Friday, March 23, 2007
My neighborhood has a lot of stray cats. This winter my downstairs neighbors took in a young brown tabby cat, maybe 8 months old, who had clearly been out on the streets for a while and wasn't doing very well. It's more accurate to say that the cat decided to move in with them. He's very docile and even let them bathe him without too much fuss. He's doing well now, and has a small posse (two slightly younger, black cats who were completely feral when I saw them last year).
This big white tomcat has been out on the streets for a couple of years at least. Last year he refused to have anything to do with me, although the black cloth top of my car is his favorite sleeping spot. I know he sleeps there, because he leaves his white fur all over the black top.
Yesterday afternoon when I took out the trash, he was sitting outside my door in the stairwell. I expected him to run away, but he only went as far as the top step before turning to see if I might feed him. Sucker that I am, I went back inside and grabbed a handful of food for him. I set it down on the floor between us and backed away. He wolfed it down and asked for more. Giant sucker that I am, I went back inside and got another handful of food. I held it out slowly, and he almost ate it out of my hand. I think he would have, but I didn't want to risk getting bitten.
I took out the trash. I came back. He was still outside my door. I went to my desk and worked. I could hear my cat talking to him through the kitchen door for almost twenty minutes. Every now and then I would check, and he was still there, staring at the door, hoping I might let him in and give him more food. I'm not that big of a sucker. I know he made it through this winter on his own, and I'd guess he was on his own last winter too. If he wants to become a housecat, he has to go get himself neutered first.
It occurred to me later that he could be rabid. This is the first time he's ever come near me. In the past he always ran away as soon as he saw a person. Now he's all friendly and domesticated. If he's still alive and well and friendly in a few weeks, I'll consider taking care of him. But he still can't move in.