Thursday, January 2, 2014

The guest cat goes home

Some weeks back I put up a quickie about a "guest cat," one which apparently lived in the neighborhood but turned up at our place, for which we put out food.

She would eat hungrily, sometimes more than the two monster cats who actually live here.  Usually, though, she'd stick around, and usually she'd want attention.

Sometimes she'd stay around the front porch for hours, particularly on warm days.  Some days she'd get into our back yard (she could get under the gate) and curl up on the back porch, in the sun.

Eventually she'd wander off, if the food or attention waned, if I went off to class or work or my wife was inside at work.  Typically she'd return in the evening, to eat again, and for more attention.

She didn't quite seem to be fully homeless; for all the outside time she was a relatively clean cat.  We thought we know where she lived, but much of the time she seemed outright afraid to go there.  There are two quite large dogs at that house, and we assumed that was a problem for such a small cat.

We had to assume she was playing us, and we had to figure we weren't the only ones.

It was interesting.  Because of the guest cat, I would end up sitting outside, on the front porch steps, with her propped up on one of my legs, or walking back and forth across both, or curled up beside me.  This of course was a tremendous flattery, as neither of our cats typically will do so with me -- they are very much my wife's cats in that regard.  I might have my cell phone out and checking messages or reading the latest tweets, or occasionally have a book and try to catch up on class reading, though that behavior would not be tolerated, as cats are wont to demand one's full attention, when they want it at all.

Or I might simply look around.  See the neighborhood.  Notice the trees.  Notice the kids passing by from the bus stop after school.  Hear the arguments across the street, or note the serious remodeling job going on across the way.  Sometimes she'd go out to the street to seek attention from the passerby, particularly one girl I'd guess was middle-school age.  She'd receive her petting and cuddling, then, when the girl was on her way, return to our porch.

We indeed were not the only ones.  A woman who lives around a couple of corners away, who had apparently set up a heated shelter for the cat, talked to a cousin of hers who was looking to add a cat to the household.  She then stopped at our house, figured us as other patsies for the cat (with a food bowl, a water dish, and two pillows on the porch, it probably wasn't hard to guess), talked to my wife about her plans (apparently the residents at the home we thought she lived in did not want to claim her).  Later, when I arrived home, I went out and shook a kibble container; that got the cat running (with her usual hitch in her giddyup) across the street for dinner.  We stayed with her on the porch until the neighborhood woman could be contacted via text to come gather up the cat and take her to her new home.

So it's a success story.  The cat is not only alive and not at a shelter, she's going to have a nice warm place to stay, which is important tonight as it will be colder than it has been and might snow a little bit.  We don't have to worry about trying to bring her in, particularly with our somewhat hostile older cat, or to worry about whatever illnesses she may have or about those insane claws she has.  Our cats will be less disturbed with that interloper gone.  Hard to conceive of a better ending.

Yet already I've unwittingly checked the front porch a couple of times, before remembering.  I may or may not have blubbered most unmanfully when she was gone.  And I'll miss my front porch time, with a cat perched on my knee.

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