To me, you will be unique in all the world.
To you, I shall be unique in all the world."
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
It wasn't that my heart didn't melt a little when Scout snuggled in and looked up from my lap with what I like to think was adoration but could just as well have been a new vantage point from which to launch herself at my necklace. It was more the logistics of 6 cats and a life in flux that put me off wanting a kitten. I told myself, (and family and co-workers), for weeks that as long as she had a good home, (somewhere else!), everything would be right in the world. It took a milestone birthday and her getting lost on a busy thoroughfare to jar me to my senses. To paraphrase my very Scottish great grandmother, 'There're worse things in the world, Hen, than the good Lord puts a wee tabby cat on your door step.'
After a long Labor Day weekend, I learned of Scout's escape and the subsequent search, complete with wanted posters, and was bereft. Although I hadn't taken her with me the previous Friday because of travel issues I had ruefully acknowledged the mutual fondness and fully intended to take her home. Except now she was gone in an unknown direction, just feet from a busy 5-lane street with constant traffic and otherwise surrounded by a dense residential area.
I spent hours walking the neighborhood peering up driveways, explaining my quest and calling for her in the hope she would recognize my voice. For the record, I felt only slightly foolish calling aloud and disturbing the peace. I knew she wouldn't come to anyone else and from her forays into the nooks and crannies of the clinic I knew she was an excellent and silent hider.
That week we had drenching rain storms and much cooler temperatures. The food and water we left out went untouched. The generous reward offered by her almost-human generated some interest and a possible sighting, but the weeks passed.
I kept my hopes up but opted not to further annoy the neighbors by calling for her multiple times during the day and evening. I watched for her while walking and stopped the car to talk to any area residents I saw. Although she had discovered the cat treat dish before her escape and had some extra weight, five and a half pounds of anything isn't much against city streets. And I really missed her company.
We were well into the third week of September before the next sighting, again on my weekend off, by a neighborhood avowed "cat lady." She had managed to trap a kitten in the area matching Scout's physical as well as temperamental, (i.e. fiercely independent), description. It was Monday afternoon before I was able to drive the several blocks to her house for a viewing but the wait was rewarded by a happily purring feline in my lap within minutes.
Scout had managed to lose some weight and gain some fleas in her 17 AWOL days. She was in the sink for a bath later that afternoon to ditch the fleas. And on the way home with me later that week.
Having discovered the joy of milk rings, she's now well on her way to growing into a proper feline.
The resident cats, Minerva Jayne in particular, were on high alert for random kitten pouncing but the addition has been surprisingly stress-free.
With 6, (albeit 3 of them resolutely outdoor barn kitties), I'm wondering about egg roll...
Coming soon, some tips on introducing a new cat to the household.
Step One: Allow yourself to care...