At age 70, I often found myself stretched out awkwardly on the floor of our guest room, peeking under the bed at Wiggle, our new gray tabby kitten. Wiggle arrived seven years ago and was quite the package: cute white snout, vigilant green eyes, spiraling black stripes, white go-go boots on her hind legs, and troublesome attitude.

She spent much of her time hiding under the guest bed. If I wanted to see her, that’s where I went. For the first six months, suspicious eye contact was all she offered us, and we were vexed.

Our old whaling captain’s house in Vineyard Haven abuts a corner a block up the hill from State Road. Two of our previous three cats had been killed by cars, and the third one’s heart stopped a month after the car did in her sister. None of our cats had lived to see the age of three. Therefore, when Wiggle came, we swore she would never set foot outside.

This vow lasted six months. Once we concluded reluctantly that inside was not what Wiggle was born for, we installed a cat door in the window above the kitchen radiator. Minutes later Wiggle flew through the swinging flap and then came back in a flash to finish her dinner.

The first months we worried. We were not willing to commit to a full acceptance of this athletic and willful cat, if she was only going to be around for a short time, like her predecessors. But we were relieved to see how cautiously and patiently she crossed the street. Maybe, we hoped, she would know how to survive on our corner, and might even accompany us into our 80’s.

Quickly she staked out and regularly patrolled her turf, and she became an utter joy. She cavorted in the grass, wandered among the flowers, looked up at the moon and stars at night, sneered at the squirrels and the crows, supervised my wife’s gardening projects, and came in and out whenever she pleased.

Full disclosure: she killed avidly, skillfully and mercilessly. She had become, after all, feral.

I would see her go-go boots pausing in the garden leaves before pouncing toward her prey. When successful, she deposited her corpse trophies where she knew we would find them. (May I add that Chopin piano nocturnes are tricky, but try performing one with a dead mole tucked under the sustain pedal.)

But the greatest bonus of all was that although she distrusted visitors and hid whenever they came, Wiggle started to show genuine affection toward us. Belly rubs, muzzle scratches, comprehensive tick checks — all these sensuous tactile gestures she enjoyed immensely.

Naps with us? Sometimes. Sit in our laps? Rarely. Lounge by the fire on cold winter evenings? Definitely!

She set up headquarters on one of our cushioned porch chairs, and unless the weather was impossibly cold, spent her nights there. Those first years I began a ritual of sitting and sharing the evening air with my feral friend, learning how to be still like her, how to breathe slowly and feel nature all about me, how to be, like Wiggle, at one with the night.

In a sweet reverie beside her, I recalled my frequent boyhood escapades in the Ohio woods, where the fragrance of spring was strongest near the trickling brook as I, alone and feral, hunted for salamanders and crawfish.

For half a dozen springs now on the first warm April days, Wiggle stretched out on our sun-baked terrace stones and fell asleep, satisfied that God had created everything on that afternoon exactly to her own specifications.

Wiggle, the fuzzy, languid, sensualist became my feline muse. She served as a tonic to my own feral senses, which I enjoyed routinely in Ohio so many decades ago and which have dulled with age.

But now we are again in April, which the famous cat fancier T.S. Eliot branded as the cruelest month. This April will be particularly painful to me.

As I mentioned, Wiggle shunned all visitors. And last July, losing patience with our noisy alfresco dinner guests, she bolted through the yard. We saw her high-tailing it, her go-go boots dashing lickety-split away from our terrace. The next morning she was discovered lifeless under a neighbor’s hemlock on the far side of State Road.

As for my wonderful nocturnal vigils on the porch, I haven’t kept up with them. You see, without my fuzzy feral friend beside me, such nostalgic moments aren’t as much fun.

Dr. Gerald Yukevich lives in Vineyard Haven.