Well, it’s happened again. I never mean to act upon my more “save the world one cat at a time” impulses, but here we are again.
Last Summer, this lovely little creature started hanging out on Roman’s second-storey deck:
Poor thing was being harassed by the neighborhood cats and was taking refuge behind Roman’s BBQ that sits on the deck – we would hear them late at night thumping around. She wore no collar and seemed hungry, so I fed her and made friends. I then discovered she was covered with fleas so I bought some flea stuff from the vet and put it on. She disappeared for a couple of weeks but then showed up with a flea collar and a fancy pearl-rope collar with a silver charm that reads “Duchess.”
Okie-dokie! She has a home (later surmised to be the neighbors downstairs in the adjacent building) and maybe they’re taking care of her now. She would come to see me on occasion, but it appeared she had a home.
Flash forward to this Winter and she was all over me any time I went over there, seeming to be cold and always hungry. Roman’s building doesn’t allow pets, and I hadn’t moved yet, so I did what I could for her, hoping it would be enough. She was clearly living outside all the time, and because of the fleas she had no real undercoat to keep her warm. I was angry, but what can you do?
Last week was the final straw – she was starving for food and attention and covered with fleas again. Clearly her people were no longer interested in taking care of her. I know the building where they live allows pets, but for whatever reason they were leaving this TINY cat outside to fend for herself and I just couldn’t bear it any more. A catnapping was orchestrated (after proper flea treatment for Duchess, Mr. Big and Sabu) and she came home with me on Sunday afternoon. Roman was not at all sure about my little caper, but I told him that I would bring her back if her people missed her, which I am (almost) sure I’ll be able to do…Maybe…
She accepted the ride in the cat carrier well enough, with hardly any howling and when we arrived home I put it on the floor so Sabu and Mr. Big could see her but she would be protected. Mr. Big had made friends at the trailer park, so I knew he wouldn’t be a problem, but it turns out Duchess loathes and despises dogs – the volume of the growling and hissing were amazing considering she weighs maybe five pounds. She was quickly re-located to my bedroom where the door was shut and I let her out of the carrier.
She was not at all nervous, hopped right out and started looking for food – always a good sign. The bedroom door has a gap at the bottom of 1.5″ and Nosy the Dog had her face all up in there, desperate to see the new arrival, which set Duchess off on a hissing, growling rant all over again. All-righty-then! I left her alone to do some Stuff and repeatedly shooed the dog away from the door.
Before long, Mr. Big was laying down in front of the door, front paws in the gap, purring, chirping and calling softly to Duchess, who replied with hisses and growls. It was a sight to see! You may recall that Mr. Big is a very large cat – haven’t taken him in to be weighed, but he’s pushing 20 pounds for sure. To see him prostrating himself like that was hilarious and I’ll admit to laughing out loud and calling Juan to come see the spectacle.
That first night was rough – Sabu slept outside the bedroom door, whining every now and then, convinced my face would be eaten off by this strange cat I’d allowed into her house. Mr. Big would occasionally whisper plaintively for his new Lady Love to “please, baby please, baby please,” open the door, to which she replied with more growls and hissing.
The three of them kept it up all.night.long. Sabu and Mr. Big were obviously tired after their vigil, but Duchess, having slept perched on the corner of the bed nearest the door, was feeling quite perky and ready for breakfast. I closed the door and let her be alone while I was at work.
After work I devised a way to prop the door open for the cats while keeping the dog out and let Mr. Big into the room. I was hoping Duchess would come out from under the bed and maybe even leave the bedroom, but it was not to be. Mr. Big went in and started his wooing afresh. There was a lot of this –
Mr. Big was so sincere with his lovely words, trying to gently coax her out from under the bed with sweet nothings and promises to be the Perfect Gentleman if only she would come out and let him shower her with his love.* He tried every trick in his arsenal, chirping, meowing softly, flopping over on his side to show how non-threatening he was, pushing his paws under the edge of the bed so she could see he was hiding nothing, playing with the edges of the rug, everything he could think of to impress a potential lover and playmate. Duchess responded with growling and hisses and there was no-fucking-way she was ever going to come out while he was there.
I left them to it for three hours. He didn’t give up. Neither did she.
And with that I shooed Mr. Big out, closed the door and got ready for bed. As soon as the door was shut she was ready to play and be petted, like there was no threat in the world. She’s really a very lovey and snuggly cat – something Mr. Big is not at all interested in being, and it’s my hope that she’ll be a good Lap Cat like my old Siamese was because I miss that kind of furry attention. Time will tell.
And now we’re a two-cat house again. Shhhh…nobody needs to know about this, ‘k?
*Mr. Big is neutered. I’m assuming Duchess is spayed as she’s never had kittens in the months I’ve known her.