Brownie Gets a Suitor

Brownie cat now has a suitor. 

I peeked out the window this morning to say good-bye to Brownie before I left for work.  She already had her breakfast and few pets on the head.  Usually by this time, she’s sitting pretty as you please, with her tail wrapped around her paws and peering into the window.  On a warmer day, she waits for a snack or to press up against the window purring.  On colder days, she hunkers down in her box, with an eye towards the window, ready to slink out if she deems it worth the effort.

However, on this particularly crisp and freezing morning, I was met with a punch-in-the-gut type of surprise.

“Oh my God!” I screamed and panicked as I tried to open the sliding glass door.

A big, fat tom cat was outside, swishing his tail and harassing the little cat inside of the box.  There was Brownie, cowered down, in the temporary safety of her cardboard box; while the tom cat lapped up her water and took a mouthful of her leftover kibble from breakfast.  He was taunting her, walking back and forth, while she continued to hold her position inside of the box.

I could only see her face and green eyes, wide with fear and terror at this awful cat, strutting about and claiming the patio for his pleasure.  He was about to do the same with Brownie, if he could break into her box or catch her dilly-dallying about in the snow.

As for me, I was filled with rage that this intruder and bully would terrify my little cat, eat her food and drink her water. 

We don’t want no scrubs around here, in the borrowed words of TLC, and that goes for this big damned bully of a cat.  Finally, I got the door open and unleashed my fury on that he-ball of fur.  I won’t describe that scene, other than, it got ugly.  

As he ran off, I shook my fist and screamed after him, “Don’t come back, you scrub, or else!”  

The cat stopped at the road, turned his thick neck, and looked at me with an evil swish of his tail, as if to say, Or else what?     

By then, I was running late and upset about what would happen to my poor little Brownie cat as soon as I left.  She was alone and mostly defenseless with just a set of claws, and a cardboard box to her name.   I wondered at where I should draw the line and how to best protect her.  Then the lingering thought began to plague me that my husband had warned of: one stray leads to two strays and behold, a colony is born.

This has brought to light a deep fear, perhaps he is right and a cat colony is on the brink of formation on our back patio.  It could be an unstoppable situation as I still can’t catch Brownie to take her to the vet to get spayed.  I can’t stop feeding her because it’s the middle of winter and unless a little martyr-minded bird takes mercy on Brownie and sacrifices itself, she’ll starve.  Not even trash is edible after an hour at negative five degrees.  What if she tells her cat friends and more come, or worse, she had relations with that cat, and soon we will have kittens?       

Right now, I know just where to draw the line.  It is with Brownie, my outside cat, my pet and my furry little work in progress.   If only I could convince her to come inside, away from the cold and the suitors, before it’s too late and we have 7-12 little Brownies.  

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.