Thursday, September 16, 2021

Hector's Vanishing Act

Certain incidents stand out in one’s memory. I recall the time that Tucker got into my sitting room’s fireplace, when it was cold and empty of wood but not of soot, and had to be bathed. Then there was the time when Renn managed to rummage through a closet and wrap a plastic bag around his neck; it terrified him and he ran through the house, with this rustling, flapping monster literally on his back - and an equally terrified Tucker running everywhere before him. Now, I can add Hector’s vanishing act to the list.

My new foster-cat went into the bathroom upon arrival at the Cosy Apartment, until I was sure that he would use the litter-box. He used it for number one almost immediately, but number two had yet to make an appearance by his first morning. That was not surprising. I left Hec alone in the bathroom while I was at work on Wednesday.

That afternoon I came home and went to the bathroom to tell my guest that I had returned. (Not that he is so enamoured of me yet that he would greet the news with enthusiasm…) I opened the bathroom door and couldn’t see him. He’s black, so he blends in with the shadows in the deep interior of the carrier, which he lies in. But he wasn’t there. Nor was he behind the toilet, where new cats sometimes hide. The litter-box and the bathtub were similarly unpopulated. My bathroom is a tiny one, as bathrooms go, so the options for hiding are limited.

Hector had tried during the night to get into the cupboard under the basin, so I had barred the way by using a rubber-band on the door-knobs, double-twisted for strength, and to keep the length short. Surely, he couldn’t have found his way into the cupboard. He had.

My latest acquisition was tucked at the back, lying on rolls of toilet paper. He had obviously pulled the now-elasticised doors open enough to squeeze into the cupboard, but had been unable to get out again. Goodness knows how long he had been in there.

The trouble was that after he was released, Hec wanted to go back in and, in fact, managed to prise his way in again after I had triple-twisted the rubber band. He needed a hiding place. Though he had yet to leave a solid deposit in the litter-box, I didn’t think that would be a problem (and, frankly, that is usually easier to clean up - and less permanently soiling - than urine), so I moved him into the library yesterday evening.

He spent the rest of the night hiding behind a bookcase, which is what he needed. He ate some food during the night, and this morning, came out for some pets and to discover that he now has a window, before retreating into his corner once more when I left for work.

I am not worried about Hector’s progress. He saw the other cats, and growled at Portia, who seems the most interested in him. He will meet them as he wishes. I am concerned about Portia, however, since the library was her favourite room, and she expressed the wish - demanded - to go in there numerous times during the evening. It is also the room in which we spent time together, with her on my lap. I have not been able to replicate that elsewhere, either now or priorly. I have placed another box on the floor for her enjoyment, and she has used it, but that is a poor substitute for a whole room, with a view. I will try to spend extra time with her, but Po is not always an easy cat to please. The sooner Hec acclimates to his new home, the sooner the library will be available for everyone (ie. Portia will be able to take it over again).

While a smooth and swift integration may not be in the offing, things are progressing with Hector. I don’t believe he will have any difficulty in socialising with humans and, once he realises that all cats aren’t like the territorial outsiders he is used to, life at the Cosy Apartment will adjust to its new routine.


  1. OH my goodness..that would have scared me to death not finding him. Who would have thought he would defeat the rubber bands! Portia, I am wondering about you and how you will do when Hector comes out.

  2. Never underestimate a cat's ability to get into--if not necessarily back out of--pretty much anything.

  3. Hector is very creative in his getting in there, that takes lots of thought and talent!

  4. He's too clever by half. That would have almost given me heart failure. I hope you have no problem with finding him from here on in.

  5. Cats are the smartest ever, but I bet Hector didn't plan for the doors
    to stay locked behind him. At least he had toilet paper if he went

  6. That must have been so worrying, but I am glad you soon found him. I remember the first time Flynn went missing. They had access to the garden and I thought he must have found a way out. We eventually found him under the duvet. He was curled up so close to the pillows that there was no unusual lump visible in the bed. Panic over!

  7. Whoever coined the phrase "dumb animals" obviously didn't know Hector. He's one smart kitty.

  8. It showed you something about Hector that when he was stuck in the cabinet he didn't freak out, just went to sleep on the available soft surface. Did he do a bit of shredding of the TP ?

  9. What a clever fella, needing his unique hidey hole! Hope it all will work out in the near future.

    Portia must think she is being usurped!

  10. HeHe! Hector..Pay attention...

    The name Hector, meaning to bully, is derived
    from a seventeenth-century London juvenile gang
    known as the Hectors...
    During the seventeenth century, several youth
    gangs terrorized the citizenry of London...
    They damaged property and assaulted watchmen
    and innocent bystanders, and brawled among
    Never mind Hector...
    Hector, is also a Greek legend, the eldest son
    of the Trojan king, Priam and his queen Hecuba...
    He is an especial favourite of Apollo, and later
    poets even described him as son of that god...! :)
    (Good old Google)..

  11. Yes, I would have freaked out especially since it's such a small space. My new cat Chloe was kept in our spare bedroom for a week before meeting the others. Couldn't find her one morning. I checked everywhere. She had squeezed under the dresser that had about three inches for clearance. Needless to say, after adding more gray hair to my head, that dresser entrance was blocked off.

  12. I remember that Timmy would open every door there was and then Rumpy would explore looking for cat food or treats and rip bags open with his razor claws. He was like The Wolverine. I ended up using thin nylon cord as it does not stretch. Hector will relax once he knows the looking over the shoulder is a thing of the past. We do think he will fit well and then be ready for a bright future

  13. Oh my Hector what a character you are going to be!

  14. Wow, that's like Houdini-style hiding, Hector!

  15. What a stinker! I'm sure you were quite puzzled by his disappearance. It's amazing the spaces that kittens (and cats) can get into.