Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Cat, a Kitten, and Coming Home

My poor, sorry blog has been neglected ever since I started my job as Food Editor at The Toledo Blade in February of 2014. Deadlines, stories, and not enough time have kept me from stopping by here very often. And I've missed everyone!

So today, after chatting with a couple of our editors, the suggestion was made that I could use this space for random stories, for stories that aren't quite what the paper wants on the food pages, for stories that deserve to be read but need a different space.

Here's the first installment, then: a story about Craig's and my new kitten. It's a sequel to an earlier story, and I've included a link. I'm hoping to do this fairly regularly ... we shall see. Time is elusive, and there's not enough of it. But I'm going to try!!! (If you want to follow my writings and adventures, the best bet is still The Toledo Blade Food Page, on Facebook.)


In January, I introduced everyone to my cat, Hobbesie. (Here's the story.)

His proper name is Hobbit because, as I noted, “he likes to eat breakfast. And second breakfast. And a mid-morning snack. And brunch, followed by lunch, second lunch, and afternoon tea. He wants ’linner’: a lunch/dinner combo. He likes supper, dinner, an evening snack and a midnight snack.”

Hobbesie has filled out nicely (perhaps just a touch too nicely, as he’s a sturdy 10-pounder now), compared to the scrawny little thing he was when we found him wandering in our neighborhood last fall.

Given how popular he seemed to be after his introduction, with lots of feline fans telling me about their own cats’ quirky names and unusual eating habits, I thought you’d like to know that Hobbiesie now has a baby sister, Graycie. Needless to say, we called her that because she’s gray with a light-colored striped stomach.

Graycie was living under the deck behind our house, and we’d see her with two other cats who were much bigger than she was. Neither seemed to care for her efforts at snuggling; one of them actually swatted her when she tried to cuddle up. The three would come up for the food we’d started providing once we realized they were there. A very round raccoon also enjoyed joining the party. The buffet was served every night.

We checked with several rescue organizations, and it became clear that the older cats wouldn’t be domesticated very readily. But Graycie was very little, so we tried to capture her.

She was skittish and afraid, but gradually would come out to eat some soft canned food even if we sat close by, hoping to make her comfortable with our presence. As a skinny little scavenger, Graycie didn’t have a particularly discriminating palate and happily ate everything we offered.

Very quickly, the older cats seemed to have left her alone. It was as though they’d completed their mission, dropping her off at a new home where someone would take care of her. Graycie would sit alone in the middle of our deck and cry, but then run back under the slats any time we gently tried to get close.

There’s one sure way to lure a little frightened cat, though.

You call it tuna. I call it kitten kryptonite.

We put a small bowl of it into a carrier one evening and she soon tiptoed out in search of the treat. At which point we shut the door, brought her inside (to Hobbesie’s great delight as he sat on top of the handle), and then took her to a vet the next morning. He guessed that she was about eight weeks old.

Some creeping crud in her eye, a bad smell, fleas, and being hungry were the only medical issues. Eye drops, oral meds, death-to-fleas treatment. Then Graycie was discharged to come home. Our home.

Ravenous as she was, it didn’t matter whether we fed her Hobbesie’s kibble for indoor cats or her own kitten chow. Cans of chicken, turkey, tuna with egg, salmon, pate (which Hobbesie loathes) or tidbits or filets ... Graycie ate it all.

Until a few days later, when she snubbed the beef shreds.

Beggars can’t be choosers, as they say. But apparently Graycie had realized that she didn’t need to beg anymore. She didn’t need to share her food with the mean cats or with Rocky Raccoon.

Sure, Hobbesie ate out of her bowl because it somehow seemed new and exotic, and he was likely teaching her who the Alpha Male was. But Graycie just retaliated by eating out of Hobbesie’s bowl. It all worked out and no one was going hungry.

And so, with the new-found comfort of knowing more food would be available, Graycie let us know she didn’t want beef. She waited ’til her minions served her something better.

I used to joke that Hobbesie was our starter cat, and happily he likes having Graycie around.

Maybe the next cat will be beige. I already have a name picked out: Matzah Ball.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Best name ever for a cat. When Hobbesies messes up, do you yell, "You stupid hobbit, you ruins it!" ?

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