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.