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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Houseguest

Back when my mother-in-law, Jean, was still living on this property, she was adopted by a pair of black cats, brothers, that came down from a mobile home south and east of our place. One was as sweet as could be; the other was just as nasty. They lived in the woodpile behind the garage until, one snowy day, the sweet brother disappeared. Probably into a coyote. The nasty cat stayed. We called him Black Pete.

Pete
He was a shaggy mess, hissing and growling whenever we came near. Getting him into a cat carrier to take him to the vet required leather gloves. Eventually, we got him into the old garage with Jean's cat Tigger, who had taken to spraying in the house. Tigger also sprayed in the garage until May, when he was taken by a coyote. So, Pete had the garage to himself. We'd let him out during the day and close him in at night so the coyotes wouldn't get him. His one endearing quality was as a greeter. Whenever we walked up into the hills from the old house, Pete would meet us on the road and escort us home.

Things changed when we got Pepper after the great cat massacre (when a coyote took three of our cats in the space of a week). Pepper ran Pete up a apple tree; Pete stayed up in that tree through two days of rain. When he finally came down, he was a different cat. Quiet, handleable, eager for human contact, but still very skittish around Pepper. He stayed in the garage, and we fed him every day, putting him back into the garage at night. Recently, we brought him into the old house at night, where it would be warmer. He'd meet us each morning in the kitchen for breakfast. On nice days, we'd let him out to get some sunshine.
Pepper

Today, we brought Pete up to the house. Popping him into the cat carrier was no problem; no hissing, no growling. I brought up his bed and his food, and we let him out into my office. Karen spent part of the day in there with him while doing some work on her laptop. He spent part of that time on the window sill behind my desk, looking out upon the fog that settled into the valley. Periodically, one of our long-time house cats would stop outside the closed office door and sniff Pete's scent.

After supper, I went up to spend some time with Pete. When I entered the room, he was sitting on my desk eating supper. I sat in my Morris chair, which has broad arms. Pete crossed the desk and sat on the nearer chair arm, letting me scratch him about the head. He started purring, then lowered himself into my lap, rubbing his chin against my face and touching his nose to mine. Eventually, he settled down and would have dropped off to sleep had I not decided to come back downstairs. I gently lifted him off my lap and set him back on the desk.

Harry
 We'll probably keep him in the office for a couple of weeks to acclimate him to the house, then slowly reintroduce him to the other two cats and Pepper the Wonder Dog. In time, we hope to have a happy family of six.



Geordie

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