Cat Challenges

It's been a hard week for our cats.

If you're not familiar with our cat family, let me introduce you: Scooter is our elder cat. He is a formerly feral cat. My husband has looked after Scooter since he was a tiny kitten. Scooter looks like a Norwegian forest cat with that luxuriant coat, beautiful big eyes, and white ruff. We also live with two young cats, a bonded pair, brother and sister, two years old, black and white. Indiana Jones looks like he's wearing a tuxedo, and Samantha Bee has a black beauty mark by her lip like Cindy Crawford. We've had these two since they were eight weeks old. We have pictures of Sam sitting inside a bowl, and Indy sleeping in a hat.

All of them are shy. They didn't see many people when they were growing up, and now when friends come over, they all hide. This past weekend, my husband and I went away. The cat sitter visited the cats every day. Usually on Facebook, she posts pictures of the pets she takes care of. With our cats, the picture was of bumps under a bedspread.

A few days after we returned home, we hired a mobile pet groomer to take care of Scooter's coat. He had a lot of mats, and Mike and I had tried to take care of them, but Scooter flinched and cried and growled at our amateur efforts. We needed a professional. Fortunately, we had a sedative left over from when the cats moved. (Scooter does not like to be picked up by strangers. He does not like to be in his carrier. He does not like any sort of procedure being done to him.) But everything went well. Scooter got his buzzcut without complaint. He is a much happier cat although he does look like he stepped out of a Dr. Seuss book. The young cats have been fascinated by his look. For some reason, they've really had to do some intense butt sniffing when they saw Scooter with his buzz cut. I think Scooter's coat now feel likes velvet. And it should be grow back in two months.

This weekend, more friends came over. The young boy who loves cats lifted up the bedspread to take a look at Samantha. She went into high-gear scramble, and for a while, I couldn't find her anywhere, but I knew she was just taking care of herself.

When our guests left, I thought thing would return to normal. We would resume our quiet, everyday life. But this morning, as I was looking out my window, I saw a black cat scamper down our driveway. I've seen this cat run down our driveway before. Then two weeks ago, while I was walking, I met her on the road. She let me pet her. She let me rub her belly. She nuzzled me as she made a figure eight around my legs. She's a small cat, all black with a white star on her chest. I'd been looking to see her again ever since.

Today, when I saw her, I was in the middle of writing, but I didn't care. I only had socks on. So what? It was that cat. I ran outside, and she started to run away and then slowed her pace. I knelt down and held my hand out. She came back to me, and I sat down on the side of the road with her and talked to her and petted her.

“They're watching you,” my husband called out from the window, and I looked up to see our two young cats sitting side by side in the window, their eyes locked on me. I sighed and told the black cat I had to go. I went inside, washed my hands, and tried to pet the young cats. They skittered around me, this caretaker traitor who was now proven to like cats in the outside.

Later, the black cat came running down our driveway again. She looked up at me in the window, but I did not go out. Instead I called my husband.

“She's back! You have to meet her.”

“But I'm in the middle of something,” he protested, but he didn't put up too much of a fight. Moments later, he was out there, clucking to the cat, who made his acquaintance. Our young cats didn't see that. I imagine they'll soon know.