Two years ago, life for an old tabby cat turned ominous. One day she
was fat and happy, at home with her doting human. Then the old lady,
a neighbor, succumbed to a mix of maladies. The heirs emptied the house,
locked the doors and left. Fortunately, across the fence was another
kindly lady, who fed the cat and let her bunk on the back porch lounge
chairs. But nothing, as the cat knew first hand, is forever. Lady #2
went ill, and then died.That locked house, too, awaits a new life, but
at least the lawn chairs stayed in place. No food though.
Two separate neighbors saw the cat parked out front
of its old home, looking lost and hungry. Food
was bought and brought, and we fed her
nightly. The tabby wanted the food, but not the humans. So, for about
a year, that is what she got.Then, gradually, she realized that these
folks might be OK. And maybe their brief touch could be tolerated,
if followed by her hearty hiss. Many brief
touches and hisses followed over
several months. Meanwhile, the house was bought by a realtor, whose
team busied itself with renovations. The cat
stayed invisible during the workday.
She reappeared in the dusky shadows, ears cocked for the sound of her
caterers. We came, we fed, we went.
A For Sale sign went up. Furniture went in to make the newly-painted
house look homey, at the Open House. People came. The cat hid.
Today, the house still awaits new owners. The cat didn't wait.
She decided to find her own new home.
That seems to be our house two doors down. She began coming to our
front door about two weeks ago. Just sitting. Waiting in the cold for
to be delivered to her old dining spot. She happily, but at a distance,
walked back with us, and warily ate her dinner there. Hissed, then
disappeared until the next night.
Slowly, the dining area came to be our front step. Invitations to step
inside were declined, as Bryce, our Australian Shepherd peeked out
the door occasionally. He is cat tolerant, to a point. He now knows
and cooperates by tiptoeing about, avoiding eye contact, being very
Today is the cat's fourth sleepover in our laundry room, our traditional
cat bedroom. Probably the first nights in a house in two years...and
the first cat to spend the night since our old tabby, Kate died a year
ago. We uncovered Kate’s old carpeted cat perch, the feeding
dishes, the litter box. All were installed that first night, as the
in my wife's arms in the recliner. The tabby still spends her day outdoors,
probably on that lawn furniture several doors down. But if I'm outside
in front, she comes over to explore the garage, and just to hang out.
She is still very suspicious of the dog, and declined his attempt to
sniff noses. He got a hiss for it, so he knows she is not to be messed
with. But they are OK with one another.
Update: It is now a few days before Christmas. The new cat has been
sleeping at our place for about 10 days now, and some days doesn't
even go back
to her old backyard. Just as well, it is hectic there, as a nice and
new young family are busily moving in. ‘Good that we still had
the toys, beds and tools. All are being purred over again, as if new.
I did buy “Greta” a new toy, stuffed with catnip. It is
being batted across the living room now.
Merry Christmas for all.