Seven days ago I received a frantic note from Julie, who visited the Cross House last year. She was visiting her elderly parents at the family farm when something unexpected arrived: A cat, which Julie suspected was dumped in the area.
As Julie wrote: She showed up 2 days ago way up high in the tree next to the house and there were chunks of cat hair all over the deck. She looked very helpless up there but soon she came down when we called her. She stayed a few hours then disappeared so we thought she was from a nearby farm. However, she returned the next morning and hasn’t left. She is very friendly and even likes my Yorkie! She is not friendly with the dog from the next farm because she runs and hides in the tree when it comes around. We feel like if she was from close by she would have gone home for food.
Julie contacted several animal shelters but all declined to take in another cat as they were already overloaded. Thus, Julie contacted me. “Do you know anybody who can help?”
I responded that I did not.
Julie could not take the cat back to Dallas as her husband would, ah, react poorly. And her parents were not in a position to take in a young cat. So, she wrote that she would just have to leave it to the fates that the cat would find a safe place on its own.
And then…she sent me a picture. And the cat’s fate was sealed, for…
The next day New Kitty arrived at my house. Oh! She was still a baby! And very friendly so obviously not feral.
Kitty was put into the bathroom, along with food and water, and a litter box. Did she know what a litter box was? The BIG test!
She settled in right away, curled up on a towel on a shelf. Whenever I would enter the room, she would hiss but stop instantly realizing that it was the friendly bi-pedal upright with no fur atop his head. I would pet her and she would eagerly accept the attention with purrs and outstretched, curled paws.
By the next morning it was obvious that New KItty did know what a litter box was, confirming that she was not feral. What had happened in her short life that she would be found up a tree on a lonely farm?
That afternoon, after returning from the Cross House, I left the bathroom door open. Would she explore? And how would Spot and Gray, my two indoor beasts, react to this intruder?
Well, only one way to find out.
About an hour later, as I worked at my desk, I heard un unfamiliar meow, and looked over. Tucked almost out of sight behind my work table was a small furry head. I called out: “Kitty! Here kitty!”
And the small furry head came right to me.
It amazed me that she would so quickly decide to explore. I am more used to new cats hiding under the bed for a week.
In the days which followed, New Kitty met Spot and Gray. Spot was curious and cautious. She came right up to New Kitty and sniffed and sniffed, then backed way slightly. New Kitty did not seem afraid and nor was she aggressive.
Meeting Gray proved otherwise. Gray was not happy! She hissed and hissed and all her hair stood straight out. New Kitty just stood, looking at this sound and fury, and it was clear that she realized it signified nothing. I swear she shrugged her shoulders, wholly nonplussed.
More days passed and Spot continued to be cautious. Gray continued hissing but each day brought about a reduction in decibel levels. GRRRRRRRRR was reduced to Grrrrrrrrrrr and then Grrr. New Kitty has remained unplussed, just rolling on her back and stretching out one paw. This scares Gray, who backs off. I smile.
Several times I have scolded Gray for this lapse of good manners, reminding her that just last fall SHE was the new girl in town. But I am uncertain if Gray understands the wisdom of my words.
New Kitty is a curious combination of skittish and a loving muffin. She is easily startled. When she is walking around the house, and I approach, she runs away. But when I am at my desk, she delights in hopping atop the desk, throwing herself against my upper chest, rolling over, and purring with vivacity. She will spend an hour nestled in my arm, alternating between playing with my fingers and chewing my shirt buttons, and sleep.
It is not easy getting any work done during these encounters. But it sure is cute.
Soon, New Kitty will need to go to the vet. I suspect she is old enough to be fixed, and otherwise checked out. Julie offered to reimburse this expense, and I greatly appreciate the consideration.
At some point I will let New Kitty out into the fenced back yard, and wonder what her reaction will be to the many other furry creatures.
And not for the first time do I wonder about my sanity.
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