Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cat Number Four

My Mother-in-Law had been feeding the cats in her backyard for several months. One of her customers took residence under her porch and produced two kittens. The little Tom was killed when he tried the cross the busy road. So my mother-in-law allowed the little Queen to live inside her enclosed porch. But the porch is unheated, and she couldn't keep the kitten in the main part of the house. So she implored her daughter and granddaughter to adopt her.

My wife drove the cat home three weeks ago. By now we have an established procedure for adopting a new cat. (You can't just let loose a new cat into a home with an established cat population. The existing cat will threaten and possibly attack the newcomer.) We placed the new cat in the laundry room with her own food and water bowls and litterbox. It's not a large area, but it turned out to have a few great spots for hiding. My wife repeatedly asked me to "find" the cat because she (my wife) worried that the cat disappeared. So twice I dragged the cat from remote corners of the laundry room.

Then my wife decided to let the cat into a more comfortable area -- the carpeted part of the basement. Overnight, the cat again "disappeared," but there was a clue as to where she went -- the broken overhead light diffuser indicated that she had gotten into the drop ceiling where she spent the entire next day.

When I got home that night, both my wife and daughter were peering into the drop ceiling trying to locate the cat. They finally lured it out into an open area of the ceiling, so that I was able to remove tiles one-by-one to try to catch it. Eventually the only remaining tile was the one she was sitting on, but she managed to scoot away. At least my daughter saw the direction that the cat took off in, and I located the hiding spot. Finally, I grabbed the cat and dragged it from its spot.

I was very impressed by the cat's good behavior. No, not the shyness and aversion to us moving, living, breathing animals. But it tolerated all my somewhat manly handling without much protest, even though it was clearly terrified.

The cat is now upstairs with us in the Master bedroom and hides under the bed or in the closet. But it does sleep on a small afghan on the floor when we're not around and even cavorts playfully after we go to bed. She will not go on the bed unless my wife picks her up and places her there. Then she will stay for as long as she's being petted or brushed, and then toddles off to her hiding spot.

I don't like to use the flash when photographing cats, but I did in this case. Here she is, peering out at me from under the bed, more fur than flesh:

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