A memoir by Zebra K. Strange
I was lonely. Of course, I had my people, who are nice enough, and there were other cats to pal around with ... but there was no one really special. You see, my sister died a while ago. Now, she was special! Although she got angry with me sometimes, other times she would snuggle up and clean me while I nuzzled her back.
Zebra and her sister Zelda.
Maybe my people sensed my loneliness, or maybe it was just luck. One day they brought home a young, neutered, tom cat. He was a pretty boy, marked kind of like a Birman, but he was just a barn cat. In fact, he had been trapped at a farm where there were feral cats everywhere. The farmer took him to a shelter to be euthanized, but kept poking him through the wire mesh of the trap. So he bit the farmer! And a good thing, too. Because of the bite, the kitty had to be held for 10 days and that's when my people saw him.
They knew that he was not a mean cat just because he bit someone. They could see that he was only scared. And so, Chaucer came to live with us.
The first two weeks, he spent in a cage, hiding as much as he was able. Every night our people would invite all us cats to play just in front of his cage. Pretty soon, he would come to the front of the cage and play with us a little.
A frightened Chaucer in his cage.
After he finished getting all his shots, he was allowed to roam the house with the rest of us. Chaucer was pretty scared and found some furniture to hide under whenever he heard people. But when it was just us cats, he was really friendly!
He seemed to like me best and even followed me from room to room. At first I ignored him. After all, he was only a year old, just a baby; I was a mature cat, and nearly fifteen years his senior! Fortunately, he chose some of the younger ones to romp with, but he always came back to me for quiet times. Maybe he just wanted a free bath after his play. Maybe he was looking for his mother. I think he was lonely like me.
Pretty soon, we were spending lots of time together. When I would settle for a nap, Chaucer would jump up where I was and lay down near me. He would look at me and squeeze his blue eyes shut then look at me again. Then he would rush over and rub me. Lots of times he knocked me over! Then he'd put his head under mine and snuggle. How could I resist? I snuggled back!
My people still cannot pick him up. But now, when he is
sleeping with me and they approach, he will only move a few inches away.
Sometimes, when they pet me, he will let them just touch his tail. I don't
know why he is still wild and scared, but he is. Maybe I can teach him
to trust them. But for now, I don't have to share him; he's my new best
Note: In December 1996, after a long battle with kidney failure, Zebra
joined her sister over the rainbox bridge. Since that time, Chaucer has
become more friendly with people.
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Chaucer, a few other felines, and The Kansas City Cat Lady. You can write to TheKCCL by clicking here.