26 August 2006

Knew cat

A friend from work had borrowed my kayak. I store it in my neighbor PS’s garage. So, we were up the hill across the road to take the kayak off the roof of her Jeep. I was putting the paddles off to the side of the garage and saw something bolt into the woods. I thought it was a hare but that didn’t quite ring true. I didn’t think much more about it.

Then, as we were pulling the kayak off the roof of her Jeep, we both saw a long, skinny cat bolt across the driveway and into the woods. I think I might have walked over to where it bolted and called. I don’t remember anymore.

Several days later I saw the cat in my driveway close to the road. I called to it and it bolted again. Tuesday, August 15th, I pulled into the drive and saw it at the far end, up by the house. I stopped the car, got out and called gently. It stayed still. I crawled, literally on my belly, through the grass, calling softly to it.

The cat let me get quite close before bolting. I figured it was gone. I walked out to the back porch and saw it sitting in the mowed path by the bird bath. I called again and came in the house and got the only thing I could find in my vegetarian home to feed it: half and half. The cat was gone when I went back out. I walked out the side door and it was once again in the driveway; only now, walking out toward the road. I called and offered the cream. It creeped carefuly toward the bowl as I backed off. It drained the bowl and kept licking, almost chewing on the glass bowl itself.

I went back in and got some yogurt, mixed in nutritional yeast and offerd it the same way. Again, the cat drained the bowl. As it was eating I went around the side of the house and ran to a neighbors, found the stashed key, let myself in looking for canned cat food. I couldn’t find any! I spotted a can of Alaskan salmon. I grabbed it, locked the door, stashed the key and ran back.

The first, tentative step towards me and away from the salmon

I put a bowlful on the mat at the bottom of my stairs and sat at the top of the stairs. The cat approached cautiously and ate; then tentatively walked up and bonked my hand with its head. I stood up and opened the door and it came in. The cat hissed a wide, open mouthed, fierce hiss anytime we were both walking toward the food bowl.

I wore my knee-high, black rubber boots in the house for the first night and the second day, in case the cat was inclined to attack.

It was not. Never once tried to scratch or bite me. It easily allowed me to approach as it was eating, and even take the bowl away. The cat let me pet it, pick it up and quickly made itself comfortable on the back pillow of the couch.

She has been here ever since. She is very skinny! Eating and sleeping. A tiny bit of play. Friendly. Lets me pat her and carry her and has met two friends without running away. Greeted them like old friends.

She weighed 4 pounds the first day I got her. She’s clean, no sign of ear mites, maybe a flea or two, certainly no infestation. She took right to a litter box, doesn’t scratch furniture, uses a cardboard scratching box I bought. I plan to make or buy a more permenent scratching post.

I’ve named her Slim. Only my fiend and one of my sisters knew immediately what the reference was: Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. Slim was the name of Lauren Bacall’s character. The director, Howard Hawks, chose the nickname for the Bacall character, Marie, because it was the nickname (bestowed upon her by William Powell) of his wife, Nancy Gross (later and better kown as Slim Keith). After seeing Bacall on the cover of Harper’s, Slim suggested her to Hawks for the role in Bacall’s first movie, To Have and Have Not.

This little, skinny, cat certainly had not. Now she has. And she is as slim as Slim can be. I am touched that she persisted and found me. I am glad she decided to stay.


Lee Hartsfeld said...

The bottom photo of Slim is too adorable!

In the unlikely event you didn't already know that.

Thanks for the story of Slim,


CrimsonCrow said...

Isn't she amazing! She so sweet and funny and is getting more playful each day. She looks like a regular cat now, not starving.

She is not asking to go ut at all. She sits on the screened in porch and watches the birds but hasn't clawed at the screen or tried to open the door. I'd be thrilled if she stays in. Coyotes, owls and foxes abound, never mind assholes in trucks who go 70 on my one lane country road.

leslie joan linder said...

love the protective leg-gear. I have a big tomcat who attacks my legs when I won't let him out, and there have been times I was happy to have on my winter boots. but ittle slimmy wimmie kins idn't a bitey boots. ;) LL

Gwen said...

Slim is SO CUTE! Leslie told me that she had adopted you! Looks like she found a great home!


Lee Hartsfeld said...

Slim has probably had enough of the outdoors for the moment! Our big problem, road-wise, is that some of the cats will follow us out to the mailbox, which is across the street--not good. They figure they're safe so long as we're there. Silly creatures.