Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Houdahenians are not Christians (But Then Who Is?)

This is Kirby. He did not come with a name-tag, and arrived in some unknown magical way week before last. I got home and there he was, sitting on our kitchen stoop. As soon as he saw me he scrammed under the house. We live pretty far off the road. He might have been dropped off at the driveway, or walked over from the closest place that has cats, which is at least a quarter mile off. Maybe his mom took him out and he got lost. Maybe he was birthed somewhere on our place, kept secret, was the last survivor. We'll certainly never know. We got a have-a-heart trap from the Animal Control folks over near Pittsboro, the county seat, and he climbed right in and ate and ate and ate. He was not wild. We could reach in and take him out and he'd purr, not struggle. Libby combed him for fleas and ticks (plenty of each). We were told that the Animal Control folks had a nice "cat room" for adoptables, which he certainly is; he would not be put down at least for some time. It seemed like a good plan. More on why in a moment. Libby took him over there, and on the way he became "Kirby" and she fell in love with him.

At the Animal Control place they checked him out for feline distemper and leukemia, and gave him his first round of necessary shots. He was to be kept quarantined for a week, then he'd go into the "cat room." But in a couple of days, when Libby checked, the Animal Control folks had been over-run with new kittens. Suddenly Kirby was scheduled for a permanent departure on Wednesday last. Libby rescued him back, in a way too complicated to explain here. Now he's sitting in a kennel on the kitchen table.

We've barricaded the room off so's he can't go under something and hide, or otherwise disappear, yet can get out of the kennel and play and exercise. Cats need to move, stretch, thrive. They are not birds in a cage. But the Houdahenians are not happy with this situation. NOT AT ALL. They were instantly alert to a new creature in THEIR space. Even the momma cat, who gawd knows ought to be grateful and sympathetic, as we've given her a place out of the rain and cold, and two or three squares, and if she'll just let us catch her we'll be taking her in for her next year's shots and getting the fleas and ticks off'n her--momma is so annoyed at this development that she comes in the door and immediately hisses. Then she deigns to eat, as fast as she can, and then departs. Before Kirby she was not only eating, but rubbing against our legs, "talking" to us, going in the living room or upstairs or under the stairs and sleeping or whatever. Now we're back to the basic food relationship--ok, I will come in and eat, cause you gots good chow I reckon, but we're not really friends and I don't even want to look at that, errm, "creature" up there on the table that's acting like it knows me.

The big boys. We're concerned that either Puzzle or Wuzzy might jump on the kennel and scare Kirby to death, or knock it off the table and see if maybe the door might open. It's like he's in a shark cage. Kirby doesn't know a thing--he's just a little tyke, wants attention, and apparently nothing has scared him silly or warped his personality. Puzzle or Wuzzy would be delighted to take on the task. He's a mouse to them, and they love to kill mice. I had no idea how many mice and voles we had out in the woods around the house. They find a new one every time they go out, and bring its sad remains to the stoop to show us. The lizards, they're about wiped out.

We took the Houdahenians in, as you'll recall, back when they were smaller than Kirby. They've never had to hunt for anything but a litter box. They are always well fed. Puzzle, indeed, well-feeds himself on everyone else's food if we don't feed them in well separated places, and while he can certainly use his heft to block for Jim Brown, he is these days sometimes surprised and taken aback when he can't quite make the jump to his favorite perch. Gravity. Politic Real.

Libby talks to momma about this. "You were just like this little kitten. He needs a safe place right now." Momma hisses and leaves. Houdahenians are not Christians. We're putting his picture up on adoption bulletin boards and getting the word out. Great cat. Has a name. Needs a good home. We need our kitchen table back eventually. We'll keep you posted.

Oh, not un-ironically, Kirby may well be the Houdahenians' half-brother. We see a resemblance in the face, particularly to Mokey. We're pretty sure we know who their daddy is too--a big big yellow Tom who now and then strolls through the yard, a cross between Maurice Chevalier and Tyger Tyger Burning Bright. Momma Baby Daddy got a limp these days. The hard wild life.


  1. what are the odds that you'll keep Kirby? and what are the odds that the Houdehenians whose names i cannot spell will ever accept him? i love the maurice chevalier dad, even as that seems like maybe too benign a comparison.

  2. I think the chances of us keeping Kirby are at least 50%. I feel sure we'll keep him if we can't find him a good home. Today is "great photo" day so hopefully we'll put his most winning charming self into the digital realm, and then up on some website. I really don't know if the boys will take to him ever. We've had bad luck trying to integrate new cats before--not with this particular bunch, but with earlier cats we've owned. I think in the case of the Houdahenians, the little grey one, Mokey, might take to Kirby once he's big enough to at least relate as a cat (v. some little furry bit of prey). The two bigger black lads, Puzzle and Wuzzy, seem more seriously territorial and vie for dominance with each other. They're all very very sweet to humans--but they're built to kill things, don't like sensing a newby... Kirby is extremely docile right now, probably from being so totally captured, living in a kennel, and not having brothers to tussle and play with. The Boys raised each other, played constantly, kept each other engaged. Kirby is bored we think. Finding a better environment would be a really good thing for him. He's safe here, but not free enough.