Audie is an orange tabby that my nieces adopted last spring. She came with the name Autumn because of her colouring; her coat is a reddish gold instead of the typical pale orange. It only took a few weeks after she arrived to realize her name didn’t really fit her.
I’m not sure which one of us started calling her Audie first but it suited her and the name stuck. She has striking markings and eyes that are such a pale yellow that she looks slightly dazed or crazy all the time. Along with her fiery colouring, she is fine-boned with a delicate face but her back end is rather large. It’s as if she’d been fashioned from two different sized cats. But her name isn’t just a reflection of her funny body shape or otherworldly eyes, it goes deeper than that.
Cats are far less domesticated than dogs and far more independent. But like dogs they have a range of behaviours some that are more prevalent in specific breeds. Long-haired black cats are the most docile and friendly. The most aggressive and prey-driven are orange tabbies. I can attest to the truth of the researchers’ finding as I have had both types of cats in my life over the years. Currently I have three tabbies one who happens to be an orange tabby like Audie. His name is Frankie and he was an outdoor cat before we adopted him from the neighbours. He was a first class hunter; no mouse, vole or bird was safe when he was around and he is usually the first to start a fight with the other cats. Yup, typical orange tabby.
So according to the research, Frankie and Audie share the same DNA and heritage and should both share a similar nature. But that’s not the case. Audie isn’t aggressive or territorial and has no desire to hunt. She is allowed to go outside into the backyard because of her gentle nature and the fact that she never wanders away.
We have a feeder for the sparrows, chickadees and juncos and a hummingbird feeder hanging from the same tree. When Audie was first allowed outside, the birds would scatter when they saw her coming but over time they realized she had no interest in eating them. She does wear a collar and bell but she really doesn’t need the bell to warn the birds because she’s become one of their flock. She doesn’t want to hunt them, or kill them or eat them. She just wants to be near them and watch them at the feeders.
Now they allow her to nestle in under their feeders, quietly watching. And when they feed on the ground they will sometimes come only inches away from her paws. They have also begun to rely on her as an early warning system. When other cats wander into the yard she goes on alert and thus warn her feathered friends.
It’s a good thing Audie isn’t aware she isn’t conforming to who she is supposed to be otherwise she wouldn’t have found such delight in her adopted feathered family. Not such a bad way to live your life when you think about it.