At first, the stray wouldn’t enter the house, no matter how much we sucked up to him. With winter coming on, we cooed and clucked, administered ear rubs on demand and fed him daily outside the front door. He would lace into the food like a bulemic, but any sudden movement or noise caused panic and a zippy departure. Such a pretty thing, too, with a full tail and everything (our previous cat was a manx).
After a couple of months of this yes-I-will, no-I-won’t behaviour, we didn’t expect the little guy to stay, so we didn’t get creative about a name – we just called him “Blackie”. Original, I know. We decided he must have a home, but figured that if he did, they sure weren’t letting him in much. He came to us morning and night, hanging about, auditioning us for his new owners. We were happy to oblige but remained daunted by his high expectations.
Then – lo and behold – one day he pranced into the garage – aka our smoking lounge. Sharpening his claws on the right front car tire, he leaped onto the hood of our Chevy Tracker and cleaned himself up a bit. Then he matter-of-factly climbed over the rear view mirror into the car, settling down on the driver’s side for a snooze. My husband and I stared in wild surmise. This was great progress! We felt like cat whisperers, so far had the little guy come with his trust issues. Filled with pride, we encouraged more of same by leaving the car window down and making sure Blackie could exit the garage when a leaf moved unexpectedly.
We must have passed the garage test too because he was soon lacing into his food on the warm side of the front door. We opened it one morning to find him pressed up against it, eager for entry. We felt the thrill of victory once more and plopped down his bowl by the front hall closet, careful to maintain all ear-scrubbing and easy-exit practices.
And then – wonder of wonders – days later, he pushed through our cat door and ate in the kitchen! Once or twice he even climbed up for a cat nap on our family room sofa. The “sudden movement” rule still applied, however, causing him to bolt for the cat door at the smallest provocation. But we knew we’d won.
Now he’s ours, just in time for winter. Instead of huddling under a car on cold nights, he now stretches out beside our older cat on the bed and hardly moves as we come and go. We love him dearly, happy to have him boss us around on a permanent basis.