Old Ugly and Tabby Were Always Together

Old Ugly and Tabby Were Always Together

by Joyce Sammons
(Hodges, SC, USA)

Old Ugly - photo Joyce Sammons

Old Ugly - photo Joyce Sammons

Back in the early 1980’s I lived behind my mother and would walk down to her house every night to check on her. She was in her 70’s at this time and still able to do things on her own.

Every afternoon mama would put food out for any of the feral cats who needed a good meal. There were two cats who came every night. You could set your clock for them to show up between 5p.m. and 5:30 p.m. every day.

The gray tabby who we named "Tabby" would show up first. Then a few minutes later the most memorable calico I’ve ever met would join Tabby at the food bowl. We named her Old Ugly because mama said she was so ugly she was beautiful. The more I saw her the more beautiful she became. She had the most awesome eyes. The pictures I’ve included here are the only ones ever taken of her.

I always tried to be inside mama’s house when they arrived. Tabby wouldn’t run at the sight of a human but Old Ugly was terrified. In the beginning all I had to do was open the screen door and Ugly would run off from 50 feet away. She was that afraid of me.

Old Ugly & Tabby - photos: Joyce Sammons

Over time she became a little more tolerant. I still remember the day my mama had her window screen up and was talking on the phone when I left to go home. Tabby and Old Ugly were eating and for once neither of them ran away. I could barely hear mama telling the person on the other end of the phone the cat was following me home. I couldn’t believe it myself.

Eventually I was able to feed the two cats from 10 feet away and watch them eat. Then I moved the food bowl next to my doorsteps and sat on the steps and watched them eat. Every now and then the two would be scared off but they had learned to trust me just a little. Some nights they were brave enough to let me pet them. I considered that a major victory.

One night I was brave enough to pick up Old Ugly and take her inside. Her heart was beating so hard and so fast I returned her to familiar surroundings and never tried to bring her in again. It was just too stressful.

The two continued to come for a couple of years. Then they just stopped. I don’t know if they found better food or if the neighborhood dogs got them. I never saw either of them dead in the road but I could have missed it if they’d been hit on the side road. I like to think I made their lives a little happier.

I don’t put food outside anymore and mama has been gone since 2001. Together we fed a lot of cats over the years. But if a cat comes to my door and needs a bite to eat before continuing on then I will put out a plate of dry food and some water.


Old Ugly and Tabby Were Always Together to Feral Cats

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Old Ugly and Tabby Were Always Together

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Jan 09, 2010 Beautiful ferals
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Beautiful pictures of beautiful cats, Joyce. I'm a bit surprised that you could actually pick up one of them without a fight. Maybe she had known other humans before that?
Since both of the stopped visiting at the same time, I don't think neither cars not dogs got them. Most likely they just migrated somewhere else for whatever reasons cats may have. But you did them a lot of good while they were around.

Finn Frode avatar

Jan 05, 2010 Trust
by: Joyce Sammons

My secret is simple. In the end the animals are about the only ones to trust. They don't lie or pretend. If they want to be with you they will and if they don't they go somewhere and do their own thing.

Jan 05, 2010 Best stories
by: Annie Jones

You write some of the best stories.You should get a job with one of those animal magazines.Love ya.

Jan 05, 2010 love and compasion
by: Amanda Kinman

Joyce you are so much a wonderful lady and Ive never even met you and can tell this. I love this story for the cats but most of all for the love you can just tell you had for your mother. I am absolutly sure you made this cats alot happier. Continue to inspire me please

Jan 05, 2010 More When These Came From
by: Joyce Sammons

I still have 25-30 stories to tell. Almost all with great pictures. I've been accused on photographing only animals and old buildings. I commented back that those are the only things in life that don't try to cause problems.

Jan 05, 2010 Cats
by: Ruth

What lovely cats Joyce ! You obviously inherited your love of cats and your kindness from your late mother. How kind of you both to make Old Ugly and Tabby's lives happier for them, and to get a feral cat to trust you is to be much admired.
Michael I don't think it's in the least bit arrogant to wish there were more people like us who care about every single cat on this planet, be they ours, other peoples, or ferals.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Jan 05, 2010 the Cats
by: Julie

The pictures of your cats are wonderful. The love we give away is the only love we really ever keep.

Jan 05, 2010 One of Us
by: Michael

Joyce you are definitely one of us - a cat person. But I think it is more than that. People who care for feral cats in a totally altruistic way love animals and nature and they care. There should be more of us. Does that sound a bit arrogant?

Michael Avatar

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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