind us of Leo’s grave.
    Both Leo and Big Leo had given us lots of love and enjoyment.

    As I pause and sit here reflecting,
    I think about the other cats and dogs
    that were an important part of our lives
    while enjoying life on The Farm…
    Toddles, Candy, Rocky, King, Queenie,
    Tom, Jefferson, and The Rebel.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. On Mon, Nov 1, 2021 at 10:08 AM laurie cummings wrote:

    I too have a spunky,feisty ‘Nala’ type. One of many rescued (spay and neuter please ! ) Barn cats from the retired dairy farm nearby.As there is only so much room in this small abode of ours, she and her brother reside on the back porch in 4 star accomodations.I estimate that at age 7,she may have 3 or 4 lives to continue to enjoy. Love the poem and pics.Every June and July our wetlands are teeming with; fireflys that fit right in, as our 2 outside kits romp and stomp on those special nights. Your gorgeous all black cat has a special shine,as we know that all All Black cats possess. I learned this many years ago as a child when I was mesmerised by Piwackit ( sp ? ) in the movie ‘Bell,Book and Candle’.I am thankful for everything I receive from Barnstorming. 🐱💕 Laurie

    Liked by 2 people

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