Creature Sighting

I’ve always been fond of animals, particularly cats and dogs, and when I see one, I always try to make friends.  I typically try to make eye contact, and if the animal responds, I offer my hand as a petting device.  Usually, with dogs this works fine; most dogs are naturally friendly and gregarious.  They are the only animals I know who have thousands of best friends–and every single one of those friends is at the top of the list, too!  No one is in second place.

Cats are a different matter.  Cats are rather paranoid by nature, so making friends is a bit more difficult.  Instead of simply offering a hand to pet, you have to offer something more.  Like treats.

A couple of weeks ago, this cat started showing up.

Difficult to get close to.  Like most strays, she’d run off when I got too near.  Having a soft heart (and a soft head), I had some old cat treats on hand, so why not.

Well, apparently she appreciated those, because I could get closer and closer.  She still looks a bit suspicious, though.  (Treat visible in the lower left.)

After that, she decided that treats were more important than maintaining the stray lifestyle, so she now asks for them frequently (she is very vocal, though her voice isn’t harsh like a Siamese).  Here she is, in the daylight hours, asking for more treats.

Here she is simply posing (after asking for treats).  (As you can see, she is very beautiful.)

She basically makes two noises:  a regular meow (“Give me treats”) and a long, drawn-out meow (“Don’t touch me”) that can last for several seconds.  She still makes both of those sounds, but over the course of a week or so, she has allowed herself to be petted, which means the long, drawn-out one is less frequent.  This also means I can get even closer shots.

At first, the petting she allowed was pretty much “Don’t touch!  …say…this isn’t half bad…*er!* I mean, don’t touch!

Then, it was more like “Sure, sure, whatever, pet me, but don’t forget those treats!  Okay, two pettings is enough!  Okay, maybe one more.”

Now?  She allows herself to be…wait for it…picked up and stroked, and she purrs a mighty purr then.  Doesn’t struggle to be let down, either.  As noted, this is after only a couple of weeks…   Now, a feral cat would still run for the bushes no matter the quality of treats, and a stray would probably take a couple of months to get to this stage.  So I figure she has to’ve been someone’s pet at some point.

…and, given the way she’s played me for a sucker, she may still be.  “Oh, hello, ‘owner.’  Where’ve I been?  Oh, nowhere.  Say, can you let me out for a bit?  Private business, don’t you know.”

By the way, I’ve started giving her regular (dry) cat food, so it’s not just treats.  It’s still treats on occasion, but I figure, she should eat something a bit more substantive.  Just like she does at the other five or six houses she (probably) visits.

Oh–and the cat I currently live with, Leela (previously seen many times on this site), doesn’t seem to be aware of the outside visitor.  At least, as far as I can tell….

Now, Leela is sixteen years old, and getting on a bit, and may not really care about what she perceives outside, as long as the inside has food and a litter box and sleeping places.  Maybe.  One thing I know about cats is that there’s a lot I don’t know about cats.

Anyway, see you next month!  And thanks for stopping by.

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