Sunday, May 15, 2016

The cat with attitude is living in a box on the file cabinet.

My new dog has been renamed - from Figgy Pudding, which is really cute but unisex, to Fred, definitely a male.  Since he moved in after I lost Ayn Chee, a female, I was constantly referring to him as "her" and "she."  So Fred helps me to remember he is all boy!

Unfortunately the boy in Fred, or perhaps just the dog in him, led him to chase the cat, Holly Berry, at their first meeting.  Holly Berry has not forgotten.  Being a cat, she probably never will.  He leaves her alone, doesn't even get close after many reprimands, but like I said, she has not forgotten, nor forgiven.

A little history on Holly Berry.  She was one of six kittens born in our garage at First Unitarian Church.  When I arrived at church one Sunday a couple of weeks before Christmas, I was greeted with, "Oh, Susan will take one."  Oh, yeah?  I already had three dogs, a cat and a parakeet and I had no intention of taking on another pet.  And I said so.  An hour later, I left with a 15 ounce kitten tucked in my pocket and headed home.  She was obviously strong willed, as I found out on the ride home.  She wanted to be free to run around the car, and even with several stops to put her back into a box I had found in the car or back into my coat, it was a losing battle.  She would have her way.  By the time I got home, she owned me, as cats so often do.

She took over the other cat, an adult male.  She would straddle his back, tiny little kitten, and wash down Smokey's head and ears.  And he let her.  There really was no arguing with her.  As for the dogs, there was no problem, no growling or chasing, they pretty much ignored one another -- except for Tashi.  Tashi was the newest in the household, probably less than a year old (strays don't come with paperwork so the vet was guessing her age), and she didn't want to hurt Holly Berry - she wanted to mother her.  She, a fifty-five pound dog, carried this 15 ounce cat around in her mouth.  They became close, and played together often.  I found one pic of her sleeping with my beloved Ayn Chee.  So I guess they did more than tolerate one another over time, but they were never a close as Tashi and Holly
Ayn Chee and Holly Berry getting along
About a year after I lost Smokey, someone asked me to take a cat because they were moving and couldn't take him along.  It took Holly Berry about a week to run him off.  Never saw him again.  He was twice as big as her and scared to death of her.  One night he slipped out the door, and that was the last of him.  Holly had won.

Our household has lived in animal peace - until Fred.  It has been over three months, and Holly Berry now lives in a box on top of a four-drawer file cabinet in my office.  Occasionally she crawls into the insulation around the foundation, since I didn't put a ceiling in the basement.  So I see those eyes staring out at me from this pile of insulation, just above her file cabinet condo.  She comes down to eat, to go outside, and if Fred is in the kennel at night, occasionally she will come upstairs in the night, licking my hand, lying on my chest, establishing her right to be there - so long as Fred is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!

Yesterday morning I was working in the soap room.  I heard Holly jump onto the desk that is beside her file cabinet condo, then she wandered into my soap room, where Tashi lay at my feet.  Fred was absent.  She walked right up to Tashi and nonchalantly kissed her.  And then, of course, she went back to the box on the file cabinet.  The message was loud and clear - Tashi is acceptable, Fred is not.

She obviously still loves Tashi, she has not been declawed so can protect herself, and Fred truly leaves her alone.  What is her problem - other than that she is a cat?  Exactly once, she has come upstairs to the bedroom when Fred was sleeping in the bed.  She did the hand licking, hung around on the floor for a few minutes, then she was off.  Perhaps there is hope.  She really needs to get over this!  I feel bad that she is living in a box.  Yeah, I know, it is her choice, but I want her back in the fold.  Sigh . . .

Here's holly in a box of papers in my computer desk.

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