OUR FERAL OUTDOOR CHURCH CAT, “GOLDLEAF”
If you have attended Sunday services or weekly classes here long enough, then you have seen our elusive “Protector-of-the-Church-from-Rodents.” If you have seen her, then you know why she is called “Goldleaf.” Although she is multi-colored, she has a pronounced, leaf-shaped spot of gold fur in the center of her forehead.
Goldleaf is a survivor. We started out with seventeen feral cats which formerly resided across the street. The humans living there poured out dry cat food on their concrete open porch daily for the cats. Then one day the humans left. After a few days without food, all seventeen cats were found by the minister one morning, waiting patiently at the east door to be fed. Fed they were, but they were also captured and taken to the Cat Association of Topeka for spaying and neutering. They were not easy to catch (live trapping was the only way), and before your minister had caught them all, we had twenty-two cats doing rodent patrol around the building.
Your minister built a “cat castle” for the twenty-two to live in, but they never did take up residence. They preferred the safety of sleeping under the shed. The gap between shed floor and river rock foundation is just the right height for a cat to crawl under, but too low for a predator to follow. Predators are the reasons why the twenty-two became reduced to only one. Coyotes apparently enjoy dining on well-fed cats. Goldleaf was not well-fed in those early days. At feeding time, the other cats would run Goldleaf off when she came near the food. The twenty-one did not discriminate against any other cats; just Goldleaf. Perhaps the wariness they had instilled in her saved her from the coyotes, proving yet again that there is a blessing in everything. Once the supply of cat cuisine had dwindled, the coyotes roamed off to find easier pickings elsewhere, leaving Goldleaf as Feline Queen of Unity Hill.
The congregation contributes coins to a “kitty” for use in buying food for Goldleaf. She earns her pay (we have no mice), and she warms your minister’s heart when she comes running for meals when she hears him loudly meowing for her, as if he were her mother. Goldleaf is a very special blessing to our church.