Defenders of Wildlife

Montana Wildlife Through the Eyes of a Cat

The story of a fourteen year old cat and her run-in with nature.

Growing up in the mid-west one tends to take certain aspects of geography and nature for granted, i.e. mountains, mass amounts of snow, grizzly bears, elk, etc. Sure, we have deer in Kansas and we even see snow at opportune times of the year, but mountains and particular wildlife are something we are nary accustomed to.
I was eighteen when my mom and I decided that Montana sounded like a good place to live. I was college bound, my mom needed a change of scenery and our fourteen year old cat, Ambrosia, was just along for the ride. We were concerned about her well-being on the two day trek to the new homestead, but she was a surprisingly well adapted traveler and ever the budding tourist. She loved looking out the window, sleeping on the seat between my mom and me, but she hated it when I would have to take a brief siesta to refresh myself. I told her I was just resting my eyes, but that never seemed to soothe her resolve to keep me awake.
We got to Montana in the early part of the fall and made ourselves comfortable in our small little abode. It was after about a week or two of having cabin fever that we decided a little trip to Yellowstone was in order. We were not far from the Northern entrance, so it would be a nice day trip. We drove by hot springs and caves, waterfalls and historic buildings; we even saw buffalo stopped in the middle of the street holding up traffic like they are so wont to do. We went to go see Old Faithful, but due to giant hole that is the geyser some were confused and thought Old Faithful was a giant trash receptacle, which rendered her less Faithful and we had to leave before we saw her spew. However, in hindsight it was a good thing we left that old girl early because the most memorable experience had yet to happen.
Upon exiting the park, we were stopped along the side of the road to witness the crossing of a group of elk. Ambrosia, our very precocious cat, was sitting in my lap with her head out the window watching the elk intently. As they were crossing, one of the massive beautiful creatures stopped but only feet from the vehicle. Ambrosia and the elk, whom I have since named Ed, were locked eye to eye. I was petrified Ed was going to charge the car, or Ambrosia was going to show that elk what she was made of. But, neither of them moved. It was as if time had stopped and the magic of nature had suspended us in this moment. It was my most glorious memory of Montana and one that I hold very close to my heart.
Ambrosia has since passed away and I miss her so much that it hurts. She was my best friend who had been with me since I was but a wee lass of five years old. I would have done anything for her and I'm sure that in her own cat way she would have done anything for me.
I'm sure that Ed too has since passed on. But the memory of the two of them together in harmonious nature is something that will resound within my heart forever. We take these moments in life for granted because we are in such a hurry to get from point a to point b, but these are the moments in which we must succumb, these are the moments that truly give us significance on this earth.


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