Updated: Oct 23, 2022
I started this post a month ago to highlight the great care Maui volunteers take ensuring the feral cat colony along the Wailea Beach Path is monitored and cared for. Now I had more reason to complete it.
People from all around the world know these cats and feel like the "kitties" are their cats while on vacation. I bet a million people have seen them as they walk the scenic path in front of the hotels near sunset and after dawn. I hear them, "Mom! There's the orange cat, just like last year!"
Felix, pictured below, makes himself at home at one of the Hales (group of rooms) of an art collector friend of mine, lounging and cuddling all during their stay at the resort. They shared a picture of him for my annual photo contest.
Though that photo was not the voted the winner that year, it was a winner in my book, thus- the painting "Felix Chillin' in the Sunset" was created. It's one of my popular prints at my show.
Now, this big old fellow below is Rusty. He was appointed "Mayor of the Wailea Beach Path". He presided over the path for about 22 years.
He couldn't read we were told.
Sadly, Rusty passed away this year from cancer. As one of the folks who helped take care of the cats for a while, I was informed: he was going to be euthanized soon due to the tumors. I brought him his tasty treats and one last petting session.
22 years as a feral cat is a long, good life. We tried to re-home him twice and he went on food strike until he came back to the beach. He knew a good thing.
The caretakers put up a sign to let visitors know Rusty went over the Rainbow Bridge, and there was local and global outpouring. Donations covering care and ongoing feeding are being collected to help the cats stay healthy and well.
There are a few other cats that I have gotten to know over my years exhibiting my art at the hotel, and some that got me into some trouble.
These two rascals, Starsky, the black one,
and Morris, a fluffy light ginger
love bug waited for me to show up at the hotel in the morning. I'd give them food and treats and give them a petting session. Starsky would not let you pet him unless he was "leaning" on Morris, and Morris would not let you pet him unless you gave him some food. They trained me very well.
Then I'd wheel my art cart to set up my exhibit in the lobby and the cats would be right behind me, like I was the pied piper. Well, management was not happy since they were encouraging the cats to a designated feeding station and I was messing up the plan. They finally got the message and kept to the feeding area.
But then there is shy Susan,
I never could get her to trust me and let me pet her. She stayed in the valet parking area bushes. She ate when I got far enough away, and kept pretty much out of sight.
There's a host of sights around Maui, I love the tropical plants, geckos, birds and their song. The ocean and honu swimming by are not to be missed.
But the cats grabbed my heart.
RIP Rusty. 2000- 2022.