This is Maggie, the newest member of our cat family. Maggie's story is much the same as Ghost's in that she started out as a feral kitten in the colony of feral/abandoned cats that Bob and Kathy take care of. Maggie was the only survivor of a litter of three kittens that were born in late April of 1998. She was about 10 weeks old when we trapped her. (For more details about Kathy and Bob's 1998 efforts with the feral cats, clickhere.)

Although we originally planned to foster her long enough to tame and find a home for her, Maggie most have sensed our vulnerability, as it took approximately 12 minutes for her to become tame enough for us to handle her. By the second day, she was climbing up on Bob and Kathy and grooming us. The clincher was when she curled up beside Bob and purred herself to sleep. It was decided, Maggie became cat number 5 at the Rude Ranch. Unfortunately, she didn't win over the rest of the cats as easily. Tia grudgingly sniffed her, looked at Bob and Kathy as if to say "another one?" and whacked Maggie across the ears to show her who was boss. Ashley was quite displeased with the thought of another cat in the house -- especially one that looked so much like her. Ashley showed her displeasure by hacking up a huge hairball. She then turned around and whacked Ghost. We're not sure what the significance of whacking Ghost was, but it seemed to make Ashley feel better. Billie Jo was a different matter altogether. While she wasn't thrilled to have another baby sister, she wasn't horribly upset either, at least not until Maggie discovered Billie and for some reason found her to be fascinating. Maggie started following Billie all over the house, bouncing along step for step behind Billie Jo, almost as if she were saying "Whatcha doing now?" Billie finally sought refuge by jumping on top of the china cabinet Ghost's reaction to Maggie was certainly amusing -- after all Ashley had already whacked Ghost several times because of Maggie, so understandably Ghost was somewhat leary of the kitten. However, we were not expecting Ghost to be afraid of her. It was pretty amusing to watch a full grown 16 pound cat running from a 2 pound ball of fluff.

It will took several weeks for Maggie to completely settle in and for all the other cats to adjust their relationships with her. Maggie grew into a hyper, super furry feline that to this day has no problems explaining the rules of toy mice to younger cats.