The Cat Who Came In from the Cold

My first pic of Minette- 3/6/12 (don't ask me why I waited 2 months to take the first photo.)

Our newest family member came to us via an incident on what would prove to be the winter’s coldest night (22 degrees F) – for it was on the morn following that frigid night that we discovered a tiny white kitten had apparently taken up abode under our deck side wood-stack – but for the next several days, our only clue was a tiny mewing sound that was heard now and then emanating from under the wood-stack.

Not sure yet if she can come any closer than this.

In the midst of a good deal of profound worry that the kitten might well die before we could entice it into the house and safety, we hatched out a plan to do just that – we placed two bowls, one with milk and the other with cat food, quite near the wood-stack, but still within sight through our living room French door. It didn’t take too long before the presence of the food overcame the natural fear that was keeping the kitten out in those frigid elements.

Over the next ten days, we gradually moved the food bowls closer and closer to the door – and eventually we were able to open the door – not too wide, lest we allow all our internal warmth to escape into the cold outdoors. Before long, those bowls were 2 feet inside the room, and we were ready to spring our trap!

Notice the unique two tone upper lip!

On that fateful day, we had positioned the bowls a full three feet inside the living room, and I sat in a chair immediately next to the open door – the kitten cautiously entered and slowly made its way to the bowls – as soon as its attention was totally on the food, I quickly pushed the door closed.

The kitten freaked!

It immediately bolted to safety under the nearby loveseat, which is perhaps 3” off the floor – and for the next day, we saw no sign of the kitten, and no sounds either. But we knew we could wait it out, and that the kitten was much better off inside that in its previous environment – sure enough, the following day, the kitten would make a brief appearance to quickly grab some food, and then just as quickly disappear again. In an act of prudence, I added a small plastic tub with cat litter right next to the food bowls, and almost immediately it showed evidence of being used. Success is a good feeling!

Peaceful Coexistence - For the Moment

Over the next 2 months, we made sure we never gave the kitten a chance to get back outside – it eventually found many unique hiding spots -behind the many audio/video components, under various furniture and beds, and some I’m sure we were not even aware of. And slowly, the kitten allowed more and more human touching, and it became more social – Henry (the doxie) played a significant role in the kitten’s socialization. Of course, Henry immediately took a great interest in the kitten, which I’m sure initially kept the kitten even more cautious – but before long, the two were nose to nose, and playing games of ‘cat and dog tag’. We watched these encounters with trepidation.

At first I was just a little suspicious that perhaps Henry would suddenly grab the kitten by the neck, and with a quick shake, dispatch it to cat heaven. But my fears were off-base, and soon it was more than evident that there was trust on both sides – in fact, time would prove that Henry was the member at greatest risk in this relationship, as the many wounds on his underbelly would suggest – but detente is building.

"Who says I have long legs?"

Eventually, the kitten grew more comfortable with us, even to the point of climbing up and sitting on our laps – and it was only then that we learned that the kitten was a female. However, picking her up and carrying her would remain one of her reluctances, even now, but we’re working on it.

We named the kitten, Minette, which in my linguistic ignorance, is French for a female kitten – however, such formality is not my style, as I am much more likely to address our animals with such endearments as, ‘Dog’, or ‘Kitten’ – however, this kitten is not so kittenish any longer – its legs are getting so long, it looks like it may have some greyhound heritage. And I swear, when I first saw it, it was pure white, with a typical Siamese look with the black face, ears, tail and feet – but magically, over the past month or so, the white body is morphing into something quite different – I’m not quite sure what, I’ll let you know later – but there is evidence that the process is not done yet!

And what happens when I push this button?

The only tragedy in all this is that Muffy, our only other cat family member, and also a past feral rescue, has taken exception to Minette’s addition to our clan. After 2 months of obvious unfriendly encounters of cat hissing and growls (only on Muffy’s part, never the kitten), Muffy has chosen to exit our home, and to take up residence in our garden shed. For more than a week, we saw no sight of her, until one day she appeared at our French door once more – we’ve decided to feed her at the door each day, as that way we can at least know how she is. But she will not re-enter the house – I would guess in protest over our allowing Minette to come live with us.

Who says that soap operas are solely a people thing?


About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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24 Responses to The Cat Who Came In from the Cold

  1. Looove this! Minette is certainly a lucky cat to have ended up under your deck. Hopefully when the weather gets colder, Muffy will rethink her stance and be the next cat to come in from the cold. Enjoy her…they are so much fun when they are kittens.

    • drfugawe says:

      I thought you might enjoy this tale – can’t imagine what it must be like to have 3 or more cats! I think Muffy will rethink her actions, and rejoin us – in the meantime, we’re having fun.

  2. Joanna says:

    A lovely story and very sweet photos! Do you have any idea where she wandered from, she has such pretty markings? Being a dog owner I have to admire your dog for his patience too. Hope she lives long and prospers 🙂

    • drfugawe says:

      Thanks Jo – I’m not sure Henry is being patient, might be more like intimidated to hell! I love watching them play tag, as it keeps getting more and more violent – and it always ends with Henry calling it quits. Great entertainment.

  3. Joanna says:

    Reblogged this on Zeb Bakes and commented:
    A complete digression here but the Doc has taken up his blogging pen again and his camera and got a kitten too!

  4. Joanna says:

    now I haven’t tried this reblogging thing before and I am not quite sure if it a good thing, but I have a few readers who adore cats who I thought your post sould make very happy, let me know if this is Ok with you, can easily take it down. 🙂

    • drfugawe says:

      Was it W.C. Fields or Groucho Marx who said, ‘Reblogging is the highest form of flattery’? Always get them mixed up! Hey, what’s not to like? Thanks girl.

  5. hotlyspiced says:

    She is lucky to have found such a wonderful home. Great that you are able to take such good care of her. I hope she never leaves xx

    • drfugawe says:

      After having kept her inside for 2 months, on a nice day, we opened the door to she what she’d do – she stood there, quite fascinated with the outdoors, but she would not go out! Only now is she tentatively venturing out on the deck – God only knows what kind of trauma she lived through before we got her inside.

      Thanks for joining the discussion.

  6. heidiannie says:

    My niece had a cat that decided to move out when they adopted a 2 year old boy!
    They had two cats – and the one was fine with the new arrangements. but the older cat moved into the garage. I hope Muffy can get over her upset sensibilities and move back in. Minette is gorgeous.

    • drfugawe says:

      Ha! I love it. Yeah, Muffy’s been through a half dozen emotional upheavals in the last sev years – she and Henry have also not made peace – but at least they both have learned to ignore each other – but Muffy truly hates Minette! I think we’re on the way to working Muffy back into the house – she just needs needs to find a new private sleeping spot, where nobody will bother her.

      Thanks for stopping by, Heidi.

  7. tuppercooks says:

    Awwww, she’s a beautiful kitty Doc. We’ve got 3 cats and they all have different personalities. One refuses any interaction w/ other two. And th edogs, well, they know who to approach and who not to!

  8. drfugawe says:

    Yeah, this kitty has bonded with me – I guess since I was the one who ‘rescued’ it – but it’s not the brightest cat ever – I get great joy watching it try to figure out how to open a closed door – each time she’s successful, I think, OK, now she’s got it – but Nope! Same problem the next time she tries.

  9. Jan says:

    I’m so glad to have your presence in Blogland again Dr Fugawe. I loved this post and the photos – I’m not surprised Muffy has taken such great exception, cats don’t share their territory easily do they. Henry must have a beautiful nature. When we got our first stray cat, we named him Nimbus because the minute he laid eyes on our poor dog, Nimbus’ fur and claws stuck out making him look like a spiky, black ball and he was not easy to hold! They did eventually learn to co-exist but when Nimbus curled up against our dog’s haunches in the winter, our poor old dog lay rigid with the whites of his eyes showing.

    • drfugawe says:

      Yes, I think the relationship building is ongoing – thanks for the insight on cat emotions – we’re still learning. Thanks for joining the discussion.

  10. Doc she’s beautiful.
    Looks like she’s doing a little spell check for you there.
    My boys would love a cat. I’m not so sure a cat would like them so much though. Too many quick movements I think!… (Although there would always be a warm bed to snuggle up on.)

    • drfugawe says:

      Oh, I don’t know – Minette is prone to position herself right in front of your feet as you walk, but is super-quick at getting out of harms way as you move – she’s done this since she came, and my thinking was that after she was squashed a few times, she’d stop this dangerous behavior – but she’s so quick that I’ve only gotten her tail once or twice, which I don’t think hurts much – and she continues to be underfoot constantly!

      So, go ahead and get a kitty – it’ll be good for the guys.

  11. pavlovdog says:

    Growing up we had a cat named Minôt (pronounced meenoo) which is Acadian French for cat… every cat since is subsequently called this even though they have an actual different name. Great post….loved it!

  12. drfugawe says:

    Thanks Pav – I consider that high praise indeed.

  13. Glenda says:

    Hi Doc
    Minette is beautiful. She looks like she has some (or a lot) of Siamese in her.
    I really am a cat person who decided she wanted a dog because dogs just love you no matter what. Cats, on the other hand, can be pretty fussy when it comes to with whom they will associate.
    Our dogs hate cats. I don’t know why. Maybe the first cat they met ran away and they thought it was a game to chase it and they have just developed the game.
    They could possibly live with a kitten (motherly instinct and all that) but I don’t know… It’s a pretty big risk. We started off with 2 female puppies and, in my innocence, I decided I wanted a boy. We had 18 months of hell. We renamed the girls the iron maidens. They truly hated him. Even today, they only just tolerate him.

  14. drfugawe says:

    Wow, you have a whole house full of soap opera emotions, don’t you! Minette has chosen me as her bonding figure – each night while I watch my documentaries, she comes and lays in my lap – Henry has always considered that his time with me, and he comes up too – immediately, they begin a battle to see which one really wants to stay – Minette always wins – Henry dislikes claws. But I think they truly do enjoy playing with each other – seldom does either make any noise of pain or protest, so we have to assume it’s all play.

  15. Beautiful. I cats I have I adopted off the street (had to live-trap them to catch them) wouldn’t trade them for anything. Neat story. Sorry Muffy isn’t thrilled. Hope she comes around. Saw your post re-blogged over at Zeb Bakes. Neat.

  16. Pingback: We have a new addition to our family « Run4joy59's Blog

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