Going through the photo rolls. Watching old cat posse videos. Drawing and painting birds. Scrolling through Petfinder.
My dear ones have gone. They are missed. I am here in the quiet space that has been left.
If my next kitty is white, they will live a life indoors. Like me, you may not be aware of the high risk of skin cancer in white cats. I didn’t, until Wyatt’s first cancer growth on the top of his head. Then came more on his ears and eye lids. Just like humans a lifetime of unprotected sun exposure can wreak havoc on a cat’s health.
Even if my next gentleman cat is not white, they will probably live an indoor life. As I’ve aged, my thoughts have changed on the benefits of outdoor living. It started to change 11 years ago when Buck Moss was killed by 2 dogs on the loose, but by that time Wyatt & Corky weren’t having it. They’d spent the first 6-7 years going in and out the cat door all day long. I didn’t have the heart or resolve required to keep them inside.
I see coyotes frequently in the lane next to Moss Cottage.
So I’m entertaining ideas of catios, harness training for excursions in the garden, and other such thoughts.
I just know that as I age I’m reluctant to take chances with my cat companions. Especially, if I adopt rescues that have lived a life indoors. It will make it easier for me to holdfast to my commitment to keep future cat posses inside.
My future self is going to enjoy reading her old captain’s logs.
And looking at the pictures.
Wyatt was a frequent wearer of cat cones! Even though he was neutered in kittenhood, he was a force to be reckoned with in the battlegrounds of the great outdoors. At least for the first 15 years of his long life.
But as he aged, Corky took over the patrolling and safeguarding of the perimeter.
I buried my face in that furry belly every day for 18 years.
Dear feline beasts. Full of love and affection to the very end.
Naturally, I’ll keep you posted on all upcoming adoptions. This is the first time since 1991 I’ve been without a cat posse.
I don’t think I’m cut out for a life without cat companions. And somewhere out there is a cat who needs a mother. I’ll find him.
With all the zillions of strays and fosters you’d think it’d be easy to scoop up a new buddy. Nope. So far it’s been more elusive than I thought, but I’m okay with that. I’ve needed the time.
I have a lead I’m working…
Time will tell if it comes to fruition or not.
In my sketchbooks I’ve been drawing and painting birds.
If you keep indoor cats I’d love to hear about it.
Thanks for the notes you left me on the last post. They meant a lot.
See you soon!
You are so beautiful.
Susan LaFond says
I am remembering fondly of the cat posse’s random appearances in so many of your class videos. Even tho I never met them, I feel their loss, just a wee tiny bit so I can only imagine that Moss cottage feels quiet to you and your heart. As far as cats go, both our cats are indoor kitties. Tiger Lily, my daughter’s cat who lived here until she left home for her own digs, was a rescue and had been an outdoor kitty who we had no problem keeping as an indoor kitty. She was pampered quite a bit and the transition was easy. She spent time exploring the basement studio and laundry room as an alternative to being outside. We tried a halter and leash but she was not having none of that nonsense. And then there is Lucy who I adopted as a kitten and she’s always been an indoor kitty. We have quite a few feral cats in our burb and so many bunnies, it’s peace of mind knowing I don’t have to worry about night time shenanigans. We also have a lil terrier, Tilly who gets along very well with both cats and Lucy took to Tilly easily as they grew up together. I’m 63 so these days keeping things low maintenance, keeping paws safe and sound is easy when the house is as far as I need go for any cat wrangling that needs tending too. I know you shall find the right kitty to partner up with.
Kate Burroughs says
I have a friend who built a catio for her cats. I think it is a great idea for may reasons. Sorry for the loss of your previous cats.
Jo Brody says
dearest Mary Ann!
I loved loved LOVED this cat-centric missive for I am a cat-centric Miss! I am sorry about your current state of cat-lessness and the loss of your dear ones. And I loved your album of your cat posse photos and paintings/drawings. It reminds me that I must get back to drawing and painting my two dudes, Mango and Mobey. My sketchbook life has faltered for whatever reason and I have been mostly drawing from the model both in person and online, but I love drawing cats! M and M are brothers that look like they’re from another mother but are from the same mother and they were the only two in the litter! She was gorgeous calico and Mango is (yup you guessed it) completely orange and Mobey is black and white with a perfect “Man in Black” mask from Princess Bride and a lovely black belly spot that is only revealed to his special friends. When M and M were born in March 2021 across the street at my neighbor’s who fosters shelter kittens, our 19 y.o girl Miss Mellow was at death’s door. Nevertheless I insisted we get them, not let these two cuties be separated, that I would not/could not go one day during pandemic or otherwise without a cat. What a smart move. My husband (who had vehemently said NO! at first) is besotted with these two (Mobey is his special baby) built them, at my request, a catio to best all catios! I insisted that this time we have indoor cats. I couldn’t bear the idea of one of our neighborhood coyotes, ravens, raccoons or (shhhh) rats having our babies for brunch. SO the catio was constructed during the great heat dome of 2021. It has tunnel runs along the outside of the house(accessed indoors by a little series of shelves leading to an otherwise uselessly high window) and a bridge that crosses that driveway and leads to the enclosed catio which used to be an open air fort (OK, party spot) for for my sons. We kept the disco ball, I painted murals on the three walls of a Japanese themes; bonsai, bamboo, cherry blossom and there are hanging hammocks and cozy sheepskin style pillows. Mark’s a professional mosaic artist and resident artist in schools where they hire him to create mosaic murals so his latest addition to the catio are two mosaic plaques, one of each cat, that he placed on the bridge to the catio. Our cats seem “mostly” happy to be “indoor” cats. Mango less so. He is my predator, would be murdering all the birds we have if we could. And in turn I am sure if we let him outside he’d get into some serious dust-ups that could be very life-shortening. So yes, I think indoor cat status is called for these days with the proliferation of wildlife in the city looking for cat-shaped food morsels. I am so happy to send you inspiring photos of the catio if you like, but long comment long, indoor cats can be happy and most definitely are healthier. As are the neighborhood birds. Thanks for your bloc. I love it always! I’m coming to LA next month to see my sons who live in Highland park but we’re staying in Ocean Park at a gorgeous mid-century bungalow, for beach vibes, Any suggestions of what’s on in LA right now are always adored. You once sent me hand drawn maps of your special haunts (we LOVED Arlington Garden) and I loved your Huntington map! So in fact MAM, you are my informal tour book to LA! I really would love to go to Lotus Land since I never seem to make it there when we’re in Santa Barbara but maybe we’ll do a day trip! That’s all for now. Sending love.
MaryStar Ely says
Hello Mary Ann,
I love reading about the cats, their adventures and your love for them. I have 3 indoor cats, all rescues. Angus and Kevin built a cat run to the outside that they access through the kitchen window. I highly recommend it, the cats love being outdoors when we’re on the deck. Love to you on your search for your feline posse, I’ve found they seem to find you so one or two will find their way to you soon.
Jane B. says
Not having a pet is incredibly hard – my Lili (dachshund) passed at 13 1/2 last year, and the hole this has left is still gaping. With splitting my life between two continents, it’s just not feasible or responsible to take on another, but it’s so hard. I truly wish you luck in your journey to find ‘Cat Posse – The Next Generation’ family members. As Brian’s Scottish grannie would say “Whit’s fur ye will no go by ye.” The right one (one’s) will come along and be very lucky and loved!
laural winter says
So sorry for your loss of your lovely companions. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
I hope you find companions when you are ready. I agree it’s hard without a cat posse. I’m on my second posse.
Best wishes to you, Laural
Polly Berseth says
My heart is with you, I still miss all my past kitties. The right one will come along.
Laura Bray says
So very sorry for your loss. Your bird paintings are lovely. I think Wyatt is somewhere, in the Great Beyond, sending you these images. Take care of yourself. The right cat will appear for you when it is time.
Mary H says
Your bird paintings are so colorful and engaging, they exhibit the personalities I see in the various birds that live in our backyard. I can almost hear them chirping and singing.
Good luck on on your cat adoption quest. Some lucky cat out there is going to have a wonderful home.
I’m so sorry you have lost all your kitty friends. It is a very hard thing to go through and I commend you highly that you are already looking for your next generation of fur babies. I’m usually so wrecked I can’t bring myself to even consider it for a couple of years! I am the damaged one – not you. You have such a big heart that you obviously can look at the love you can give them (and get in return), where I am just selfishly thinking I don’t want to ever hurt like that again. I need to get over myself. I wanted to mention that the local rescues and animal protective leagues in Ohio won’t place a cat with someone who is going to allow the cats to spend time outside. I think that is wrong and a shame and I have friends who have struggled to find a cat because of that “rule”. Not completely sure of the reason for it – maybe trying to keep cats from roaming in other people’s yards…..? Anyway, best of luck in your search. I can’t wait to see who you bring home! Hugs!
All my life long the secret to ‘house cats’ has been the breeding. Some breeds love in-door life and would not want it any other way (that’s my experience). Our indoor kitties have been Himalayan and our in & out kitties have been Tabby cats. I’ve never been successful with trying to raise a Tabby to stay indoors exclusively but I’m sure someone has! You and your new kitty family will find each other, I just know it! Fair winds MAM!
We have 4 very happily spoiled indoor cats. We adopted Sunny about 6 months after our first kitty ,Sophie, died at the age of 19. Sunny is an adult who had lived indoors & is very happy to be here with us. Then a few years later, a momma cat gave birth in our backyard. We weren’t able to catch her, but we did bring in her 3 beautiful babies. We had intended to take them to a no kill rescue, but we fell in love with them, of course! So now Gracie, Peanut & Fluff live happily with us. Even though they began their life outdoors & were out there for just over 3 months before we brought them inside, they are quite happy inside. Sunny Cat decided she wanted nothing to do with the kittens, so she opted to live in our basement where she is in charge! As soon as it’s warm enough we open windows with screens & they are content to look out the windows & enjoy the fresh air. I know the right kitty or two or three will find their way into your heart & live a very happy indoor life. Sending kitty hugs & good vibes your way.
Hey Mary Ann! I have 3 shelter cats and they’ve always been indoor cats. I’m in the Colorado foothills and we have bears, bobcats, coyotes, huge hawks and owls… My cats have never been allowed to go out and I guess they’re okay with it. I have one that likes to run out the door when she gets the chance but she never goes far. And we grab her and bring her back in. The squirrels even come up to the windows to look in on those “critters” in that house. 😀 We have bird feeders so they can watch the birds, and I’m sure the birds are thankful we don’t let the cats out. 😉
A kitten would love one of those carpeted climbing platform things. We got one for our older cats and they rarely even got up on it to take a nap! Too lazy. But we love them. They’re just like children, only they don’t talk back! Not much anyway. 🙂
Ginny Ballou says
What a wonderful tribute to Wyatt Earp Moss. Hold him in your heart as you search your next furry companion. Hugs. Ginny
kate jocelyn says
MaryAnn- Our cat, Fiona looks a lot like your Corky! She is right on 1 year old and has never gone outside except on a leash or in a cat carrier. She travelled in the car in her cat carrier from CO to MI recently and has acclimated to her new home well. She loves the 3 season room which has windows with screens on 3 sides–it is her kingdom! She can sunbathe, watch the birds and bugs and watch what the dogs or humans are up to out in the yard. There are ceiling to floor windows in the living room , dining room and master bedroom which she also loves for “virtual hunting” trips and general snooping. She acts like she would love to run outside now and then, but we’re trying to keep her indoors for her own safety. We’ll see how this summer goes! The right catboy is out there waiting for you, I’m sure of it! Namaste– Kate Jocelyn
Deborah Pierro says
Hi Mary Ann–Your post is lovely, as are the photos of Wyatt. Aren’t they precious when they’re curled up with their little eyes closed? We adopted (recently) a cat that belonged to a neighbor who let him stay out numerous hours while he was at work. We felt sorry for him and invited him in for meals and to sleep overnight sometimes. Now little Seymour is our little baby–he’s between 3 and 4 years old. Now he is an indoor cat, but I take him for walks on his lead sometimes. He’s an orange tabby; so adorable. Good luck getting your next cat posse!
Lynda Fishbourne says
Hello my fellow cat lover and journal keeper, beach lover and nature girl…
I have been following you for years and even taken one or two of your courses.
It is so sad to loose a kitty friend. I am on my fifth cat right now…
a rescue Tortie named Meow… all my cats have been indoor cats… except since we
moved to Florida from New England and we now have a screened in lanai… so Meow
gets out on the patio when we are outside… she really enjoys the sunshine and she
is safe from all the weird critters we have here. Indoor is best, but a window for
watching the birds really is appreciated by all! hugs from afar – Lynda
Sally-Ann Shaw says
I’m sorry about your loss. I hope you loss. We have a rescue cat Marnie she’s an indoor cat. She wasn’t going to be but she didn’t like the outdoors. She’s a very timid cat and runs away to hide if she sees anyone. We love her. I hope you get your next fur baby soon.
Oh golly, I’ve been thinking about you, after the loss of your dear cat buddy. I know how it goes with dearest fur babies that are so much a part the family and their loss is hard.
My son and girlfriend adopted a kitty before getting married. Their lil kitty gal is now quite a charmer-but came to them with a history being on the city streets and unfortunately had a litter of kittens as almost a kitten herself…It took a bit but this new kitty settled into her new life indoors.
A couple years have passed and another kitten has joined the family and is enjoying her time as an indoor only cat.
My kids keep the cats indoors due to severe weather plus urban concerns of car and truck traffic in their neighborhood. The cats have adapted to life as indoor cats- they do like to sit on a sunny indoor perch during the day in the house to look at birds outside, as well as raccoons who visit and taunt them at night.
All this to say, I have no doubt you can create a new cat-dom, indoors this around…Best of luck!
Kristi B says
Hi, Mary Ann – I am just catching up and am so sorry to hear about Wyatt Earp. It is so difficult to lose a beloved pet. I have had stray and rescued cats for years and all have been indoor cats. The latest are Poppy who has only one eye and is happy to admire birds from the window and Butter who never, ever wants to go back outdoors again. These two are the sweetest kitties ever. I am sure that the perfect feline friend will find you soon.
Karyl Howard says
You have been a wonderful and loving “Cat Mama” and both you and all of the kitties have been gifts to each other. After the time passes, I am looking forward to seeing your pictures and drawings of your new little fur beasts! Hugs!
I am catching up on posts and came straight here when I saw his name in the Feed. So very sorry to hear he’s now gone *hugs*
We have one furbaby whose name is Jupiter. He does live indoors despite his attempts to foray into the world. He likes lettuce, beef jerky and flowers. As today is Mother’s day, he just showed his appreciation by knocking down a vase and giving me something to do.😂
Susan Shelley says
A house without a cat is just not a home.What a lovely boy he was,a legend in his own time.We are down to 3 gingers since we moved here last year we have lost Motu to kidney disease and Chloe just up and died on her favourite afternoon spot on the back lawn.My sympathies and having lost cats to facial cancer I can understand your need to keep them inside.There are some wonderful setups around to enable you to do so.
Kym Maraldo says
We have two indoor rescued beasties. We sometimes let them out into our small backyard, always supervised and only 10-15 minutes at a time. They enjoy rolling around on the concrete, polishing their coats, and basking in the dappled sunshine. One of us says, “It’s time to go in now, Albert” and he heads straight for the door. The other of us grabs Charlie as he tries to duck into the workshop to hide, hoping we’ll forget about him. Not bloody likely, bud!
I wish you luck finding a new posse. Life is complete with pets and we cannot imagine our home without them.
Thank you for sharing your memories. Those beautiful animals were wonderful companions to each other and to you.
My cats have all been indoor-outdoor cats. They protected our garden from rodents. After my last cat passed away many years ago, I didn’t get another–too many allergies–my sniffling drove my husband nuts. (I did finally get my allergies under control and just recently adopted a chihuahua-mix, found on nextdoor.com. He and I walk about five miles most mornings.)
A friend adopted two indoor cats. She harness-trained them early. Since they move at very different speeds, she got a pet-stroller for when she wanted to take them out together. She posted more when they were younger: @oliveandelliott
All the best in your search for another animal(s) to love
Helen Long says
All three of my kitties(now in kitty heaven) lived their entire lives, 20, 19 and 17 years, as indoor cats. We enclosed the patio on the side of the house and installed a catflap. That way they could bask in the sun, chase shadows and eat the grass we grew for them. We put shelves of various heights in there so they could climb and perch where they wanted.
They lived happy, contented and safe lives. They felt no deprivation as they didn’t know anything different. They had plenty of space to wander around. They had the best of both worlds really.
At one point we did put them on harnesses and we would take them out in the garden. But that spooked them and we had to watch what they ate etc. They were very happy on the catio.
The catio sounds idyllic!
Mary Ann Moss says
Oh that sounds nice indeed, Helen. They lived long GOOD lives.
Helen Long says
Yes very happy well loved kitties. I feel your losses. Our pets are so important to us. I am happy you are looking at the idea of offering another kitty/kitties a wonderful home with you. Xxx
My sincere condolences of the passing of the posse. Not easy at all I know from experience. Even though they’re often silent, their aura exudes a certain vibration…we KNOW they’re in our midst. My four cats were all inside dwellers, much easier, cleaner, reassuring all the way around. No monkey business to try and solve…they NEVER tell you what’s been going on! They were indoor dwellers from the start with many toys and books (though they rarely discussed their reading!). I wish you the very best, remember that kittens are always ON or sleeping, so hard to adjust to youthful exuberance when you’re used to calm, coolness of older cats. I used to think of my Chester as the David Niven of cats. Sigh. But we all do it again anyway. Sending a hug from sticky Texas. LOVE your courses and your blog posts immensely. Wish we could all convene on my porch for tea and gouache play…Best, Cyd
Mary Ann Moss says
So much monkey business! I laugh when I think of the time a huge pigeon was waiting for me when i got home on the top of the bookcase. Buck carried him in through the cat door. I didn’t notice until I heard the poor dear cooing while I was on the couch hours after arriving home. Got the ladder climbed up there and got him. Put him out. But he flew up to the door frame on the outside and passed the night like that. The next morning he had flown off.
Yes. We do it all again. Again and again.
I would love to visit your porch. Sounds lovely, Cyd
We’re currently catless but had indoor cats for years and years, ever since a loose dog came storming into our front yard and changed our minds forever. We live in the NCAL hills and coyotes abound here, as well, which makes it so hard to have our furry hearts wander freely outside.
I love the idea of a catio and have seen a lot of local Nextdoor posts about folks making their yards friendly for their cats by putting up an inward angled addition to the top of their fence line, which makes it so that the cats can’t jump out over the fence. But I haven’t tried this personally and am not sure about how difficult it is for predators to jump over from the backside. So basically I know nothing other than it might be something to look into if you have a high fence to work with.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear Wyatt and adore your heart. I know you’ll find the right gentleman and he’ll be so lucky to find you, too. 💗
Mary Ann Moss says
I’ve heard some indoor only cats have no desire to go outside so I will wait to see what develops. Catios are a great concept.
Jennifer Heft says
Sweet sweet dear pets. We had four cats then one dog, then another, and now two bffs. Stella and Biscuit. Both rescues, ten years apart. I adore them and understand the snuggles. I will never be without a dog or cat.
Sending you the biggest possible pet mom hugs. I completely get it. I’m in San Diego and know the Humane Society always has cats cats and more cats.
With much love,
Mary Ann Moss says
Aw thanks Jennifer. I went to the Pasadena Humane Society where I got Wyatt in 2004. All they had were little rascals 6 weeks old. About 10. Ha ha ha ha!! Nothing older. I couldn’t believe it. Made an appointment and went to the North Central Animal Shelter in LA. Horrible place with so many kitties that need help, but not a single human around to help me. Sending love and many blessings to that place and those dear animals.
Someone is out there for me. I will find him. by hook or by crook.
Jennifer Heft says
Yes, yes you will. When it’s exactly the right time, you will find each other, and once again you will have a perfect BFF or three❤️
ragged poet says
So many tears here right now. I have followed you and the posse for many years, I love your love, and your loves. Love to you Mary Ann xxx
Mary Ann Moss says
bear hugs and air kisses directed straight to YOU.
Karen I-Kemper says
a lovely visit with your lovelies!
Oh my, I lost a cat companion this year and it broke my heart. She was part of a posse also and 2 remain but they are aging and their health is delicate. I feel the same way, I cannot be without a cat companion . They bring too much love and joy. And heartache but it is so worth it. Good luck finding a new kitty/cat.
Mary Ann Moss says
Oh the joy and heartbreak of life on planet earth. But here we are making our way through these precious days. They are so good. Cats make it even better. xo
All my kitties have been indoor cats. All lived 15 plus yrs. It is safer for them. I am sure people will disagree but my kitties all had great lives and much love. Again so sorry for your loss.
Mary Ann Moss says
Thanks Neila, I think indoors is definitely going to be my path going forward. Less stress for all involved! xo
My heart has been with you. My dear Bandit is in early stage renal failure. He’s 11. He is an FIV kitty that came to me around the age of five as an outdoor cat. Because he so badly wanted to be outside, we compromised and he did eventually learn to go out with a harness and leash. I am also a huge fan of catios and have had two so far. I close them up at night, but the cats are free to roam in and out during the day. We have coyotes here as well.
Mary Ann Moss says
Oh so sorry Beth about your dear Bandit. I had a kitty once that had kidney disease and I gave her bags of fluid via IV. Sending love as you make your journey with Bandit.
Dede Warren says
I can only imagine the quiet and uninterrupted time without your beloved cats… it’s not for me. I’ve had cats or dogs, sometimes both for the past 35+ years.
After volunteering at a cat rescue Cats in Need I learned that the average life expectancy for outdoor cats is 3 years. Ever since then I’ve rescued cats that have been declawed. It’s imperative that they’re indoor only as their primary defenses have been taken from them.
With so many furry friends needing forever homes, no doubt one we will show up soon, one or more that you can’t resist!