A few weeks ago, I noticed that a cat was camping out on my patio (I have cushy patio chairs). I’ve seen this cat around the apartment complex over the past year, always on the move. The cat seemed fairly skittish — if it saw a person, it would dart away quickly. With the weather being so cold, and believing that it didn’t have a home to call its own (I’ve seen it outside at all hours of the day and night), I started putting out food and water. While I didn’t make any attempt to approach the cat, I hoped that eventually I would be able to get close enough to it to make sure that it was neutered/spayed. Given its skittishness, I didn’t expect it to be housecat so I was content to allow it to remain free. That said, I wanted to make sure that it didn’t contribute to the feral cat population.
Imagine my surprise when I came home one night to see the cat sitting by my patio door, looking in expectantly. This was a first and I didn’t want to frighten the cat by approaching it, so I went about my routine. It was soon time to fill the food bowl and the cat was still there, so I got the food and opened the door. A few weeks ago, the sight of me walking towards the door would have sent the cat running — however, this particular evening, the cat only moved to the edge of the patio. As I poured the food into the dish, the cat came up to me and started rubbing against my legs, purring. I was surprised, thrilled, and tormented. I sat down and started petting the sweet little girl and she continued purring and rubbing against me. It was cold and I wanted to bring her inside but I had no idea if she was healthy and I didn’t want to risk Sadie-Cat’s health. So I got a blanket and sat outside with her for a long time. When I finally went inside, I left the blanket on the chair so that she’d have something to snuggle in.
This routine expanded and continued for a few days. I’d wake up early to feed and pet both cats and I skipped evening workouts in order to come home earlier to feed and pet both cats. It was obvious by now that this sweet little stray had once had a home. I didn’t want to take her to the shelter — sweet as she was, she had a partially-torn ear and a small scar above one eye so she wasn’t likely to win any beauty contests among the other cats desperately wanting homes. I started asking around, trying to find a home for her. I also began working on a plan to bring her inside without risking Sadie’s health. My apartment is small but I do have a second bathroom . . . .
And then the day came. I’d fed and petted both cats, I’d gotten ready for work, and I was heading towards the door when the sweet little stray stood up, put her paws on my patio door, and meowed. I opened the door, scooped her up, put her in the second bathroom with cat necessities. On my morning break, I called the vet and made an appointment to have her checked out that afternoon. I’ve decided to name her Pippin — like one of my favorite hobbits, she’s sweet but timid. I’m hoping her curiosity will override her timidity when it comes time to properly introduce her to Sadie.