"Little Toots and Big Mamou love to eat their catfish stew.
Later on, when the meal is through, they retire to their basket to bill and coo."
What a couple of clowns! Both were strays who somehow connected with me and ended up as part of our extended feline family. Although they joined our household at different times, they bonded immediately and became inseparable pals.
For years I'd been feeding a small colony of stray cats near one of our rental houses, and one night Alien (Big Mamou) appeared on the fringes, quietly observing the activity. She looked healthy and well-fed, so I assumed she belonged to someone in the neighborhood and was just passing through for a freebie. She was friendly and approached me for a head rub. The next evening she was back again, and she returned every night thereafter for several months. I secretly suspected that she belonged to our tenants, although they denied ownership. After they moved, Alien was still there, so I took her home. Why did I name her "Alien"? Many reasons. She has unusually long, antenna-like hairs at the tips of her ears. She seems to be triple-jointed and boneless, and she has a serious food obsession. Tofu, potato chips, spicy salami, grapefruit - you name it, she'll eat it with gusto. I swear she even gets a vicarious thrill from watching us put away the groceries. Miraculously, she is not overweight. One of her favorite tricks involves opening a kitchen cabinet door, grabbing onto the top edge with both front feet, and swinging back and forth. This was how she discovered that the kitchen garbage was kept behind one of these doors. That door now has a child-proof lock.
Cosmo (Little Toots) was a young feral who frequently visited our backyard during the winter. We offered him food and talked often to him, and after a few weeks he allowed us to pet him, but only while he was eating. One night Cosmo missed his evening supper and turned up several hours later with his beautiful bushy tail coated with spray paint. He seemed to realize that his predicament called for human intervention, and he calmly allowed me to clean him up and brush out most of the paint . Evidently this was our turning point, because the next day, he decided to move indoors and officially join our family.
Cosmo soon became our sweet little clown, revealing a talent for unearthing long lost (and not very important) household objects. He has proudly presented us with countless paper clips, pens, rubber bands and dust balls. We save these little gifts in a small basket to let him know how much we appreciate his good housekeeping efforts.