My kitty, Jack, presented me with a gift this morning. I wonder if he spent hours scratching his little noggin while reviewing possible items that he knew I would appreciate?
As I brewed a pot of coffee, I happened to hear a muffled “mee-yow” and glanced out the glass window of the back door. He sat at attention in his usual spot, head cocked to the side, mouth slightly open in anticipation of a playful scratch-behind-the-ears and a handful of his favorite crunchy dry food. I swear that his eyebrows (do cats have eyebrows?) were raised as if to ask me “…well… when are you coming out to pay attention to me?”.
How can one resist such temptation? This cat and I have a history of at least a year now. I found him one stormy night, soaked to his bony carcass and hiding in the garden. Much as I tried to coax him with a piece of fish, he resisted. There was no trace of the bait in the morning and I knew that he would return. Six months later, he finally (and gingerly) took food from my hand. I always knew when he was around because he had (and still has) a raspy breath, as if a bone were caught in his throat. About two months ago, my daughter and I finally coaxed him into the cat kennel (from our two beloved and deceased prior pets) and drove him to the veterinary clinic nearby. They exclaimed that they had never observed so much lice on a cat, (lice?? we thought it was lint- yikes!) and did as thorough an exam as they could with a still-wild feline. He was determined to be fairly healthy, but underweight and feisty. He got the first of two FIV vaccinations, plus was wormed. We continued the worming medicine at home, and started him on Revolution, which took care of those nasty insects.
Three weeks ago, I placed him in his kennel and drove him to the vet for a multiple assault: second FIV shot, neutering, antibiotic shot and exploratory look at the throat. Oh, and did I mention microchip? The poor guy was so anesthetized when I picked him up later that afternoon, so I let him sleep in the cage all night. The next day when I let Jack out, he was full of hiss and vinegar! He lowered his head and peered up at me when I called him. I could see that a swat was in order if I came close to the wall he put up. There was no longer any trust! I couldn’t come near him for awhile and it was just as well since we left for Oahu for a week. Scott, who stayed at the house while we were gone, took great care of Jack and told me that his appetite and demeanor was back to normal about the day before we returned.
So back to my gift this morning. When I opened the door, a tiny Java sparrow fell into the house. I think that Jack had him propped up at attention! No teeth marks or blood – as if the bird died from fright. Loud purring accompanied by short bursts of “…hey, where’s the gratitude?”. Of course, I replied with lotsa loving and petting, plus the perfunctory handful of dry food. He’s back rubbing my legs as I sit at the computer. Awhile ago, I thought he gifted me with a baby mongoose, however I now think that I caught him in the act of hunting, and he dropped it at my feet in surprise. When I tried to dispose of it, his protests were loud and angry.
We have a long road to tow. Jack will not allow me to pick him up and put him in my lap yet. I don’t believe he will ever be an indoor pet, yet this cat and I are joined at the soul and although he sometimes exhibits a little bit of that wildness in the way of a wary look or swipe of a paw, I know that his heart is mine (or vice versa) and Jack is here to stay.