His Own Cat

Some of you will remember the sweet, flearidden cat I brought home in April 2011. How he submitted meekly to everything I did to him, swallowing worming pills, being groomed free of his unwelcome guests, travelling to Mother’s and back in the car, spending his post castration weekend afloat. It was the Royal Wedding weekend, ironically. And my birthday. What a mild mannered boy.
A bit of a scaredy cat here at home when it came to venturing onto the stairs. It took a while for him to conquer his fears, and then he was ready for the next step – the garden. Moving across its expanse he reminded me of Carey Grant in that scene in North by Northwest when the pilot is trying to kill him. Belly to the ground, eyes wide, ears swivelling, he quickly found cars to sit under, bushes to hide in. Twenty minutes outside was quite long enough before he wanted to come back indoors, presumably to process all the smells and sights with which he had just been overloaded. And during those twenty minutes I had to be there. If he lost sight of me he gave panicked wails. Then he found his paws and discovered he could climb. Nothing was too high. He got stuck once in a tree, worked out how to get down – I couldn’t reach him – and far from being discouraged by this experience it seemed to increase his confidence. The smells of the wider world beckoned. I spent anxious evenings following him, watching him wriggle under barriers where I could not follow, disappear into neighbours gardens. He came home each time invigorated by his explorations. He was mapping his territory. I could leave him alone in the garden for a short time without him worrying. He was young, strong and adventurous; a Just William of the feline world, and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t wonderful to see him. He was having such fun. When I went to work, he was inside. When I came home we both went out. He started staying out longer without me, and hero worshipped Sonny, our regular feral visitor. He climbed high walls and looked down into café gardens. His confidence blossomed. He was growing up.
Like any adolescent he thought he knew it all. He took risks because he could not see the dangers. He frightened the living daylights out of me, but I had to admire him. He turned into the Ginger Ninja, one hundred per cent action cat, full of the joys of being alive and intent on sampling as many of the pleasures and excitements available as he could.
The hormones calmed down. He still climbed walls and trees, especially trees, but the higher walls seemed to lose their allure. He discovered the joy of windows, or visiting neighbours without invitation, snooping around their properties and leaving before they knew he was there. Sometimes he was caught, and had to scramble through windows. I worried about him being locked in somewhere and added extra bells to his collar to alert people to his presence. I’ve only just this moment made the connection with leper bells. It wasn’t like that. Promise.
And that was it for about a year. Fairly settled, extending his social circle to include his Playdate, several neighbours and Ginger the Cat.

Take Two

Take Two

He found a girlfriend, a pretty tabby called Scally who lives close by. But every day he came inside before I left.
Until this week. He’s outgrown the youth club, now he wants more freedoms. When I have wanted him to come in each morning this week he has looked at me from the top of walls and made it clear that he has plans that do not include coming in for breakfast. The first day I went off to work twenty minutes later than I’d like, still leaving him outside, I worried all day. He was fine.
The second day, I felt a bit happier about leaving him perched on the wall. My fears were more for the birds, as he was definitely watching them, and he wasn’t wearing an anorak or clutching a Book of British Garden Birds. No dead bodies in evidence when I got home, and one tired cat. Slowly, I am coming to terms with the idea that MasterB is making his own decisions about whether he wants to be inside or out when I go to work. Just as Cat did. My boy has grown up. He’s his own cat.
But that doesn’t mean he can spend the night on the tiles. There are some house rules that still apply.


25 thoughts on “His Own Cat

  1. He’s come a long way indeed……and certainly is now “his own cat” – which can be worrisome sometimes for his caretaker. One thing for sure – he’s even more gorgeous now than he once was – the ginger ninja has come a long way.


  2. What a beauty and how wonderful for us to follow his growth from scared little one to confident adult. It is always worrying when they start spreading their wings but he certainly seems like one happy cat and that’s awesome.

    • You ahve more experience in this than I do, how much would being infested with fleas have slowed him down? I know an infestation can kill a kitten, but how about a young adult? He was around a year, maybe a bit less when I got him.

    • Cat used to stay out all day, especially in summer, often, when I went to work, but I had thought MasterB couldn’t manage that. However, he has proved me wrong, so if we have a good summer this year, it means he will have far more freedom.
      I am still trying to enforce the no scartching the furniture or carpets rules, with little success!

  3. I know you worry each day until you get home from work and see that he’s fine. At least, I know I would! He’s still a Ginger Ninja!

  4. That first photo is one of my favorites. So pink.
    Minus flea and furniture scratching, his behaviour reminds of my nephews. They have taken longer to mature, though.

  5. Does he have a cat flap so he can wander in and out as he pleases? Not sure if that is possible with your flat. In Colorado one of my cats loved that. I wish Att could get more outdoor time–at least he has a balcony to explore and to get some fresh air.

  6. Lovely story of his time with you, Isobel. He really has grown up. And yes, he is gorgeous.
    I think you can get cat flaps that fit onto windows as well as doors, can’t you? At least then he wouldn’t HAVE to stay out all day, if he’s out when you leave for work.
    I find myself wondering how you will enforce your ‘no nights on the tiles, sir!’ rule! Hopefully by making it worth his while coming in again – I wonder if you can get cheap job-lots of smoked salmon??!!

    • I bought shutters to stop him getting out of the windows! I am on the second floor, so he would need a chute, and some other way of climbing up.
      I haven’t worked out quite how I am going to enforce the night time rule yet either. I think making sure he’s tired will be a big part of it. 🙂

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