So, during my nearly year-long vacation from writing, our house was blessed with the arrival of two cats. And when I say arrival, I mean it–we didn’t plan to add two cats to our household–far from it. But two stray cats had other ideas.
The first to show up was the fellow you see in the first picture: Po. (Kat named him after Po, the title character in the movie, “Kung Fu Panda.” And while he is grey and white instead of black and white–the fluffy cat’s personality certainly fits his name.)
And when I say show up–that is exactly what he did. Our deck was redone this spring to make it safe for Kat–the original railings would have let a toddler fall through very easily–and so we spent most of our time outside. Kat and I were playing out there one evening, while Delia, one of our favorite cats watched from a window and meowed at us, and I had the thought, “I wish we had a cat who could come out on the deck with us, but all of ours would try to run off.”
Not ten minutes later, a grey and white fluffy cat came sauntering down the hill, climbed the steps to our second story deck and proceeded to be loving and charming. Zak came out and there was this fluffy cat purring while Kat hugged him.
At first we were adamant: no new cats. So, when we went inside, Mr. Fluffy (which was the name Kat wanted to give him when she first saw him) stayed outside. But, he settled down on our porch and stayed the night. He wasn’t there when we got up in the morning, so Zak and I thought we had dodged a bullet.
However, when I went to take out the trash that night, a fuzzy blur dashed down the hill and shot into our garage. When I came back for more trash, a very fluffy cat started winding himself around and through my ankles, purring like a dove cooing.
And he refused to leave the garage. So, we set up a bed, gave him food and water and brought a cat littler box to the garage, and resolved to call the vet the next day.
After being vetted, Po became a new member of the household and he has settled in nicely. He does have adolescent male cat problems–in that he is very active and likes to chase the other cats and bedevils them at every opportunity, but usually, he is so good-natured about it that the other cats don’t much care. Except for Grimmy who hates him, but she mostly keeps to herself, and when Po tries to get her to play, we shoot him with water pistols.
Now Po is fully integrated into our family. He likes to help with everything I do–as you can see, he even wants to help me work with my quilting machine! Not that having him sit on the fabric is much help! He also loves to sit on my ironing board or cutting table, and has been known to jump up on my sewing table and try to “help” me there–usually by trying to steal the thread spool from the machine while it is running!
Not a month after Po had settled himself comfortably as a member of our family, another cat appeared. I had gone out one night to make a grocery run, and as I was unlocking one of our cars, I heard a tiny, sad-sounding mew. Looking down, I saw a very small orange kitten under our other car. I set down my purse and called to the kitten–and eventually, she trusted me enough to come out. She was so thin, and dirty, it was obvious that she had been on the streets for a while, but she was so friendly, I knew she couldn’t be truly feral.
I also saw that she was pregnant.
So, I went inside and got some leftover beef from dinner and brought it out to feed her, and she gobbled it down voraciously. I called Zak out and he shook his head–no way could we take another cat–we just brought Po in.
So, I bedded her down in our walled garden, where there was water and shelter, and I put more food out for her.
When I got up the next morning, she was gone.
And I looked for her every day, but for a week, she never came back.
Seven days later, Zak and I were on our way outside when she showed up on our porch again, thinner than ever, and even more loving.
Zak petted her and watched me feed her by hand, and saw how hungry she was, and how sweet she was and he relented. Into the garage she went until she was vetted, and pronounced healthy. She came to live inside with us after a day–she was litter trained and tiny–but the vet said she was an adult. And she was pregnant, so we had her spayed and had the kittens aborted–because she was so starved, the poor things were probably starved as well, and she was so small, we thought she would have problems with delivery. And besides, we’d have to find homes for them.
We ended up naming her Jane after the protagonist from the Jane and the Dragon books by Martin Baynton, . These books tell the story of a young red-haired girl who decides that instead of being a lady in waiting, she would study to become a knight. In the course of her journey, she makes friends with a dragon, and many adventures ensue.
Jane is a great name for our littlest cat–she has turned out to be alert, playful, fierce and very interested in EVERYTHING! She is a lot of fun, and is very, very cute–and is also a great and brave spider killer–she has caught and killed several very large creepy-looking spiders, and brought them to me so I could dispose of them. What a good kitty!
I am just hoping that no other cats appear on our doorstep, though. We have plenty.
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