|Sweetie napping in the garden|
|Patty and Me; he's smiling...and so am I|
In a perfect world, I would throw open the door, and invite them inside. They could stay as long as they liked, and if they never want to go back out again, I would be happy to let them live with me forever.
However, the reality is that I already have two cats inside, and a stay-at-home hubby. I am the one who comes and goes to the office, and spends less time in the house. When we adopted Angel and Chuck over ten years ago, they were inside-only and we humans foolishly considered our cat quota as met. The first ferals (the late, great George and Hobo) were really skittish, and did not want human contact. As the years rolled by, Sweetie, then Sammy, and lastly Patty came along. They all used to run away from us, so we trapped 'em and fixed 'em, and figured a box with straw and some food would serve.
Yet Patty began to allow me to gently pet him, then hug him, and now we smooch and snuggle. When Sweetie and Sammy saw what he was doing, they too joined in and I petted them and we became FRIENDS. They run down the driveway when my car pulls up, and they meow and dance for me! But the set up was for wild, unsocial cats! My first priority must be Angel and Chuck, and yet these wonderful 'o' cats are only a hairs-breadth lower on the scale. I think that I grieve for them, as each passing day gets colder, and I feel like I'm the bad guy.
Of course, they made it through last year's brutal winter; even Sammy who was probably rather sick the whole time lived through it. So why do I worry so? Hmm, if I could figure that out, then I wouldn't be writing about my pangs of terror when the winds blow, or how I wrap myself in multiple coats, boots, hats and scarves just to give them a fresh bucket of water. I scrape ice, I sweep debris, and I shovel lots of snow to make paths so the cats can get through the drifts. I add L-lysine and Vitamin C to their wet food, and in the really, really cold I heat up the bowls AND food, so they aren't living on kibble only.
And yet, it's not enough. But do I pine and struggle for them, or for me? They have everything they need; I do not. I do not have them jump on my bed, or sing the song of their people at 3 a.m. We don't LIVE together. Such a conundrum, and it's beginning again. Do they have crazy-lady-with-cats happy pills? I think they do...
P.S. Today, the hubby and I finished insulating the Cat Hotel, and I filled both floors with straw. The lower floor also has the warming pad. Last thing to do is to put up a wind break on the second floor entrance. Patty sat on the deck and watched us, while Sweetie lounged in the yard. My fear is that they will abandon the Hotel any time we do something to it. The overnight lows are staying above freezing for a few days longer, so if they need a day or two to courageously go back inside it, the temps aren't too bad. Do you see how I am?