I recently wrote a post about how so many things that were supposed to happen a certain way over the past six months haven't panned out as expected. And now I've got another entry in the "supposed to...instead..." ledger - one that warrants its own post.
We were not supposed to get a new cat this year. We have four - two different sibling pairs - and, even though my husband and I have pinkie-sworn with each other that we'll always have cats, I was very content with that.
But fast forward to the end of June when this little guy showed up on our back deck one day - and didn't leave!
After a couple of weeks - yes, we waited that long, assuming he'd eventually "go home" - we finally let him come into the house one day...and he promptly made himself at home.
Thankfully, he eventually returned and didn't look terribly beat up. But I determined right then that I'd convert him to indoor-only life for his own good. However, though he was as sweet as ever with us and still friendly with our cats, he began trying to mark his territory all over the house! He hadn't even hinted at that prior to the brawl with the other outdoor cat, so I surmised he might be trying to tell the other cat that our place was his territory.
I sympathized with his defensiveness, but couldn't tolerate spraying. So out on the deck he went again, and I tried a couple of times a day to bring him in to see if the spraying urge was only temporary. Unfortunately, it became clear that we couldn't trust him not to mark...but neither could I stand the thought of him living alone on our deck.
I did some asking around and found some friends-of-a-friend who could take Pawl. They live in the country about 30 minutes from here, so Pawl would remain an outdoor cat - but these new friends have about 10 other kitties and purpose to love them all very well. So I drove Pawlie out there at the end of July, and he has proceeded to adjust exceptionally well in short order.
But this is 2020, so we should have known better!
Once Pawl left, we noticed a young gray tomcat hanging around - in our neighbor's yard, though he wasn't theirs, and in our driveway. We figured he was probably the one with whom Pawl had had his tussle, and I was miffed at the little guy - cute as he was - because it was "his fault" that I'd had to surrender Pawlie. I determined that we'd shoo him away and hope he'd go away completely.
Of course, you can probably see where this is headed. By the end of August, he'd jumped the fence into our yard and managed to wheedle his way into Jeff's heart. In fact, Jeff took this picture one recent night when he (as has been his custom through much of this summer) was sleeping in a hammock in our yard.
On September 2, Jeff snuck him some cut-up hot dogs. I didn't know that so, when he and Rachel were on a bike ride, I put out some soft cat food for him. Jeff laughed at me...until Rachel snitched about the hot dogs.
We then let him inside for several hours on September 3, and, despite the fact that they'd only seen him through the patio door for a few days, our cats were surprisingly chill. Two have been rather tentative and one - our lone ranger - has growled at him. But Prince - the one who also loved Pawl right away - has already taken to licking his head, and not one among the five has gotten aggressive.
And he hasn't sprayed! In fact, though I wasn't sure at first if he'd use a litter box - he seemed afraid of it that first day - he's been a perfect gentleman in regards to his bathroom habits.
We let him out at night on the third because we weren't sure if all the cats could handle him being in overnight. But I let him in again on the morning of September 4 - I felt so bad for him because it was so windy that day! - and he's been in - happily and at peace with all the other cats - ever since.
So...we were not supposed to get another cat this year. But then we were supposed to adopt Pawl. Instead, we found a more appropriate place for Pawl so that - unbeknownst to us at the time - Barnabas could adopt us a month later!
Of course, unlike so many of the "supposed to...instead..." moments of this year, this one at least - unexpected as it was - has a happy ending.
Ironically, we think both Pawl and Barnabas are about six months old (Rachel even wonders if they're biological brothers), which would put their birthdays at right around the time this whole pandemic business gained traction. So maybe, just maybe - now that they're both safe and loved instead of fending for themselves - might all the craziness of 2020 stop?
Yeah, I don't think so either. But at least we've done right by not one but two cute little kitties. And, thankfully, there aren't any other strays milling around our property!