The Brownie Report: On (not) taming a stray

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Brownie appeared one week ago, mewing and begging outside of the sliding glass door. 

She was spotted a few times sleeping in the seat of an old chair on the patio during the summer and fall, when the weather was nice and delightful.  Back when it was a fine time to be an outside cat or even a homeless person.  The little cat might consider that period of time as the ‘good ol’ days’ or her personal Golden Era, as the earth met all of her needs;  little birds and trash for snacking, lawn/patio furniture for sleeping, trees for scratching posts, and the entire outdoors for scooting her behind.  

Likely, she congratulated herself everyday on escaping from someone’s apartment thinking something like, Oh you clever cat.  Good for you.  No one to tell you where you can’t sleep or scoot your butt. 

She was absolutely certain the universe would continue to provide, never anticipating the cruel and cold Indiana winter that was to come.  Then the seasons changed, as they always do, cooling the days and chilling the nights.  Frost on single blades of grass led to snow over everything, and there was Brownie, the silly and impulsive cat, homeless and without a friend.

After the first night that she appeared hungry and pathetic, I’ve set out a dish of food and warm water each day, much to my husband’s dismay.  He groaned when he found me out and said, “Great, another cat.”  It was as though I had already collected hundreds of cats, and they were sleeping on the shelves, hiding under beds, stretched out in the hallways, and sleeping on his pillow.  (Don’t worry, we only have one little housecat who has lived with us since before we were married.)

With my best efforts, Miss New Kitty still remains shy and skittish, almost feral, but not quite.  She mews and rubs her head against the glass door, and then runs to hide in the corner when I slide the door open for her.

We’ve had a few breakthroughs in our relationship.  Several days ago; she let me pet her furry head without running away.  Granted, it was when she was gobbling down her kitty-kibble and she barely noticed me petting her or my great pleasure from her allowing it.  Yesterday, she let my husband pet her while she was shoveling big mouthfuls of kibble, but when she looked up and realized it was a new hand, she batted his arm away.  Whap, whap, whap!

She hit him, one strike after the other and ran off into the shadows, scared of the big man down on his knees laughing.

“She doesn’t have any claws,” he declared in disbelief.

It’s hard to believe that a cat could survive more than a month as a stray without any claws.  I had to double my efforts to tame the feline and save her from a gruesome death, if she was to be saved.

We nearly had another breakthrough today.  I lured her inside to eat her dinner in the warmth of the apartment.  I felt giddy with joy at our progress and shut the door to keep out the cold air, which sent the creature into a mad frenzy to escape.  She raced around the living room, hitting the wall, tearing up the carpet and making demon noises that my sweet little housecat has never emitted.  In my effort to re-open the door, I discovered that she really does have claws.  She was just giving love swats to the Mister the night before and kept her daggers sheathed. On this particular occasion, the daggers came out.  Oh yes, they all came out.  

So now, she’s back outside.  I can see her anxiously peering in and perhaps re-thinking her decision to be an outside cat.  As I write this, I am nursing a wounded hand, a case of cat-scratch fever and remorse that she wasn’t declawed in her past life.  

Signing off for the Brownie Report and hoping for a less violent tomorrow. 

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. under-my-quilt
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:24:13

    Oh I so enjoyed reading this, especially being a cat person, I had similar problems with my cat,my cat has advanced so much over the years,cats don’t you just love them

    Reply

    • puneybones
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:30:34

      Yes but I wish this particular cat would be less independent so she could move inside. I hate that she sleeps out in the cold!! Better luck tmrw, right? Btw, I like your cards- very creative!

      Reply

  2. under-my-quilt
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 16:07:44

    Thank you, I hope to make more.She will come in when she is ready,you know what cats are like ! Our cat was border line vicious and now we can do almost anything with her but we still tread carefully with her.

    Reply

  3. eriklehman
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 16:42:09

    Ah yes, I’ve been there. My cat started the same way. She’ll be all right, it’s their nature. Time will heal all wounds and fears.

    Reply

    • puneybones
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 16:46:13

      I hope so, she’s such a sweet little thing when she’s not in a panic to escape. Thanks for reading.

      Reply

      • eriklehman
        Jan 25, 2014 @ 16:54:11

        Mine was the same way. I found the trick to be not to pay too much attention to her. Cats are independent by skiddish by nature. She likes to do things in her own way and time. It can be frustrating to wait. But if we ignore them, maybe leave the door a crack, they eventually come to us. But she has to feel as though it is ultimately her decision. I’ve learned much about cats over the years. It’s all about their independence.

      • puneybones
        Jan 25, 2014 @ 16:59:48

        Good advice- cats are much like people in that way. I’ll stop checking if she wants to come in every few minutes and see how that works.

      • eriklehman
        Jan 25, 2014 @ 17:09:23

        I’ll have a little reassuring talk with Brownie. She’ll be a new cat, you’ll see 🙂

      • puneybones
        Jan 25, 2014 @ 17:16:55

        lol thanks! Looking forward to a friendly not feral brownie.

  4. Trackback: Blogdom Jan. 15-Feb. 26, ’14 | The ToiBox of Words

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