Monday, February 6, 2017

one wish

We have a cat here named Toby;  he's about  7.  He came to us 5 years ago, with his bonded buddy Sammy.   After Sammy disappeared Toby made tentative friends with  our remaining cats but has always been numbingly frightened of humans, of hands raised (oh my god he's gonna throw something at me), or sudden moves.   When you entered a room, he would hurl himself out the door to escape. When he needed to go out or pass through the room you were in he would whiz through like greased lightning.

Since Charlie came, two years ago, Toby has settled down. he accepts us as tolerable, which means if we enter a room, he opens one eye to make sure we aren't carrying anything, and then more or less goes to sleep. He no longer gives us that deer-in-the-headlights stare.  Charlie has colonized the bed and that seems to have given Toby permission to do the same.  Sometimes he will actually brave the fact of Sleeping Humans to sleep there; we pretend not to notice.  Or move.

When I brush Charlie, now, Toby will show up too, not so much to be brushed, but for a very fleeting scratch between his shoulder blades.   Slowly, slowly, he's being assimilated.

But I have one wish, before one of us dies,  and that is to have him jump up into my lap, turn around a few times, and curl up for a nap. Not planning on it, you understand. Just somewhere near the top of my bucket list.


  1. Such a compliment when a cat learns to trust that at least this human is a safe person.

    1. and it makes you wonder just what the previous owners did to these two cats, Sammy and Toby, to render them so terrified.

      All the shelter people would say was, "they were brought back" (!) " because it wasn't a good match"...someone Im guessing wanted instant loving kitties and what they got was terrified kitties.
      And yes it's always an incredible compliment anytime a cat accepts you, on any terms.

  2. Oh, poor baby. It sounds like he had a tough beginning before you got him. I don't think any cat is 100% trusting like dogs. They are too smart and their cautiousness is part of wanting to survive.

    1. He and his bonded buddy Sammy both suffered in some way, and the first time I tried to throw a little play toy for them they scattered. aha. Someone had been throwing things at them. Even now if you raise your hand to him he disappears. Breaks my heart, it does.
      Cats will trust to the extent of their capability, and like humans, all of them take damage differently.

      Some recognize that this person is not that person, and act accordingly. Some never quite get over the original abuse, sadly. And I won't force anything on him.

      Do wish I could get him to the vet, but that might just undo all the ribbons, for sure. =)

  3. our little grey kitty was part of a litter that was abandoned by their mom, so Mama Kitty ended up raising them along with her own kittens. the two of them became inseparable, so it made sense to keep them together when the little one came to live with us. Mama was much like your Toby for he first year and a half. she came from his parents' place, so i know there was no question of mistreatment, but she just did not like or trust us... but mostly me. if i even looked her way, she would freak out, leap into the air in this extremely startled fashion, then go screeching out of the room. i think i was allowed to get close enough to pet her maybe two or three times in more than a year. she would sometimes fall asleep on the arm of my sofa, but if i got too close or looked like i was considering touching her, she'd take off again. i pretty much wrote off any prospect of a relationship with this cat, and she seemed to have done the same where i was concerned.

    then the strangest thing happened. we moved to our new place, and she because a whole different cat. within less than a week of being here, she was following me around, spending most of the day napping on the bed, even offering up her belly for rubbing, stuff that never happened in the old place. and it just keeps getting better. she hangs out on the bed with me before i fall asleep some nights, even engaging in "spooning" activity, and she is often the first one to come running when i wake up in the morning, though i suspect that is just to complain that i am taking too long to open a can of food. given the total shift in behavior, i am left to conclude that my old place was haunted by some spirit that was visible only to her.

    i understand the bucket list item. it was really sweet the first time Mama fell asleep in my lap. she woke up, and looked totally shocked to realize where she was. she is still a bit hesitant about that part of things, but she doesn't mind if i pick her up and put her on my lap. i take whatever love i can get from my girls.

    as for the little one, she took one look at me that first day and decided that i was her personal happy-place. i have gotten used to sleeping with a cat atop my chest (or, occasionally, my head), and i am no longer lonely when using the bathroom. i would not trade them for anything in the world.

  4. that is a wonderful, successful, story. I learned long ago not to push, they either will or won't, and it's always, always, up to them.

    I've always had good luck with getting cats to do what they want to do, some just take longer to get there. One of our cats spent the first two months here in our chilly dirt cellar, strategically placed so no one could get near her. I left food for her at the foot of the cellar stairs. over a period of weeks she learned to eat at the top of the stairs, but not come in.

    She finally progressed to the 'look but don't touch me' stage, but it took months before she'd allow us patting privileges.

    It's always a treat when they finally trust, isn't it...