Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Saga of the Switching Cats

There is something very wrong with our family.

This kitty, Magnet, has lived with us for three years. He lived with us in our trailer in Pullman, putting up with the foster Bichons and causing vile smells to appear in our house. He moved with us to Clarkston where he lived outside all winter and because I was so sick he got absolutely no attention whatsoever. He moved with us to the Moscow trailer where he lived under the trailer, getting stuck twice. He moved with us to Kindlewick where he lived happily for several months until he was once again banished to the great outdoors. He always stuck close to the house, wandering around the back yard until the end of August when he disappeared. Still we have not see tail or whisker of him. We have asked at the Humane Society twice and hung posters all around our house.

Then there is Hammy. We felt even more responsible for him, since he was bred and raised by Hubby's sister and was the favorite of the litter from the farm this year. We carefully kept him indoors for six weeks after we got him, getting him used to his new home. When we let him out we did it in stages, watching over him so he would not get hit or trapped somewhere. He was always scared of cars so I finally stopped worrying.

For quite a while, Hammy hung around as assiduously as Magnet. Then he began spending more and more time with the neighbor's kitten, playing and wrestling in their back yard. He got stuck once in a tall fence but I found him and rescued him.

Then in September he did not come home one night. We asked the neighbor whose house he had been known to frequent. They had not seen him. We checked the tall fence. No kitten. We made yet another trip to the Humane Society. We walked up and down our alley looking in every bush and hole and outbuilding. We circled the several blocks. No kitten, no black-and-white cat.

We mourned.

One night just at dusk Curly Miss reported seeing a kitten in our front yard. We rushed out in joy that Hammy had returned. This kitten, although Siamese, was smaller than Hammy, was brown instead of gray and had no white toes. It was skin and bones, though, poor thing and we took pity on it. Hubby grabbed some of Hammy's "treat" salmon in a can and set it before the poor trembling kitten who would not eat it unless we left. Once we backed off he gobbled the food ravenously.

By degrees he (she?) has become tamer. We still look often for Magnet and Hammy and are still in shock that we could lose two cats in the same number of weeks. We still hope and pray for their safe return.

And we still feed this little stray. He has filled out nicely and lost some of the shyness with us. Last night we let him in the house for a while. The whole family was "keeping an eye on the kitten" so of course he disappeared. Without a trace. Hubby and I searched high and low for him and began to wonder if there was such a think as a cat curse. How could we lose a third cat? In the house no less?

We finally gave up the fruitless search and went to bed. Lying in bed, I heard a low rumble. Hubby insisted it was the dishwasher running downstairs. I was not so convinced. It sounded like purring under our bed. So Hubby wearily crawled back out of bed and went excavating. Sure enough he came up with one contented Siamese kitten, snugly wedged behind one of the drawers under our bed.

Back outside the he went. Until this afternoon when he was seen shivering in the chilly wind on our front porch and Hubby once again took pity on him and let him back into the house. He timidly scouted out the living room before settling in a corner behind my chair.

The future of our feline population is uncertain. Will our two renegades return? Will our little stray go back home? Is someone missing him as much as we miss Hammy and Magnet? Perhaps his original family has Hammy and we have this kitty. Did Someone send this little stray to comfort our family on the loss of the other kitties? One things is sure: Cats have their own opinions on where they should live. But I hope that ours are okay and decide to come home again.

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