Keep on ‘Rock’ing in the yard, Johnny Winter

The cat formerly known as Whitey Bulger

Yes, someone left the “Kind-hearted woman lives here” sign out in the woods again. I came out one morning last week to find this beautiful boy sitting at the edge of the parking spaces, with Beyonce, Dilute, and Scruffy hissing and growling from their various vantage points. While I have named most all of the cats who end up on this hillside with the names of musicians, mostly Mississippi blues men, I started calling him Whitey Bulger. For obvious reasons, Whitey, and the Bulger just came as an afterthought because he seemed to display some gangster boss traits initially. He and Beyonce were just getting into it one morning–my girls will defend their turf and don’t take any lip from the male interlopers who think like tom cats do. I did what I did when Duck II (my second Jimmy Duck Holmes cat) showed up: put the food outside the drive way so he could eat without blood being shed.

As cats will do when you feed them, Whitey started coming around…all the time…and sitting on the steps in the morning waiting for me to come out with the food. He quit hissing and began to meow quietly, following me around. One evening as I sat out with the fire pit, he got closer and sat down quietly looking at me as if taking measure. I started talking to him in my best cat whisperer voice.

Where are your humans, Whitey? You seem like you have been around humans before. Did you get out and get lost? Did someone throw you away? Or are you just visiting from the neighbors?

I started slow-blinking, watching to see if he would slow-blink back. I had just read a research article (yes, there are folks who research cat communication!) earlier in the week about how cats communicate with other cats and even humans with the slow-blink. The researchers found that when the human slow-blinked back at the cat, it would approach sooner than without slow-blinking. [Note: I did not ascertain if the research was with feral cats or tame cats known to the humans.] A couple of days passed and one morning when I went out, Whitey was at the steps, meowing softly and began rubbing up against my leg. When I leaned down, he let me touch him and scratch him behind the ears, while softly talking to me. “Yep, Whitey, you have had humans somewhere along the path.”

Whitey becomes Johnny Winter

I told Randy last night I guessed I had to give Whitey a new name. Once he figured out he is not the alpha-dog cat around here, the girls are slowly accepting his presence–as they did with Duck II before he disappeared one morning never to be seen again. He is now so friendly he weaves in and out of your legs while walking–a moving land mine. He asks to be petted, scratched, talked to, and most of all, asks to be fed and given fresh water. I suppose if he hangs out a little longer, I will try to get him in a cage and take him in to be neutered. While the girls here are spayed, it might save a litter somewhere else down someone else’s road. I also opined last night that I would contact the animal shelter here, and the cat rescue organization to see if he had been reported missing, but that has never resulted in a found human yet in 17 years.

In honor of the tradition of musician names, welcome home, Johnny Winter. And next up, the “Rock” report on mopping: research that is only slightly less important than the slow cat blink.

This entry was posted in Acts of Restorative Kindness, Country Philosophy, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Mississippi Cats and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Keep on ‘Rock’ing in the yard, Johnny Winter

  1. He is a sweetie! Typical mix with part Siamese. You are a kind-hearted lady! I have never heard of that slow blinking with cats.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Norton says:

    I live in a coast area of Fl with have feral cats that visit my indoor only cat as he suns on the back porch. You are such a kind soul to think of neutering him. It is so sad how some humans abandon their pets without a second thought. Our orange tabby was adopted from the Halifax Humane Society as his entire litter was tossed into a dumpster. Take care and I enjoy your posts. Kind cat lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Suzassippi says:

      Thank you for your kind comment, Patricia, and for adopting a cat. All our dogs are adopted from the Humane Society and I used to volunteer with them until work got too demanding. I retired in May, but now I just do my animal volunteer work on my hill. πŸ™‚

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  3. Beth says:

    Yes, they just keep coming to that invisible sign! He is beautiful and I’m glad he has settled in for you and your girls. I think it intriguing about the relationship of human movements with animals and thus creating communication. A good book on canine communication is “The Other End of the Lead” by Patricia B McConnell, Ph.D. – got me started thinking like the dog and being aware of my movements as well as their body language. Come to think of it, humans also respond to human body language.

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    • Suzassippi says:

      Hi, Beth, and yes, communication is powerful. You should check out Anna Blake’s blog, at annablake.com. She writes about horses, and communication primarily as a positive trainer, but also the occasional donkey or goat or dog story. I love her work and have used it often in my teaching. Her post “when your horse falls in a hole” is amazing–I used it with students, and it worked. Thanks for the heads up on McConnell–I will have to look into it; I love positive training and respecting the communication with animals.

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  4. Pingback: Keep on β€˜Rock’ing in the yard, Johnny Winter β€” Suzassippi’s Lottabusha County Chronicles | Ups Downs Family History

  5. Johnny Winter is beautiful. You are a cat whisperer.

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  6. peggyjoan42 says:

    Lovely cat. If he has those blues eyes he is definitely gorgeous. If I had a choice between a cat or a dog – it would definitely be a cat Have had many pet cats in my life. You are a softy – this cat knew he was welcome and thus he will probably stay – after all he’s got it made!

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  7. Pat_H says:

    That’s a very pretty cat!

    I’m allergic to cats myself, but at the same time I’ve always been very fond of them, something both of my kids picked up. A local Manx cat that was rescued by a neighbor attached itself to us to such an extent that it effectively ended up being ours for 17 years. He died a couple of years ago.

    This fall a long haired black cat was hunting near the house and was pretty clearly feral. The kids and I, however, ran across him on a walk and he was very friendly. We nearly took him home. Unfortunately somebody living in this neighborhood just hates cats and is always complaining about them on social medial. It’s likely that person who called animal control on the poor thing and had it hauled away. I miss seeing it hunting in the morning. I suppose its misfortune kept it from being adopted by us, a house with a dog, but I don’t grasp why somebody was so offended by the little friendly creature.

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  8. Betty says:

    I have never heard of the “slow cat blink.” Now, we have our indoor cat. I will have to research if there are any perceivable changes after I slow blink with her. The only thing I can think of happening is that Dan will sign me up for a medical evaluation. πŸ™‚ Bless your heart for feeding those strays and hosting a cat community. Perhaps your payback will be a highly functional “Rock”…. Enjoy your day!

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