Saturday, August 26, 2006

When cats rule the earth (which would be today)

Allie got out of the house tonight. I was pretty much certain she was gone forever, with either wild animals eating her or the call of the wild attracting her too strongly.* She came home. I've chewed her out, explained that she made a poor life decision. She doesn't see things my way, and has turned an icy shoulder toward me.

Let me back up. Allie was a 5-month-old stray living in a shelter when I met her. I fell in love with her. I brought her home and kept her inside all to myself for 3 years.

Then my parents moved out of state and left my childhood cat, Little Kitty, to stay with me. LK was an outdoor cat. Allie learned quickly. One day Hay and I came home from work to find that our second story bedroom window's screen was on the ground. ... ... *sigh* *deep breath* Allie was so anxious to be outdoors with her big sister that she shoved the screen out and jumped. When we came home it was raining and she was mewing from underneath the neighbor's car. She didn't understand what to do outside (yet), she just knew she wanted to be there.

For the next 3 years, against Hay's and my wishes, Allie was an outdoor kitty. Unfortunately, she began bringing home more and more trophies, many of which she didn't bother to kill so that there were mice, chipmunks, moles, and varying sizes of birds running around our apartment partly chewed and very scared. Allie's attitude became progressively worse as well. She would hiss, bite, scratch, and growl at us. She never wanted any attention, and acted almost cavecattish, coming inside only to drink clean water and have uninterrupted sleep.

Then we moved to the country, and both Allie and Little Kitty got a “do over”. Under the guise of concern that wild animals would eat them or cars would run them over, we told the kittos they could not under any circumstances go outside. It was a tough fight, but Hay and I stood our ground for the next 3 years. Allie's personality began to mellow again. She would tolerate us giving her affection, and would even come lie down in our laps to purr and drool as we patted her head and stroked the fur along her back.

Along the way LK lost her battle with various ailments a 19-year-old cat just can't win, but Allie has never forgotten her days of freedom. So, tonight when I saw that the screen door and the glass door to the deck were both open my heart didn't even bother to sink because I just knew Allie was outside and wasn't coming back. She is happiest outdoors, that's where she can romp around, eat animals and grass, beat up neighbor kitties, and soak up the sunshine.

For whatever reason, Allie did come home. She hissed and scratched and kicked at me when I tried to check her for bugs and wounds. She threw up gigantic strands of grass all over the dining room floor. She may have a disease from rubbing noses with a neighbor kitty.** But, she's my girl and she is always welcome in this house until she's done with this life.

*She does not wear a collar. She used to. I even have a tag that says her name and our phone number on it, but I challenge you to get a collar on her and keep it on.

**This is the part that scares me the most, that she now has feline leukemia or something else communicable and will share it with the other girls. I would be devastated if all of my kitties became sick and died within a short time.


bdogg_mcgee said...

What about getting the microchip thing?

Kino LOVES outside too. He rarely gets outside, but man, the minute I open the front door to get the mail in the evenings, he's right there hoping to sneak out. A couple of times he's succeeded. Sometimes I think about letting him stay out there, but it's DH's kitty, and so I drag him back inside....

Avitable said...

I second the microchip idea. We've had that for every pet we've ever had.

Nancy Drew said...

I feel for ya. MIcroship idea's probably the only one that'd work for the wild child.

Nancy Drew said...

p.s. don't they have a leucopenia vaccine?

Poppy Cede said...

Persuade me. What's the point of having Allie go through the grief of having the microchip "installed" if only service people (vets, shelters, etc.) have the readers? It's not like someone a mile away is going to take her in to have her checked before keeping her as their own or shooting her for being on their property. I'm just not very convinced.

Lucky Pink said...

I hope your kitties are okay! We just got two kittens yesterday. They're sooooo cute, but they haven't quite outgrown the "lets live under them bed!" game yet.

P'nut said...

**HUGS** I'm so glad she came back to you so you didn't have to worry what became of her.

Good on you for lecturing her, too, but I know all too well how that fell on fuzzy deaf ears.

I am one of those people who, if finding a cat, will take it to a vet to have it scanned. However, I live in a big city, with a vet right across the street. I agree with you that most people would not take the time or make the effort... so save yourself the money & the aggravation of getting her done.

In a case like Allie, you can only do what you've been doing... continue to have her vaccinated yearly against all those nasty diseases like FLV, rabies, etc, and do your best to ensure she doesn't slip outside.

If you're brave (or have tranquilizers on hand) you could put a collar or harness on her in hopes that, if she does escape again, someone will plainly see she has an owner. [A harness is probably better because even though she may get caught up on something (bushes, fencing, etc), it's less likely to strangle her.]

Some kitties adapt perfectly well to staying indoors, some adapt to going outside only to sun on the porch and come right back in, and some kitties (like my brother's) never lose their urge to be outdoors, wandering, hunting & scrapping.

As long as you love her, treat her well while she's in your care, and do your best to protect her from harm... you're an A+ cat mummy in my books.

Mishka said...

I had to force both of my kitties to be indoors and now they are pretty okay with it as long as I open a window so they can smell it when the weather is nice. They are both kind of afraid to be outside now because they haven't done it in so long.

The thing with your kitty is that it sounds like she might have been feral before and that is a hard habit to break and sometimes can't be broken. My mom's cat that she raised from a feral infant turned on her when he was about 2 years old and they had to give him up after he attacked her twice and she had to have stitches. It was heart wrenching but she couldn't live with him attacking her whenever he felt like it. She was kind of afraid of cats for a while but now has two new adoptees that were never feral.