Social or unsocial creatures?

Just a quickie, today.

Does your cat like having “strangers” in the house? By strangers, I mean real strangers, but also family and friends. Yeah, I know… but every cat owner should know it can be the (sad?) truth.

I had the ones who loved to have people in the house, who jumped onto their laps or rubbed against them – most of the time, the less the person liked cats, the friendlier they got. And I had the ones who went into hiding as soon as they heard a strange voice and couldn’t be found for the duration of the “invasion”.

Now, I have one who doesn’t mind having people in the house too much as long as they aren’t too noisy or rambunctious. He doesn’t mind being petted but I can see he would prefer being invisible. The other one hides in my room, preferably under the bed where she curls up on top of an Ikea pet – er, I mean clothes – organizer.

Easter is coming… a new game of hide and seek is about to begin! 😉

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Un post court, pour une fois.

Est-ce que vos chats aiment la prĂ©sence d’Ă©trangers dans la maison? Et par Ă©trangers, je prends le terme au sens le plus large possible… incluant les vrais Ă©trangers aussi bien que la famille et les amis. Je sais, je sais… mais quiconque a un chat sait que c’est la (triste?) vĂ©ritĂ©.

J’en ai eu qui aimaient avoir de la visite, sautaient sur les genoux des gens et se frottaient Ă  eux – moins la personne aimait les chats, plus ils Ă©taient affectueux. Et j’en ai eu qui partaient se cacher dĂšs qu’ils entendaient une voix et restaient introuvables tout le temps de l'”invasion”.

Aujourd’hui, j’en ai un que ça n’embĂȘte pas trop aussi longtemps que nos visiteurs ne sont ni trop bruyants ni trop remuants. Ça ne l’ennuie pas trop non plus qu’ils le caressent, mais je vois bien qu’il prĂ©fĂ©rerait ĂȘtre invisible. Quant Ă  l’autre, elle se cache dans ma chambre, de prĂ©fĂ©rence sous le lit, et elle y reste, roulĂ©e en boule sur un organiseur de chat – euh, je veux dire de vĂȘtements – Ikea.

PĂąques arrive… une nouvelle partie de cache-cache va commencer. 😉

© AnneT

About a Ginger Kitty

I tried to keep my distance until I knew for certain that you weren’t microchipped… but who was I kidding? (April 2013)

Part 3

The first stop we made with the kitten was at my sister’s (sister #2). My whole family was there – my parents, my three sisters, their five kids and hubbies. It was noisy as hell – overwhelming to a kitten’s ears after so much time outside, I’m sure. No wonder he went so quiet. He made no sound.

But he didn’t have to – the both of us caught everyone’s attention as soon as I walked in. I guess I’d forgotten to tell anyone (anyone but the two sisters who were with me – #2 was my… er… accomplice, but #1 preferred to remain neutral) I wanted to go and see if I could find the ginger kitten. Oh, well… They were all looking from me to my father and from my father to me. He was giving me the look.

(Oh, come on… I know, I’m an adult, but how many of you can say they aren’t affected when one of their parents give them the look? And no lies… LOL)

Let me explain. My father does like cats, so I guess I should have told him (and my mother) what I’d planned to do. I’d have to take the little one to their home next, after all. And my parents knew, and I knew as well, that it wasn’t the best of time to adopt a kitten. Two weeks from then I was supposed to go to London with them to visit the place where my sister (#3) would get married. And the wedding was supposed to take place two months later, in April. I’d been supposed to wait after the wedding to adopt a cat or a kitten from a shelter…

But Fate – or God – had decided otherwise.

Still, against all odds, I had found the little ginger and I wasn’t taking him back to the farm. No way. I would make it work. My sisters had feared some outburst; there was none. I knew there wouldn’t be any. I guess I know our father better than they do. lol

He knows me well too since he told me he knew why I had brought back the little one – he looked a lot like the cat I had had before.

I had to surrender the kitten to my two eleven years old nieces (they are cousins who were born the same year, six weeks apart). They just couldn’t resist so much cuteness and couldn’t wait to play with him. Poor thing! He was still very quiet and still – he wasn’t even moving a whisker – as each, in turn, they took him onto their lap.

He was given food (thank God my sister had a cat – er… hold on, if she hadn’t, she’d have adopted the ginger kitten since her youngest daughter wanted it so, and I wouldn’t be telling his story) and water.

My youngest sister, sister #3, tried to make me feel guilty, saying I might be stealing someone’s kitten. And would I be happy if someone stole my kitten? Of course not! But then, the kitten had been on the farm for two weeks at the least and no one had come for him. I know that if I had lost my cat/kitten, I would have been searching for it everywhere – a kitten can’t wander that far on its own, can it? Still, I knew I wouldn’t find any peace of mind before I had him checked for a microchip. Or before I had checked all the lost pet sites …

When the time came to say goodbye to my sister (#2) and her family, her youngest daughter, the one who had been on the first pictures I had gotten of the kitten, started crying. I think she had thought the kitten would stay with her. She offered me to take her cat (a calico female) instead. It’s not so easy to explain to a three years old that, yes, you brought the kitten she had been wanting for herself to her home but, no, he was never meant to stay there with her. To tell her that while she did have a cat already who deserved all her love, I didn’t have one anymore. That as much as I loved her cat (she was a sweet girl), she wasn’t mine and would never be, whereas the kitten was now (or so I hoped!).

I took the ginger kitten with me. But as much as I was happy to know he would be warm and fed that night, deep down, I was afraid someone had a claim on him, and I knew the next couple of days wouldn’t be as happy as I had hoped they would be…

PS: When I started writing this story, I had no idea it would make three blog posts… and I’m not even done yet.

J’ai essayĂ© de garder mes distances jusqu’Ă  ce que je sois sĂ»re que tu n’Ă©tais pas pucĂ©… (Avril 2013)

3Ăšme Partie

Premier arrĂȘt: l’appartement de ma sƓur. Toute la famille Ă©tait rĂ©unie – mes parents, mes trois sƓurs, leurs cinq enfants et leurs maris. Je suis sĂ»re que c’Ă©tait terriblement bruyant, surtout pour un chaton qui avait vĂ©cu dehors pendant si longtemps. Il n’Ă©mettait plus un son, il ne faisait plus un mouvement.

Mais le rĂ©sultat Ă©tait le mĂȘme – nous avions captĂ© l’attention de tous Ă  peine franchi le seuil. Je suppose que j’avais oubliĂ© de dire Ă  quiconque (sauf Ă  mes deux sƓurs qui Ă©taient avec moi – #2 qui Ă©tait… euh… ma complice, et #1 qui prĂ©fĂ©rait rester neutre) mon intention d’aller Ă  la recherche du chaton. Oups… Ils me regardaient, puis regardaient mon pĂšre, et inversement. Et lui, il avait ce regard…

(Oh, allez… qui peut dire, sans mentir, que cela ne l’affecte plus quand un de ses parents le regarde ainsi?)

Ne vous mĂ©prenez pas. Mon pĂšre aime les chats, alors j’aurais dĂ» lui dire (et Ă  ma mĂšre aussi) ce que j’avais prĂ©vu de faire. AprĂšs tout, mon prochain arrĂȘt avec le chaton, ce serait chez eux. Et mes parents savaient, tout comme moi, que ce n’Ă©tait pas le meilleur moment pour adopter un chaton. J’Ă©tais censĂ© aller Ă  Londres deux semaines plus tard avec eux, pour visiter l’endroit oĂč ma sƓur (#3) devait se marier. Et ledit mariage aurait lieu en Avril, soit deux mois plus tard. J’Ă©tais supposĂ© attendre que ce soit passĂ© pour adopter un chaton ou un chat dans un refuge.

Mais le Destin – ou Dieu – en avait dĂ©cidĂ© autrement.

Contre toute attente, j’avais pu trouver le chaton et je n’avais pas l’intention de le ramener Ă  la ferme. Pas question. Je prendrais soin du petit et je respecterais mes engagements. Mes sƓurs avaient craint une tempĂȘte; je savais qu’il n’y en aurait pas. Il faut croire que je connais notre pĂšre mieux qu’elle. lol

Lui aussi me connait bien, parce qu’il s’est contentĂ© de dire qu’il savait pourquoi j’avais craquĂ© pour le petit rouquin – il ressemblait beaucoup au chat que j’avais perdu quelques annĂ©es plus tĂŽt.

J’ai dĂ» laisser mes deux niĂšces de onze ans (elles sont cousines, nĂ©es Ă  six semaines d’intervalle) prendre le chaton. Elles ne tenaient plus – elles avaient envie de jouer avec lui. Le pauvre! Il Ă©tait toujours aussi silencieux et calme – il ne remuait pas mĂȘme une moustache alors qu’elles le prenaient sur leurs genoux Ă  tour de rĂŽle.

Elle lui ont donnĂ© Ă  manger (Dieu merci, ma sƓur avait un chat – euh, en fait, si elle n’en avait pas eu dĂ©jĂ  un, elle aurait sans doute adoptĂ© le chaton elle-mĂȘme, et je ne serais pas en train de raconter son histoire) et Ă  boire.

Pendant ce temps, ma plus jeune sƓur, la numĂ©ro 3, essayait de me culpabiliser, disant que je volais peut-ĂȘtre le chaton de quelqu’un. Serais-je contente qu’on me vole mon chaton? Bien sĂ»r que non! Mais ça faisait au moins deux semaines que le petit Ă©tait Ă  la ferme, et personne n’Ă©tait venu le chercher. Je sais que si mon chat / chaton disparaissait, je me lancerais Ă  sa recherche, je remuerais ciel et terre – et un chaton, ça ne peut pas aller bien loin par ses propres moyens, non? Pourtant, le doute s’Ă©tait insinuĂ© dans mon esprit et je savais que je ne trouverais pas la paix avant de l’avoir emmenĂ© chez le vĂ©tĂ©rinaire pour vĂ©rifier s’il Ă©tait pucĂ©. Avant d’avoir Ă©tĂ© voir sur tous les sites d’animaux perdus.

Quand le moment est venu de dire au revoir Ă  ma sƓur (n°2) et Ă  sa famille, sa plus jeune fille, celle qui Ă©tait avec le chaton sur les premiĂšres photos que j’avais reçues, s’est mise Ă  pleurer. Je crois qu’elle avait pensĂ© que le chaton allait rester chez elle. Elle m’a offert de prendre sa chatte tricolore Ă  la place. Ce n’est pas facile d’expliquer Ă  une petite fille de trois ans que, oui, j’avais amenĂ© le chaton qu’elle voulait chez elle mais, non, il n’avait jamais Ă©tĂ© question qu’il y reste. Qu’elle avait dĂ©jĂ  un chat qui mĂ©ritait tout son amour, alors que moi je n’en avais plus. Que mĂȘme si j’aimais beaucoup son chat, elle n’Ă©tait pas Ă  moi, alors que ce petit l’Ă©tait, maintenant (ou du moins l’espĂ©rais-je).

J’ai emmenĂ© le chaton roux. Mais aussi heureuse que je puisse ĂȘtre Ă  l’idĂ©e qu’il aurait chaud et qu’il serait bien nourri ce soir-lĂ , l’idĂ©e que quelqu’un puisse avoir des droits sur lui allait me rendre les deux jours suivants bien difficiles…

PS: Quand j’ai commencĂ© Ă  Ă©crire cette histoire, je n’aurais jamais pensĂ© y consacrer trois posts… et elle n’est mĂȘme pas encore tout Ă  fait terminĂ©e!

© AnneT

Cat Lady’s humor

I got myself a night shirt that says: “boys whatever, cats forever”. I almost laughed out loud when I found it in the store; it was on sale, so I bought it. It’s so clichĂ©! 😉

Je me suis achetĂ© un t-shirt qui dit: “Peu importe les mecs. Les chats pour toujours”. J’ai failli Ă©clater de rire quand je l’ai trouvĂ©; il Ă©tait en solde, alors je l’ai achetĂ©. Tellement clichĂ©! 😉

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A Ginger in my Arms

I’ll always remember the first time I saw you, the way you looked when I first laid my eyes on you… Forever, for as long as I live – and in the afterlife if there is one. I’ll remember. Always. (March 2013)

Part 2

I was anxious – what if he didn’t show up? I knew there wouldn’t be a second chance. I don’t mean to be cliched, but it was now or never…

I turned around and saw a ginger kitten slowly walking to us. I know I will always remember that first sight of him, the image is imprinted in my memory forever. Big amber eyes, ears slightly too big, short legs and all…

I was the first to see him, but I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to scare him away. I didn’t want to pick him up and hold him in my arms if someone had already claimed him as theirs… I asked my sister (#2) if he was the kitten we were there to find – even though I already knew the answer. I still couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to see him coming towards us like that. He could have hidden in a corner – there were so many hiding places… (Yeah, I admit I had imagined it would be hard to find him.)

My sister (#2) was talking with a couple – her husband’s cousins, whose daughter had found the kitten. She went to pick him up and he never tried to run away – it was obvious he wasn’t born on the farm. I still didn’t dare touch him. You may think it’s silly, but my mind was buzzing and my heart was running wild – I’m sure you’ve already experienced that. I would remember it all, but as I was going through it, everything seemed very confused.

My sister held the cat out to me. I knew they took my stillness and quietness for hesitation. But it wasn’t. I had already made my choice. I already knew that if he was still unclaimed, I would take him home with me. I remember praying the day before: “God, if You bring him to me, I’ll know that You want me to give him a forever home and take care of him.”

The couple knew I was there for the kitten – my sister had told them, of course. They would have adopted him but for their cat. He was mine if I wanted to.

If I wanted to? Of course I did! I wasn’t there to take a look and see if he was cute or anything. In my heart and in my mind, the decision had already been made days before. Nothing would have made me change my mind. Neither fleas nor worms nor… anything.

I took the ginger kitten in my arms, oblivious of his muddy paws that were leaving stains on my off-white coat. He was purring loudly, his eyes almost all pupils, but he was bravely keeping still. I could have sworn he knew, instinctively, that his future was at stake. I could feel how much he was scared, but obviously he also longed for a warm place where he would be fed and petted and loved.

All the things that had probably been taken away from him about two weeks before, when “his” humans had decided to get rid of him on the farm.

But the farm wasn’t right for him, not if anyone living there could take him home. It was some kind of miracle he was still alive – what with being so young and on his own, the cold and the unfriendly surroundings. He was far too cuddly and used to human beings to make himself at home with the feral cats. He had come as soon as he had heard us calling because he wanted to find someone who would take care of him.

I remember asking him again and again, in a whisper, if he wanted to come with me. I know… duh…

We had taken a pet carrier with us for that purpose. When my sister opened the trunk of her car, the kitten panicked and one flaying paw left a scratch on my throat. But I held him firmly and petted him, whispering softly in his ears.

He was coming home with me.

Je me souviendrai toujours de la premiĂšre fois oĂč je t’ai vu, de ce dont tu avais l’air quand j’ai posĂ© les yeux sur toi pour la premiĂšre fois… Pour toujours, pour aussi longtemps que je vivrai – et dans l’Autre Monde s’il existe. Je me souviendrai. Toujours. (Mars 2013)

2Ăšme Partie

J’Ă©tais anxieuse – et s’il ne se montrait pas? Je savais qu’il n’y aurait pas de deuxiĂšme chance. Sans vouloir ĂȘtre clichĂ©e, c’Ă©tait maintenant ou jamais.

Je me suis retournĂ©e et j’ai vu ce chaton roux marcher lentement vers nous. Je sais que je me souviendrai toujours de cette premiĂšre image, comme si mon cerveau en avait pris un instantanĂ© qui restera gravĂ© dans ma mĂ©moire Ă  jamais. De grands yeux d’ambre, des oreilles un peu trop grandes, des pattes courtes, et tout et tout…

Je l’ai vu la premiĂšre, mais je ne pouvais pas bouger. J’ai eu peur de le faire fuir. J’ai eu peur de le prendre dans mes bras si quelqu’un d’autre l’avait dĂ©jĂ  adoptĂ©… J’ai demandĂ© Ă  ma sƓur s’il s’agissait bien du chaton pour lequel nous Ă©tions lĂ  – mĂȘme si je le savais dĂ©jĂ . J’avais du mal Ă  croire Ă  ma chance: il Ă©tait lĂ , il venait vers nous. Il y avait tellement de coins et de recoins Ă  la ferme oĂč il aurait pu se cacher… (Je l’avoue, j’avais pensĂ© que j’aurais du mal Ă  le trouver.)

Ma sƓur parlait avec un couple – les cousins de son mari, dont la fille avait trouvĂ© le chaton. Elle est allĂ© le prendre et il s’est laissĂ© faire – il Ă©tait Ă©vident qu’il n’Ă©tait pas un des bĂ©bĂ©s chats sauvages nĂ©s Ă  la ferme. Mais je ne pouvais pas le toucher. C’est idiot, mais j’avais la tĂȘte en vrac et mon cƓur s’emballait – je suis sĂ»re que vous avez dĂ©jĂ  ressenti ça. Je me souviendrais de tout, mais sur le moment, tout Ă©tait confus.

Ma sƓur m’a tendu le chaton. Je sais que mes sƓurs prenaient mon manque de rĂ©action et mon silence pour de l’hĂ©sitation. Mais ça n’en Ă©tait pas. J’avais fait mon choix. Je savais que s’il Ă©tait toujours Ă  adopter, je l’emmĂšnerais chez moi. Je me souviens que la veille, j’avais priĂ©: “Dieu, si Tu le conduis Ă  moi, je prendrai ça pour un signe et je lui donnerai un foyer et prendrai soin de lui.”

Le couple savait pourquoi j’Ă©tais lĂ  – ma sƓur le leur avait dit. Ils auraient bien adoptĂ© le chaton eux-mĂȘmes, mais leur chat ne l’aurait pas acceptĂ©. Si je le voulais, il Ă©tait Ă  moi.

Bien sĂ»r que je le voulais! Je n’Ă©tais pas venu pour voir s’il me plaisait. Dans mon cƓur et dans ma tĂȘte, j’avais dĂ©jĂ  pris ma dĂ©cision des jours plus tĂŽt. Rien n’aurait pu me faire changer d’avis. Pas mĂȘme des puces ou des vers… rien.

J’ai pris le chaton dans mes bras, sans payer la moindre attention Ă  ses pattes boueuses qui laissaient des taches sur ma doudoune Ă©crue. Il ronronnait trĂšs fort et ses yeux Ă©taient sombres, mais il se montrait brave et restait calme en apparence. Je sentais bien qu’il avait peur, mais d’un autre cĂŽtĂ©, son instinct devait lui souffler que son avenir se jouait et il avait envie d’ĂȘtre au chaud, au sec et en sĂ©curitĂ©, dans un endroit oĂč il serait nourri, caressĂ© et aimĂ©.

Toutes ces choses qui lui avaient Ă©tĂ© volĂ©es deux semaines plus tĂŽt quand “ses” humains avaient dĂ©cidĂ© de l’abandonner Ă  la ferme.

Mais il n’y avait pas sa place, si aucun des humain vivant lĂ  ne pouvait lui offrir un foyer. C’Ă©tait une sorte de miracle qu’il soit toujours en vie – il Ă©tait si jeune et livrĂ© Ă  lui-mĂȘme, il faisait tellement froid et l’environnement Ă©tait hostile. Il Ă©tait trop doux et gentil, trop sociable pour se faire une place parmi les chats sauvages. S’il avait immĂ©diatement rĂ©pondu Ă  nos appels, c’Ă©tait parce qu’il voulait trouver l’humain – ou l’humaine – qui s’occuperait de lui.

Nous avions pris une cage de transport – au cas oĂč. Quand ma sƓur a ouvert le coffre, le chaton a miaulĂ© pour la premiĂšre fois et s’est dĂ©battu un peu, me griffant Ă  la gorge. Je l’ai tenu plus fermement et je l’ai caressĂ©, tout en lui murmurant des paroles rassurantes.

Il rentrait Ă  la maison avec moi.

© AnneT