New Kitty Goes To Work With Daddy!

While feeding the stray “front porch” kitties one morning, I saw a pair of eyes looking at me between the deck boards. The eyes were under the deck. As I continued sprinkling dry food on the deck, a small gray paw reached through the boards and clawed at some food, which disappeared between the crack.


I carefully poured some food between the crack and could see a small gray furry creature.

Going inside, I grabbed a bowl, put some dry cat food inside of it, and returned to the porch. Stepping down, I placed the bowl on the ground, after shaking it.

“Kitty! Here kitty!”

A moment later a gray head with white markings craned itself from under the deck.

“Hello, kitty!”

The gray kitten stared at me, then went to the food. Carefully, I reached out to pet it. It immediately started purring.

It continued eating. I continued petting. The purring continued.


And this became a new twice daily ritual. Occasionally, no gray kitten would appear from under the deck and I would be bereft. I hate instant attachments.

Sometimes, I would realize that gray kitten was under the deck when there were no other strays around, and a shaking bowl would lure her up to the deck itself. She would happily nosh away while I petted. Purring was expected and offered. Then another cat would appear and gray would vanish.

It was now obvious that she was terrified of other cats. She also looked pregnant. Although she was very small her belly was large. Damn. The last thing my neighborhood needs is kittens. Which will then have kittens. Which will then have kittens.

I took gray kitty to the vet.


The vet said she was about 3-1/2-months-old. “Too immature to have kittens.”

“But what about her big belly?” I asked.


Oh. Ewwwwwwww.

Kitty got a worm shot and we went home.


I felt bad for the kitten. She was scared and unwell. So, what choice did I have but to take her in. What choice?

Priority #1 was ascertaining if she knew what a litter box was, and how to use it. Time, of course, would reveal this and the answer to both questions was soon a messy no.


Kitty, thus, had to move into my bathroom until she learned to properly conduct herself in polite society.


Gray kitty, reclining atop a cabinet in my bathroom. She complements a 1960s Thunderbird hood ornament.


Skinny kitty face.


If I watch her closely, kitty is allowed out. Here, she is napping as I try and type. You can see her dirty fur, a sure sign of an unwell cat.


The weeks passed and I would breathlessly announce to my friend Patricia the daily P&P Report (poop and pee).

Me, breathlessly: “Gray kitty pooped in the litter box today! All by herself!”

Me, dejectedly: “Gray kitty pooped on my desk today. My fucking desk! Right in front of me!”

And more weeks passed with more P&P Reports. However, the reports were taking an upward swing.

I have never before tried to teach a cat to use a litter box. They always just seem to instinctively, you know, know.


Gray is now MUCH older (4-1/2-months). Her face is wider. And she is cleaning herself!


In a previous incarnation, was Gray a high-fashion model?


Two other issues soon developed.

First, when I was at the Cross House, rather then enjoying myself and the work, I would be vaguely anxious. All I could think of was returning home to rub my nose in Gray’s warm belly. I would miss her terribly. How was it possible for a creature I did not know the previous month to seize my heart so?

Second, I hated locking her up every afternoon while I went to “work”.

But…what if…I took her…to work with me? She enjoyed the one car drive to the vet and she was a model of deportment while at the vet. Surely, she would enjoy the wonders of the Cross House, right?


It developed that enjoying a five-minute car ride was an altogether different thing than a twenty-minture drive. And Gray was not happy.

Arriving at the house, Gary seemed nonplussed by the historic home and its beauty.

I closed the doors to the dining room and let Gray out. I could hear her thinking: Where the fuck am I???????? She nervously walked around the room and under and around everything. A litter box had been put in place the day before.

With each passing minute she seemed, seemed, a bit less freaked out, and after fifteen minutes I tip-toed out to do some work. Upon returning, Gray was nowhere to be seen. I panicked. Where was she? How could she have escaped? Well, I knew she had not opened the pocket door so as to enjoy the parlor. No, she was somewhere in the dining room. My eyes scanned everything but from a cats perspective. I then sat on the floor to better see from her vantage point.

There was a small hole in one wall about three feet up. It did not seem likely but had she gotten inside the wall? My panic escalated. I peered into the wall. Just blackness. I turned the flashlight of my iPhone on and looked again. And down inside the wall was a small mound of gray fur. Carefully, I hauled her up. She was quite a sight, covered, and I mean covered, with dead bugs, dust, sawdust, and cobwebs.

“Oh! You poor sweet pea!”

I placed her on my lap and picked off the detritus. When I was finished she jumped down to the floor and scurried behind a piece of paneling. This seemed like a good space for her so I brought in a moving pad quilt to make a bed behind the panel.

She curled right up. And went to sleep.


Gray, unhappily in the dining room of the Cross House and after knocking her food bowl off the table.


The hours passed and I did get some work done. I would regularly pop into the dining room and Gray would occasionally deign to come out and say hello. Them a semi-truck would roar past the adjacent highway and back into hiding she would go.

For the last ninety minutes I was at work I finished hanging crystals on the dining room chandelier, thinking that Gray would be delighted by my presence.

She never once came out of hiding.


The drive home was not fun. And I knew that Gray would never again join Daddy at work.

I still miss her when I am away but also recognize that cats sleep most of the day. Thus, while I may miss her, she is likely too busy dreaming about catching mice or going to the movies or sunning herself on a French beach to miss me.


Luckily, I type with my other hand.




  1. Sandra Lee on October 5, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Gray is such a sweet little kitty cat! She must have lost mother cat when she was quite tiny. That’s why she doesn’t know how to do the things mother cats teach like the litter box. But she is adorable. I just love kitties & Gray is delightful.

  2. Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 5, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Oh… that last photo makes my heart hurt!! I miss my two cats so. You can’t imagine how much these kitty posts mean to me!

  3. Erin Benn on October 6, 2017 at 12:30 am

    I have a grey and white rescue cat named Suki. I adore you and your love for kitties, Ross. More than I can say.

  4. Sandra G. McNichol on October 6, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Dear dear Ross,
    You are such a fine human being.
    From my heart, and on behalf of all the kitties that you have cared for and loved, and will care for and love, thank you for being exactly who you are, you wonderful loving man.

  5. pk on October 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Gray is so lucky to have found you!

  6. Barb Sanford on October 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Child-proofing a room is nothing compared to cat-proofing a room. Most babies cannot climb.

    I’m am happy that Gray found you. At the Cross House or not, she has a home with you. Fortunate cat, that one.

  7. Marjie on October 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    She’s beautiful! I’m so glad you guys found each other! Kitties are such sweet creatures and can be so amazingly innocent and naughty at the same time. As I type this my 3 year old is chewing up my phone cord, lol!

  8. ANSC on October 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

    You are as big a pushover as I am. I love all animals and we have dogs and cats. We also had a lot of rescue ferrets, but they don’t live very long and we just couldn’t bear how soon we lost them (as we got just as attached to them). My ANSC “name” is actually the name of my baby that I raised from TWO OUNCES! He got lost on a trail during a storm when I worked at a nature center in Austin, Texas. We guessed his mother was moving her litter and dropped him. A visitor brought him to us and there was no way we could have found his mother, plus then he would have been feral too. I called him Sweet Pea as an endearment too. I don’t know how they dig into our hearts the way they do, but he got in deeper than any other cat (or dog) I’ve ever had in my life and there were a lot of special ones. I am so glad I found your blog through Old House Dreams, you never cease to amaze me with your humor and talent and love of history and old houses. (Plus you write well and love animals!)

  9. Alice on October 13, 2017 at 10:01 am

    What an adorable cat! She’s lucky to have found you.

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