I know there are a handful of you who like to hear about the cat and how she’s doing. I also quite like updating the cat’s progress myself. I like how she stalks the pages of this blog like… well, like a cat, as she grows from an occasional garden enigma, through a damned nuisance, and on to be a treasured and welcome part of our tight little cohort.
Here's the mandatory summary of events to date. During lockdown I would converse with the stray neighbourhood cat that periodically passed through our back garden and occasionally sat in a loaf position on the redundant trampoline. After inadvertently leaving the car open one evening, and after finding that said cat had gone in there and pissed on the passenger seat, enemy lines were firmly drawn.
Although violence was never on the cards (on my side at least) the cat was no longer made welcome in the yard. Rude words were spoken (on my side at least) and the cat developed a scowl any time that it was not presenting its bum hole to me as it sidled away. Easter Saturday, two years ago, the cat was in the garage again and I was exhorting it to leave, in the strongest possible terms, but it would not go. The reason turned out to be three new-born kittens in a cardboard box. This development quickly turned the tide of hostility towards our new ward. Random piddling moggies may be one thing, but a new mum in the shed is quite another. Everybody was excessively well cared for and there were some interesting twists and turns, which are all back there in this blog (search ‘cat’ if you're interested or click on the word 'cat') but, ‘end of the day and with thanks to the NWSPCA, the kittens were weaned and found good homes and Puddy, as she was now known, settled back into neighbourhood life minus one womb and with a snip off her ear tip to prove it.
Over the last couple of years,
Puddy has become a daily feature of our lives, as she receives much of her food and
shelter here. The shelter in the form of an elaborate and heavily insulated house in the garage. She
shares her small bag of favours with several other houses in the neighbourhood
but we can’t help but feel that we are her Numero Uno. Patricia gets to rub her
and fuss her every day and she rubs up against my calves when I stoop to fill
her bowl, but if I try to stroke her, she arches herself and hisses in hostile disbelief
then runs away to gather herself emotionally. I mostly do much the same.
So, after that enormous recap,
the latest update is mostly right there in the title. Yes, Puddy has started sleeping
overnight in the front hall.
She’s been coming in and
spending time there was quite a while now. There’s an incredibly comfy
sheepskin basket-thing on a cushion and the front door is glazed so one (Puddy)
can watch the outside world carefully when not snoozing. It’s a good place to
be, our front hall, and it seemed logical that Puddy might evolve to overnighting
there. But it didn’t start out well. One particularly torrid night, it just didn’t
seem fair to ask Puddy to decamp to her garage pied-à-terre from the
hall so we left her there, curled up and sleeping, and went to bed. The next
morning was like a typhoon had swept through our front hall. Puddy, in a punk
rock ‘do’, sat in the middle of the devastation, meowing plaintively to be let
out. She huffed off and didn’t come back for ages.
That seemed to be the end of
any thoughts of indoor overnight living for Puddy. And that wasn’t the end of
the world. The garage abode got a microwave heating pad installed every night
and was replete with fresh straw… I’ve slept in far worse places myself.
But you know cats so much
better than I do. So much better. They want what they want and they get what
they want. Over time, Puddy became less and less eager to decamp from the front
hall to the garage as the evenings wore on. She would curl up defiantly with
her back to the open door and clearly proclaim her wish to give the overnight
sojourn one more shot.
So we rather nervously drew
The front hall was cleared
of anything that might be compromised if a repeat tantrum arose. A large litter
box was positioned, along with water and dry treats. The basket was fluffed and
positioned; everything was poised. And then, on a rainy night earlier this
week, Puddy did her customary ‘reluctance to vacate’ routine and so we closed
the door and left her inside.
I was up at 3.30am. She was
I was up at 6.25am. She was
At 7.15 she was sitting at
the door gazing out so I opened it up and she slinked outside and buggered off.
The hall was tidy and untroubled by tantrums.
Since then, Puddy eases in
most every night and stays over. Like all other cats, I’m sure, she assumes
sleeping positions which utterly exude comfort and relaxation. It bestows a
subtle feline blessing on our home, as if confirming that this is a place where
one can indeed come and be at ease and be happy.
You will all now say that she
will beguile us into the next stage and will soon be residing within the inner sanctum
of the house, fully integrated and ruling the roost. I’m not so sure about
that. She comes in the house fairly regularly but always seems a little overwhelmed
and ill-at ease. Also, I seem to retain the slightest of allergies which means
her inner presence can tickle my nose a little. The hall is easy to ventilate
by simply throwing the front door open. Perhaps she will become the elderly
house cat in years to come, we won’t rule it out. Just don’t bet on it.
For now, Puddy is the cat in
the hall. Imperious in her new domain.
I wrote this yesterday and
last night she didn’t turn up to stay at all. Perhaps there were mice to terrorise
or some midnight tryst to keep. Not to worry. We know how to deal with teenager
Sometimes they stay out late
and they don’t want you asking where they’ve been.