Monday, October 18, 2021

The Infiltrator

Hector is slowly worming his way into the population of the Cosy Apartment. To watch him, you wouldn’t think there is anything subtle about him. Last night, however, I was at my desk and Hec came into the bedroom. He climbed the stairs to the bed and, as he does, stopped on the top step. I urged him to come forward; I thought he would cross the bed, walk across my desk and continue to the ledge under the window, as he has done before. Instead, he slowly settled himself next the pillow. Both Renn and Tucker were snoozing on the bed. Renn ignored the little Turk for a while, then left for the cat-tree. Tucker woke, stared at Hec a minute, then, with my encouragement, set his head down again and closed his eyes.

From now on, I think it will be just a matter of the perma-cats getting used to Hector. They know his behaviours; they are beginning to understand that his charges are attempts at play, rather than intimidation (which they may have been originally). This realisation doesn’t mean they approve of such actions, but they are growing accustomed to them. I think that will be the pattern in any home to which the new boy may go in the future. He would benefit greatly from a friend a year or two older than himself, a playmate, but also a slightly more mature mentor, to teach him what to do.

Until then, he will have to settle for learning from my lot what not to do.

Friday, October 15, 2021

The New Boy So Far

Hector is turning out to be a fun little guy. He’s very energetic and playful. Though I think his chasing of Neville is deplored sometimes by the latter, I don’t believe it is always unwelcome. I’ve watched them run and Neville’s is not always the hectic attempt to escape something dangerous. There may be an element of play in their interaction. Certainly when the Nevsky lies on the floor near the mouth of the nylon tunnel, in which little Turk is hiding, it is not a sign that the older fellow is demanding distance from the younger.

Hec’s soaking of the floors is abating a little. I am looking for the right tray or pan on which to place his water-bowl but, in the meantime, have noticed the newcomer’s splashing has diminished somewhat. That doesn’t mean he won’t get into trouble. He will go anywhere in search of the unknown. Actually, he will go anywhere in search of soft-food. If that takes him into the unknown, so be it.

He has had no difficulty becoming an indoor-cat. He has seen me at the door to the concrete ditch and has shown no desire to be outside. I am careful in opening doors around him, of course, but he seems happy to be inside. He is more curious of what lies beyond the door to the corridor outside the apartment but, then, that looks like a door to yet another, unexplored room of his new home, so different rules apply. But he is content to spend quiet times curled in the cylinder-house cat-tree, or lying stretched out on the heated towel in the library.

That doesn’t mean he is sedentary. He will decide to zoom through the rooms without warning, and seems especially to like starting suddenly from surfaces that shoot out from under him: a box lid, or a rug on smooth flooring.

He is an intelligent boy. He knows his new name, and the meanings of “dinner” and “snack”. He has learned quickly how to use the stairs by the bed; he also knows he’s not allowed on the kitchen counters, though this means little in practical terms…

He is most amenable to being picked up, and petted, and is partial to gentle head-rubs. He will grab my hand or fingers to bite them if annoyed with my actions but doesn’t follow through; it’s a protest, not an assault, and he responds immediately to an admonition of “uh-uh” if I feel he is too rough.

Hector is the most immediately-adoptable foster-cat I’ve had, I think, even more so than Xanadu, who was too much of a good thing, if you understand. (The X-man has settled very nicely in his new home and complements his feline siblings perfectly.) Hec is of course welcome to stay in the Cosy Apartment as long as he needs to, but with so many good qualities, it would be a shame not to see this youngster in a home with another playful cat or two, and a family of attentive and loving humans.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hector's Drinking Problem

I think I’ve discovered one of the reasons why any bowl from which Hector drinks water is emptied of its contents and, sometimes, pulled half-way across a room.

I watched this weekend while the little fellow went to a water-bowl to quench a thirst. A first, he drank from it as most animals do. Then he sat up and started pounding the water with a paw. Water flew everywhere; he also struck the edge of the bowl several times. After this, he licked his paw until, I assume, all the water was removed.

Certainly, some cats will drink by dipping a paw into the water and licking the moisture from their fur. Portia does that. But to soak a paw entirely by slapping the water is new to me. Perhaps it’s a remnant of Hector’s outsider-days, when he sometimes drank from puddles (if he did).

I will be buying a different bowl for the library, where Hec drinks - and spills - most of his water. I intend for a heavily-bottomed, broad and shallow bowl. This won’t prevent him from throwing water about, but should reduce the tipping and dragging that produces most of the fugitive liquid. After that, we’ll see what we can do about the splashing.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Thankful Again, Still

Today is Thanksgiving Day. As usual, I must point out – more as a reminder to myself than as anything else – that I should be grateful for what I have - and what I have avoided, in many cases – every day, and not just today. However, at certain times, we recognise the good fortune that we may have, and give thanks, or at least express relief, for it.

As in the past, I am happy for my continued health; it is surely not what it once was. Changes in my health (they are usually negative; I never am walking down the street and realise that I suddenly have the strength of ten men) have been those which come with age, I think, and so must be expected, even if regretted. My physical well-being is better than that of many of my years. If it is worse than others, that is my fault.

I am glad of employment, and I am glad of my home, the Cosy Apartment. It continues to provide warmth on cold days and security in times that are not as safe as they once were. I am pleased that I have money and food, and the expectation of their future supply. If they are not in the abundance that are offered in daydreams, they are enough for reality, which is not everyone’s case.

And I am grateful for my cats, and the opportunities I have to take care of them. They sleep unconcerned with hunger or fear; they take for granted their meal-times, their bowls of clean water and their comfy beds. That is how it should be. I am thankful for their companionship and friendship. If their behaviour causes me inconvenience from time to time, that is not a high price to pay for their presence.

May everyone have at least as much for which to be thankful. Simple peace of mind and contentment mean a great deal, and I hope these foundations of happiness are granted to everybody.

Friday, October 8, 2021


How Hector is fitting - or not - into the household is interesting, as are the other beasts’ reactions to him. He still chases Neville and Renn. Yet when Neville walks in his direction, Hec runs away. That he is trying to dominate a cat whom he fears a little is not surprising. What’s surprising is that the Nevsky hasn’t caught on to the fact that he can easily put the newcomer in his place.

Hector’s relationship with Portia intrigues me. I doubt that it will progress further, but it is at a decent position now. Round Po has learned that the library is everyone’s territory once more - or at least hers, too. I came home from work yesterday and couldn’t see Portia. She was in the library, on the heated towel that she used to enjoy before Hector arrived. She had gone in of her own volition, and had probably been snoozing comfortably there. While I was speaking with her, Hector jumped up on the couch inches rom her, and neither thought anything of it. At other times, they will exchange unpleasantries, though I am glad to see that it is Po who is dominant in that case.

I think that the novelty of charging after other cats will wear off of Hector, and he and the other boys will reach an accommodation. In the meantime, while Portia exhibits a few signs of stress at the disruption of her home-life, she too is coming to an arrangement with it. Just as it takes time for strangers to become acquaintances, so it takes time for their effects to be absorbed. The boys will grow accustomed to the new situation. As for Portia, my girl’s width shows that she has little trouble absorbing things.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Sun-worshipper

Everyone was still alive when I returned home from work yesterday. I don’t think the perma-cats liked Hector being out all day, but I doubt that he bothered them for the entire time, either. And the only way for everyone to get used to the new boy, and vice versa, is if they see him and interact with him. The experiment continues today.

In the meantime, the other beasts are probably feeling that too much time is being given to the newcomer. Therefore, allow me to show Portia when she was basking in the autumn sunshine this past weekend. The light is thinner now than it was, not as strong, but gentler. The sun is moving south, and it won’t be long until it doesn’t shine directly into the Cosy Apartment. My sun-worshipper was taking advantage of nature’s warmth while it lasts.

Monday, October 4, 2021

On the Loose

Hector is on the loose today in the Cosy Apartment. After almost two weeks with me, and a week of being allowed out of the library at night, Hec is at large, while I am at work. I don’t foresee too many problems. Renn doesn’t like him right now, and Hector charges at Neville, but I don’t think that will last.

I hear Hector at night, playing. I hear him knocking fuzzy mice about, and once a night, I hear the sound of something unidentifiable, always late at night, that wakes me. Not knowing what it is, I have to investigate. One night, it was a water-filled glass with spoons in it, knocked over in the kitchen sink. Then it was Tucker’s stool at his dining-table chair; the sound it makes when being pushed is a low, moaning, scraping noise.

My little night raider seems to do his best work in the dark, so maybe the day will be a quiet one, filled with sleeping cats. If I find no blood or bodies when I return from work, I will be satisfied.