By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The brief cold spell we experienced last week didn’t go over well with the cat. As I’ve said before, he isn’t my cat. He’s my sister’s cat. But he’s decided to live with me for some reason. And he is determined to get inside of the house.
Puff isn’t the first cat that I have fed over the years. Just about two or three years ago, Charlie was a pretty good cat who befriended Mom. We both cared for him although I was the person who would normally feed him late at night. Mom would put food out for him every morning and afternoon. She named him — I assume — after me. That was fine. I didn’t object to Charlie’s name. He was a good cat. But like most cats, he wanted to come inside the house once it started getting cold outside. Mom was initially reluctant, but she eventually allowed him to spend some evenings, and a few full nights, inside the house.
Charlie was a well-behaved cat. He would walk in the living room and let out a simple meow or two when he wanted to go outside. Mom would then simply get up, open the door, and he would go outside. He never caused any problems. Sadly, Charlie was struck by a vehicle two years ago, and suffered a devastating injury. We tried to care for him, but he could no longer walk. The veterinarian recommended putting him down. It was a difficult decision for Mom. But we really didn’t have too many options.
Before Puff decided he was going to move in with me I had went a good two years without a cat. After we lost Mom more than a year ago, I decided I would not deal with cats anymore. I needed time instead to adjust to life without my parents. No mother. No father. No aunts or uncles. Just my sister, brother-in-law and my cousins. Things were admittedly different. They still are. But now I’m stuck with a cat who is trying his hardest to find a way into the house.
It started simple enough. He showed up at my door, and wouldn’t leave. So I finally broke down and gave him some food. Then he of course had no reason to leave. After all, he could now get food at my sisters and then walk up the driveway and get fed again by me. It was a win-win proposition for the cat. But being fed wasn’t enough. He demands constant attention.
And he’s fascinated with the door. The minute it opens he attempts to make a mad dash inside of the house. When he is quick enough to get past the door before I’m able to close it (usually because my hands are full carrying groceries or other items in the house while trying to close the door) he then makes a run for it up the stairs and usually ends up on the couch. I’m not for sure why animals think they need to live inside of a house — especially when it is still warm outside.
But I’ll give the cat credit. He’s smart enough to have come up with a plan where he is eating breakfast and dinner twice a day between two houses. So I guess it is his way of getting fat for winter. He is already a big, fat cat, and I suspect he will continue to get bigger if he keeps eating the way he is currently going.
We’ve always had cats in our families growing up — even back when we were little kids. The two cats back then were appropriately named “Tom and Jerry.” One was a male, and the other was a female. Both were orange and beautiful. And both were loving pets in our family for many years.
Sadly, one of the two was poisoned, and suffered a painful death. It was tough as a child to see this happen to a family pet. We never did figure out who poisoned Tom, or why?
Claws, one of the cats we had while still living in McDowell County, was more of a rough around the edges cat. He stayed outdoors and never made a fuss about going indoors. But Claws had an issue with birds, or it was more of the other way around. The birds had an issue with him. In fact, we would watch in amazement countless time outside when angry birds (not the video game version but instead real birds apparently out for revenge) would dive-bomb and try to attack poor Claws. I had never seen anything like that before. He didn’t have to chase birds. They chased after him. It was a really strange thing. One day Claws left home, and never returned. To this date, we have no idea what ever happened to him. His old friend and playmate, Squirt, is still alive and doing quite well at my cousin’s house. But Claws vanished never to be seen again.
Animals are a lot like children. They demand constant attention, and are there to greet you first thing in the morning when you open your door to step outside and get the newspaper, as well as last thing in the evening when you return home from an often long and grinding day at work. And regardless of how bad or good your day at work may have been, their attitudes remain unchanged. They are happy to see you, and expect for you to be happy to see them.
What can you do? When you start feeding an animal, you are normally stuck with it. Even if the cat is eating six meals a day from two different people at two different locations.
Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @BDTOwens.