Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Those Darn Cats

About three-and-a-half years ago, we adopted two kittens - sisters, from the same litter.  And for the first year, although there was some rambunctiousness and bad feelings between them, they were pretty tolerant of each other and could even be found snuggled together when sleeping.

That all changed when we started letting them go outside around their first anniversary with us.  The introduction of the outside with all of its other cats and prey and smells and whatever else it is cats get up to made their relationship much more… well, I was going to be fancy and say 'adversarial,' but a far more accurate description would be 'fighty'.  The larger of the two, a crazy calico that Yesenia named Frida, started developing lousy bathroom habits, peeing in corners and houseplants and generally acting out.  It was depressing, because she was otherwise a sweet and affectionate animal (albeit one with a quick trigger and unafraid to use the claws Cat Jesus gave her).

Finally, after about eighteen months of that, I took to putting her outside during the day even if she didn't want to go out, just to keep the house from constantly smelling like piss.  One growly day in September of last year, she went outside against her will and disappeared.  I held out hope the longest that she was okay, but after three weeks, even my hope (and crushing guilt) were pretty sure she was gone for good.  The nights were starting to get cold, to boot.

I did the rounds in the surrounding blocks, dropping off leaflets and asking around.   Frida had an excellent habit of losing her collar once every few weeks, and had shed her most current one a few days before she disappeared.  The neighbor actually found that one after she was gone, and we tacked it to the bulletin board.

Then one night in late September, I was standing in the kitchen and heard meowing out behind the house.  Even though our other cat, Georgia, was also outside, I had a rush of hope and went out to the front porch and called.  Sure enough, around came Frida - very enthused to be home.  I picked her up and brought her upstairs to show Yesenia, who was in the tub.  She started crying.

We decided to give Frida to my mother, and it's been an ideal situation for everyone involved.  My mom has a companion, Frida is an indoor cat and gets lots of attention and has big picture windows to look out of at all of the wildlife - and she's well-behaved and uses the litter box! - and Georgia now gets me and Yesenia to herself.  And anytime we go away or my mother goes away, one or the other cat is shifted to the other house and the two cats get to have a growly reunion.

My mom is in Paris right now, through the end of this week, and we've been hosting Frida.  So it's happy having her around, and she's thankfully keeping her goings in the litter box.  Knock wood.  Lotsa hissing and fighting, but also much calmer than things used to be.  Maybe it was just tough teenage years.  In fact, the only difficulty now is going in and out of the house, because we're paranoid that Frida will get out.  So unloading the groceries and bringing out the trash starts to resemble a weird cossack stomping dance, complete with slamming doors.


No comments: