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The Cat Chronicle

Today I picked up this pet that I call "Kitten" and she felt significantly heavier---more like a cat than a kitten at eight years of age. She is so kittenish most of the time that the name is no stretch. She has been very good company this last week.

I've been quite ill, laid up actually. For 2+ days I was alone but for kitten and it was so nice to have her around. I'm still not well, but I am doing much better every day. Will and his son are back from their backpacking adventure to the Goat Rocks, and it is nice to have them here. I wasn't eating much at all, just didn't have the energy or motivation to russle up grub. The one meal I did cook while they were gone ended up in the trash. It made me nauseous. I looked in the mirror at my naked body yesterday and I must have lost a good ten pounds. That's fine, I had it to loose. Maybe not the healthiest diet plan, though.

But back to Kitten. She has settled in to this house in a comfortable way since Oscar got eaten by the coyotes, 3 or so months ago now. Oscar was a very skitty kitty, afraid of everything including her own shadow. Afraid of the cat door---never learned how to go through it. She finally did get accustomed to me and my big presence. She even got friendly. On that fateful Friday night that Oscar did not want to come in, she had two opportunities. The house practice was not to force her, but to continue to invite her in until bedtime and at that point to let her stay out. She would refuse to come in by squirming on her back on the stones at the bottom of the steps. If you came out as if to grab her she would run, which is probably how that policy evolved. She was hard to catch. I was not in town that Friday night, I was gone on some kayak adventure.

Oscar didn't show up in the morning, or ever again. She wasn't the kind of cat to go on walkabout. Will imagines that he knows how it went down. She liked to sleep on the front porch. There was really nowhere for her to go, especially if there was more than one canine after her. Will knew which way she would have jumped from the porch, and that there was nowhere to hide there, and that she was not a very good tree climber. We read in a periodical recently that coyotes in Tucson AZ make up some 43% of their diet on domestic felines. I wonder what the percentage is here.

We mourned Oscar well, lit candles and cried, put her bowl and playthings on an altar with flowers. Now her photograph is on the wall. Will was the closest to her. Yes, Oscar was a girl. She was named by a child. When Will's wife left him, he gave his love to that skitty kitty. I'm sure she saved his life at least once, because he was a basket case.

For two weeks after Oscar's disappearance Kitten was traumatized. She kept looking back over her shoulder and scanning the environment, whether for Oscar or for the coyotes, we'll never know. I suspect she heard whatever happened, based on her skittishness during that time. Then Kitten started to settle in. She sleeps upstairs with us now. Upstairs used to be Oscar's territory. The cats were rivals to the death. Kitten has lived with rivals since moving to Oregon. This is the first time that she's been Top Cat. She's not a large cat and so the balance of power was constantly shifting between her and Woolie (Emily's black cat) and Oscar.

Now that she is Top Cat, she doesn't spend nearly as much time outside. And she eats and sleeps more. Perhaps I should begin to call her by her official given name: Shakti.

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