Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Cat Who Wouldn't Come in From the Cold

Annie doesn't take kindly to "Stinky", our #2 cat, being called "Stanky", and therein hangs a cat tale.

Stinky Miller in his younger, domestic days
Stinky was a rescue cat who rode into downtown Henrietta from Fort Worth in the front fender well of an 18-wheeler cab. How the hell he managed to survive up there for a hundred miles is beyond me, but the trip twisted his feline psyche.

Look at 'im over there. Looks normal enough, doesn't he. Yet, even at that young stage, there was something not quite right about that cat, something suggesting a Jeckel-and-Hyde kink.

Relocation aside, this oreo wound up at the home of the village cat lady. Bless her heart! For the cats, it must have been a nightmare straight out of a Dickens' orphanage. 

Cat Lady's daughter found Annie through our local want ads. Daughter wanted--above all else!--to divest mother of the clowder of mostly feral cats before further destruction of the family homestead. 

Fortunately, we escaped the cat house with ONE scared-shitless cat vocalizing in a borrowed carrier! One smelly cat, at that. Thus, Stinky.

My lovely life partner cats being kept inside. Let's 'em on the furniture, even. So it was, initially, this black-and-white newbie gained a roof over his head, all the kibble he could hope for and access to furniture. He did have to share a litter box with one other, much older, half blind tom with attitude AND got his balls whacked off in the bargain!

Several months (years?) our household had grown to four cats, a cockatiel and Beano, a boglen terrier. We lucked into a three-bedroom rental with a fully-fenced back yard and infinitely patient, understanding landlady and lord.

In the new (to us) home, the litter box found a permanent home beside the back door. While the other three cats were curious about "OUT THERE!", Stinky was the only one to chance it.

He had been born a feral cat, after all.

The first time was like, "STINKY'S OUT!! OMG, DO SOMETHING!" After the first dozen or so escapes, it was nearer "Stinky's out again...." So it was that Stinky morphed into Stanky.

Beano and Stanky, waiting at the gate
Initially, Stinky only became Stanky for odd periods during daylight. He was content with the inside-the-fence back yard, showing little inclination to venture beyond his home turf. 

Inside Stinky was skittish, suspicious of others, selfish and seemingly starved for attention but on his terms. Outside Stanky became cautious, confident, aware and watchful of others, and starved for attention but on his terms. In the course of the transition, it became increasingly clear that Stanky was a happier cat than was Stinky.

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