January 7, 2009

Cat tails

This morning I went outside to feed Mrs. Moustache and pregnant Penelope—but found a new large tough-looking whitish orange tomcat we will call Bruiser. He has a pugilist’s smashed up face, a dirty snout and was hanging around Moustache. He apparently wants to make kittens with Moustache (great yet more and more kittens!) He looked really mean and was not going to scare away easily. Dash to the rescue! Singling out Bruiser he gave chase and the cat took a powder.

Now, you probably recall that I have three inside cats, two of which are semi-feral kittens. Winnie our British Shorthair, brought from the States, fell in love with Frida the oldest feral incurring our assistance in kidnapping her from the wild side of life. Frida is finally becoming tame enough at the age of about 6 months such that people other than Esperando and I can approach her and pet her. The second and younger feral was briefly named Poppet and ran through some curious names before finally becoming Carmen (as in the Bizet gypsy and the latina Miranda). Carmen is still young and small and has been moved to a crate on my desk for the last 4 days because otherwise she will climb in a dresser drawer and stay hidden all day and sleep. She needs more exposure to watching humans come and go. Actually she is affectionate up close, but quite frightened to see a human towering over her when she is outside of her crate. The last two days she has come to the front of the crate and meowed at me, a good sign, so I take her out, pet her, then put her back again. Carmen has a tail deformity that makes her look bobtailed, although it is actually a curly tail like a piglet.

Picture this setting: Dash is outside; and Frida who was pouncing around playing has left the room, as has Winnie. Seizing the moment, I take Carmen out of the crate, and gently pet her, put her on the cat playstand while I drag some catnip mice along to which a long string had been tied. She is getting used to playing with me standing over her, a little worried but doing ok, when for some reason she freaks out and runs away from me racing across the room to under the chest in our bedroom.

The reason turns out to be that the string and the mouse has wrapped around and tied itself in a knot to her tail at a curly joint so this is racing after her. She is not amused. I crawl down on the floor and reach under the chest, grabbing both ends of the string hoping to gently drag her from under the chest, but she hisses and snarls and runs to the other end of the chest. The string is on firmly. I try to reach her with my bursitis arm but can’t reach far enough without some undue pain. She leaps from under the chest and runs to hide in the sitting room under the couch. I drag the couch from the wall and she runs to hide under the other dresser in her favorite drawer. Unfortunately the mouse part of the contraption has wrapped itself around the dresser leg, painfully pulling her tail. In fact I am worried the string will cut or even sever her tail if I try to open the drawer. I can hear her growling from pain inside the drawer. I finally realized the mouse is caught up and started to unwind it when there is a knocking at the door--the maids are alarmed! The front door has blown open and Frida had escaped! Go away. It’s fine, she’ll come back, don’t worry I say. They put Dash in the room. Great, I’m not sure what this kitten will do, but having Dash help me peer in the drawer is not what I need. More knocking, go away I say, don’t bother me right now—but Frida is outside! they said. While the maids are freaking out, I am worried about Carmen cutting or gnawing her tail off.

I finally unwind the mouse from the dresser leg, and she leaps across to an adjacent drawer taking mouse and string on her tail with her. When I open the first drawer there is only a mouse and string stretching across to the next drawer. I cut the mouse off so I can open the new drawer without issues and find Carmen huddled in the corner still with string tightly bound to her poor little squiggle tail. After calming her a bit I cut the string away. Happily her tail didn’t seem any the worse for wear—and she didn’t tear my arm off either.

In the meantime, Frida is recaptured by the two exuberant maids from the front porch and is apparently glad to be returned to the house. Now that I can turn my attention away from Carmen, I said Winnie is also gone. No! He’s not in your room! No. I trail along outside behind them trying to explain to them why I couldn’t deal with them earlier, but they are so focused on finding Winnie now that won’t even listen. I have a momentarily remembrance of the kitten that got run over, and thoughts of Bruiser who is probably spoiling for a fight. It takes a while to locate him, but the gardener finally encounters Winnie on a neighbor’s porch. Fortunately, he was spared an encounter Bruiser (this time). And thus, a tail was saved, a jailbreak was squelched, and life returns to relative calm at Casa Boleo.

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