Chapter 23, In Which I Greet the
New Century with . . . a new cat!
January 1, 2000
That's right. Another cat. Number 5. Another homeless
cat. I think "SUCKER" is now permanently tatooed on my
In the words of my niece, Amy, "Oh no, now you're a CAT LADY!"
I told you in the last chapter about Homer's daughter, the new
PMH mascot. Many love her, many want her for their own, but she
has remained feral. And people began to worry as the winter worsened
that this little cat needed more than a box on a loading dock as
Homer has also been lonely, making more and more trips up to the
hospital to play and visit. I was beginning to be the butt of many
jokes about being a bad mom. I wanted Homer to have company and
I felt sorry for the little kitten. Someone had been able to determine
that the kitten is female, and I agreed to take her in for neutering
if someone could catch her.
One evening in mid-December, I got a call about 11 p.m. saying
that the kitten had been captured and would I come get her? Of course.
So up to the hospital I go and bring back a very terrified feral
kitten. She wouldn't even come out of the carrier until Homer got
tired of waiting and went over and whacked her twice on top of the
In "The Shed," my Kingwood home, I have a mud room with
a dropped ceiling. Some of the ceiling tile is missing and the kitten
immediately found her way up into the ceiling and took up residence.
Days would pass and I wouldn't see her or hear her. Finally, she
started coming down some and I was occasionally able to hold and
pet her. Judging by the state of the bed, the sofa pillows, and
other household items, I would say she did come down and play with
Homer when I wasn't at home. And Homer quit going up to the hospital.
We worked on finding a city name for her, our peculiarity in naming
cats (Austin, Eugene, Ripley, Buckley, Beckley, Homer). After a
couple of false starts, we decided on Willow (as in Alaska, like
Homer). She is a beautiful, graceful, long-haired darling and the
name is perfect for her.
After two weeks of this hiding nonsense, Willow was out of the
ceiling one night and I found some old ceiling tile and sealed all
the access points. She had to start making the transition from feral
to tame. Slowly but surely.
Two days ago, I decided to spend the night at The Shed as it had
been nearly a week since I had and I thought I could work more on
socializing Willow. I played some with Willow but although she didn't
run too far when I tried to pick her up, she would crouch and hiss.
She was fine once I picked her up.
Homer and I went to bed, Willow went under the bed. About 1 am
I woke to a thundering herd, saw Homer was gone, so knew the stinkers
were downstairs playing. Suddenly the gallops headed up the stairs
and I expected to see Willow in full flight from Homer. Instead,
WILLOW is chasing Homer. Homer heads under the bed, Willow soars
onto the bed, then sees me and freaks. Homer finally gets tired
of waiting for her to come back, so he came back to bed.
Later I wake up with my toes being chomped on and am initially
outraged that Homer would display such boorish behavior. But Homer
is next to me on his pillows. Miss Willow is lying across my ankles,
biting my toes everytime I make the slightest movement. I laid still
and she went to sleep on my ankles. I am thrilled at this breakthrough.
The next morning, I go sit in the recliner to watch the weather
report and Homer as usual moves into my lap. A few minutes later,
Willow comes sashaying in, jumps up into my lap, too, and drapes
herself half over Homer. We sat there together for quite awhile
as they both got lots of rubs and kisses. A new wonderful cat family
for the new century!
Cats are such remarkable creatures.