Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Susan and I seem to have a new cat. We didn't choose him; he chose us. He started hanging around about four weeks ago and insisted on sitting on Susan's lap every time she sat on the bench on the front porch. After a week or so, the weather got really horrible (constant huge rainstorms for weeks), so she opened our garage door about six inches to give him the option of coming in out of the storm. She also gave him some food at that time, and she says that he ate as if he hadn't had any food in weeks. As far as we can tell, he has never voluntarily left our property in the three weeks since then. He only seems to leave the garage for bathroom purposes and to sit on Susan's lap whenever she's on the front porch bench. He appears to spend every single moment of every single day day sleeping on the cat bed we provided for him in the garage, other than when we let him in the house (which requires very close supervision right now, partly because Boston wants to eat him, and partly because he wants to use the fireplace as a litterbox).

We put a collar on him a week ago, and I named him Spider. Susan has been telling people we named him that because he's been hanging out in the garage, which is full of spiders, but do not believe her for one moment, because I am the one who suggested the name, and the real reason I named him Spider is to match Stardust's name, because of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

I gave Spider a Frontline treatment last weekend, although as far as we could tell, he didn't seem to have any fleas. Susan thinks that whoever owned him before has moved away and abandoned him, because that is apparently common in this neighborhood. Anyway, no one has removed the collar that we put on him, so today Susan took him to the vet. The vet checked him for a microchip and did not find one, so we figure he's now officially ours. The vet also verified that Spider does not have FIV or feline leukemia virus or any other evident illnesses. (I had been a bit concerned about his health, because he so rarely leaves his cat bed. He is a young cat and has not yet been neutered - he has an appointment for that a month from now - so it is a little odd for him not to wander the neighborhood.) The vet estimates that he is about one year old, and recommends that we let him be an indoor-outdoor kitty, because he is a bit old at this point to adjust well to being indoor-only. It would probably be inevitable anyway that he would go outdoors, because we have a pet door for the dogs to go out through, and there's no way to stop Spider from also using it if he chooses to. (Stardust is strictly indoor-only, but that's because I trained her to it from the time she was a tiny kitten, and now she's absolutely terrified of the outdoors and howls like she's being murdered if I try to take her out there.)

The vet laughed at Susan for bringing Spider in a bright pink cat carrier that I bought for Stardust, because the bright pink cat carrier is very not Spider's style and also very not Susan's style either. It is clear that our cats are going to be quite gender-stereotypical, with all of Stardust's possessions being fit for a drag queen and all of Spider's possessions needing to be more butch. I think this is acceptable, however, due to the fact that our male dog (Ganymede) is nowhere near as butch as our female dog (Boston). The reason I take so many more pictures of Boston in the garden than of Ganymede is that Boston always follows me into the garden, because she likes to play in the mud and catch weeds in her mouth when I throw them for her. Ganymede, on the other hand, could not catch anything whatsoever even if his life depended on it, and he doesn't like to go in the yard because the yard is muddy and mud is icky and he doesn't want to get any of it on his toes.

Anyway, Spider is extremely friendly and wants to sit on our laps at all times. This is very unlike Stardust, who never wants to sit on anyone's lap and won't even let Susan pet her or touch her at all - despite immense effort on Susan's part to win Stardust's heart through bribery and hand-feeding of lawn grass, which is the only type of food Stardust shows any real excitement about. It is good that Susan will finally have a cat who shows affection for her instead of total disdain, and it is good that both of us will have a cat who is not autistic or a paranoid schizophrenic. (Stardust is definitely at least one of those things and quite possibly both. She is a totally adorable kitty and can be very affectionate with me in her own way, but no one could ever accuse her of being socially or psychologically well-adjusted.)

Spider is smaller than Stardust, and whereas Stardust makes extremely high-pitched squeaks rather than proper meows, Spider makes sort of hoarse meows that are lower-pitched than those of most cats. Neither one of them sounds like a normal cat, although I suppose Spider sounds a little closer to a normal cat than Stardust does. Stardust's initial reaction to Spider was to hiss and growl, while Spider made no response, but now they have made enough progress that they can coexist peacefully on opposite sides of the same room. They have never come right up to each other yet, but Stardust watched Spider climb halfway up her cat tree, and she allowed this and did not growl or hiss to warn him away from it.

Boston, as I mentioned earlier, is still acting like she thinks Spider is food. We have to restrain her anytime Spider moves. But Boston will get over this eventually; she got over it with Stardust. Ganymede does not have much hunting instinct compared to Boston, so he doesn't need to be restrained so firmly; he mostly just needs us to tell him to back off occasionally if he gets too close to Spider.

Tags: susan
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