has been feeding so long, she
is not sure whether it has been for seven or eight years.Maggie
, a long-time Portland resident who recently moved to Scarborough, is a lifelong cat lover who discovered FFF
at a cat show.She
chose to become a feeder because, she
says, "I really thought there was a great need, and it also would make me feel like I'm doing something for these homeless animals."Like other feeders, Maggie
shows up after dusk (the darkness keeps the seagulls away) with both canned and dry food, as well as fresh water in a bottle, for several colonies along Commercial Street.
Over the years, she
has learned the individual personalities of the cats.As she
says, "They're social even though they're feral, and I like to bring that out in them."Thus, she
spends time hanging out with those who appear, petting those who enjoy it or just observing them.Even those who don't like to be touched, she
notes, just enjoy the human company, including Oceania, her
current favorite.A striking orange calico, Oceania is one of the last offspring of Penny, the grand dame calico who was ancestor to most of the cats on Custom House Pier. (Unable to be trapped, Penny was finally captured when she
became ill and had to be euthanized soon after.) "Oceania will be hanging out even though it's a dreary night," Margaret
says, and will follow Margaret
about, enjoying the attention.A black male cat in the same area also "wants to play and will rub all over you."
Margaret's involvement has extended to trapping waterfront cats as well, either to be fixed, for medical reasons, or to be socialized.They include one of her
current cats, Becket (shown at left), trapped at about eight weeks old behind Becky's Diner.Margaret
face was so dirty, I thought the dirt was part of his
cleaned him up, she
was "a beautiful white and tiger" kitty.Having one cat then who was in her
wasn't in the market for a kitten, but when she
picked up the scruffy, dirty fluff ball and he
began purring instantly, that sealed the deal.Since then, she
has also taken in an elderly cat, Leah, that a friend had to give up, as well as two kittens, Barkley and Nell, from a litter of eight in "a desperate situation," where the homeowner was unable to fix her
cats and the population kept growing. Feeding on the waterfront, which requires being out in the damp, cold, rain, and snow, also suits Margaret
loves the outdoors.She is a long-time member of the Casco Bay Bicycle Club and Merrymeeting Wheelers Bicycle Club, and has biked up to 150 miles in one day.She has also rowed with a group in the Head of the Charles River race in Boston.
Summing up her
experience as a feeder, Margaret
says, "It makes me feel good to do this.They (the cats) need to have someone there."Fortunately for these vulnerable, though tough, cats, people like Margaret
are looking after them.