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Friday, January 3, 2014

There's A New Cat On the Block

As you probably could tell, I haven't been adding any posts for the past several months. It's not for a lack of ideas, but for a lack of time. I got a new day job at a local nursery - Christianson's Nursery - up in Mount Vernon, closer to my Arlington home than to Ballard. I'm actually earning a few bucks doing stuff like this, but for someone else. I haven't been down at Mog Cottage to work in the veg garden, much less write about it. I didn't get the garlic and fava beans planted this fall. It's all looking rather weedy and dead. The last time I was down there, I discovered a beautiful purple cauliflower that had turned to mush in our big fall freeze. Such a shame. I do have kale; such a reliable food crop. I got the cold frame ready for winter lettuce, but I didn't plant any seeds. The garden is not on Roland's radar, so he doesn't think to check on things so much. He does keep the orchids and houseplants watered, upon penalty of death. I'm hoping that I can make it down more often and keep it going. Working from home several days per week with the office laptop is a goal that I'm striving for. That change along with longer daylight will make things easier, I think. I hope.

Geoffrey with the scab on his nose.
It seems at some point, no matter where I'm at, a new mog makes itself present, sooner or later. There is a resident cat at Christianson's; a big fluffy black cat named Bamboo. At some point in November, he got into a hellacious fight with an interloper and ended up at the vet getting stitches. A large pile of mostly black cat fir was found behind one of the greenhouses. Now, John Christianson wasn't going to put up with that, so he set out the trap he uses to trap other live vermin. Several days later, a very large gray and white cat fell for it. He also was rather beat up, with a big, bloody gash on his nose. The staff was rather concerned with his fate and didn't really want to take him to the Humane Society for fear he would get euthanized. But no one at our nursery could take him....except.....for me. I'm such a sucker for a fur face in need.

"Oh, why not," said I, making up excuses to myself. "All the mogs and the dog are down south, so I can fill the empty space in my house with this one." 

I told the staff that I would take him in a couple of days, so he got stashed in the potting shed with a cat box, food and water. Now being a potting shed, there was ample soil about, so the litter box stayed unsurprisingly clean. When you're used to using the ground, then kitty litter doesn't seem so nice compared to lovely, clean potting soil. Even when you have to dig your own hole in just the right spot. It's like choosing Charmin tissue over news print.

Now, anyone who's ever dealt with a stray cat knows that they tend to be strays for a reason. The consensus was that he got dumped. Apparently, the nursery is a favorite dumping ground because the perception is that they will be taken care of with all of the other animals housed there. Who knows why he appeared. He has a notch in his ear like he's been caught, neutered and released. You would think that he was very timid and wild, but this cat turned out very different indeed. 

Having trapped him inside, wondering to myself if this was such a great idea, I listened to constant yowling for 3 days. He spent a majority of his time pacing, trying to figure out how to get out. I didn't want him to wander off in search of his old territory. I planned to keep him inside until he decided that this was a good place for him to be. After an initial night of zero sleep, I turned on the fan and shut my bedroom door to drown him out as best I could, but he could get quite loud at times. I started letting him out into the garage just so he could go out some door. During that period, I came up with the name, Geoffrey (after Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of English Literature, of course). He just looks like a Geoffrey to me.

At around a week, I finally relented and opened up the door to the great outdoors. He spent the entire day outside, no where to be seen. Hoping that I didn't do something stupid, I periodically opened the door and called for him. No Geoffrey. Finally around 9 pm that night when I was thinking of climbing under the covers for the night, I opened the front door one last time and there he was, sitting on the door mat. He came in and went straight away to the food trough. After eating, he jumped on the bed and started to purr. The big, ugly scab on his nose had fallen off, revealing the soft, white fuzz of returning fur.

When I first brought him home,  all I had was Kitten Chow, leftover from Marcel's kitten days, and dog food.  I figured he probably hadn't had a good meal in a long time, so the extra calories wouldn't hurt. I would finish up the bag. That didn't take long because he's a pig. He hoses down his food like a big shop vac, a sign of an animal who didn't know where his next meal was coming from and when. In fact, Geoffrey gets very agitated when his kibble dish is empty. No matter where I am in the house, he cries at me and leads me to an empty dish. Not wanting him to get fat, I changed to a crunchy-granola brand of adult cat food. I learned how much an adult male cat can eat after he woke me up at 1 am, hurling what seemed like a gallon of Terracotta colored liquid all over my duvet cover. After another hurl on the carpet the next day, I put him back on Kitten Chow. He's been doing fine on that ever since. His fur is very soft, fine and he gives himself a daily bath.

Geoffrey turned out to be a big blob who loves attention, slobbers like a St. Bernard when getting head scratches and does cute kitty poses when I try to ignore him. My furniture and person is constantly being covered in cat spit and he's a bit of a retard with the claws. He's very polite, asking permission to jump on my lap and on the bed and best of all, he doesn't spray! He has also decided that being indoors is a pretty good deal. He goes out just long enough to fight with the neighbor's cats. The neighbor's cats sit on my arbor over my front porch and while rubber necking, spy down through a window into the living room, looking for the interloper. Peeping Toms. But increasingly, Geoffrey spends 90% of his time inside, asleep on the down throw on the sofa or on my side of the bed.  I think he's decided to stick around and I'm glad he did.

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