So. For reasons not quite understood by me, I adopted two cats from the animal shelter last week. It wasn’t that I was lonely; I consider myself pretty much a loner and for the most part, I’m perfectly happy living alone. I’d prefer to live with Rickie but that’s not an option, so alone works for me. He was a bit of a loner also and that’s one reason we worked well as partners.
Part of my adopting the cats has to do with volunteering at the animal shelter each week with the group of gals and a few fellas that walk dogs. We also do mailings occasionally and there are some other events and a thrift shop that I’ve not worked with and really have no plans to. But being a volunteer, sooner or later, I feel like you have to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, and support the efforts of the organization you volunteer for.
So this quiet gray cat, with a reputation as a loner (you notice a theme here, right), named Heathcliff gave me a “who the hell are you and what the hell do you want” kind of stare one day. Naturally, I recognized a soulmate. After a few weeks, I heard myself say to the cat lady “l think I’d like to adopt Heathcliff.” Then I kind of looked around to see who was saying that. No one there but me. She said he had to go to a quiet home. He came back to the shelter after a previous adoption 7 months before that didn’t work well. He was starving and scared when he returned. Well, a quiet house is my house, so I said ok, we’re good.
Then she said well, would you take two? And I’m thinking, cat lady, I’m not even exactly sure why I’m taking one. But what I said was “sure, why not.” So Heathcliff and his best friend Solar came to live in the cabin with me a week ago. Solar, a black and white shorthair, is a curious cat and she made herself at home pretty quickly though she’s still a bit jumpy. She was named Solar because she came to the shelter on eclipse day. She had been there 5 months. I wanted to keep their names but Solar doesn’t roll off the tongue so well so I’m calling her Solo, at my daughter’s suggestion. Sort of keeping with the universe theme as naturally, it refers to Han Solo and could be a nickname for Solar. And she’s kind of the adventurous of the small pack of two. And Heathcliff is the brooding one as befits his name.
Heathcliff stayed in his carrier for three days then moved upstairs under the bed. After 3 days staying hidden there and only coming out at night, he began to come out during the day and evening. He listens when I talk to him, though he ignores what I say, and he won’t let me get near him. He’s still unsure about this whole sharing the cabin thing. He’d probably prefer me to move out. I give him his space because that’s what we do here.
Another reason that maybe contributed to the adoption was that I’ve always had wild animals to observe and interact with. I miss my wild turkeys from the ranch and naturally, I miss Woodrow and Gus. Though not the work and expense so much! I have a few deer here and some magpies and we heard gobblers last Spring, but I can’t feed any of these animals like I used to in Texas because of it drawing bears in. Then the bears get in trouble and Colorado has to kill them. So, cats are about as close to wild animals on a regular basis for me here.
But. I have a few rules we have to follow, at the same time as we have to keep it real. I’m a bit of an OCD gal as far as the cabin goes (don’t look in my car). Now that the cats have settled in some I made a couple of small changes. I shut them out of the den, although I’ll let them in if I’m in there. That room is so cold and I have to use a space heater to supplement the gas. I’ve had it running 24 hours a day since the cats arrived. With the expensive propane bill I can’t take a huge electric bill also. So we’ll mostly stay out of there. They don’t care anyway, their fave place is the loft.
I had a bench with a longhorn that looked like Gus on it by the stairs. They both like that bench and Solo will get on it and swat at Heathcliff on the stairs. But the material resembles very much a scratching post, and that was their observation, so I moved it to the foot of my bed and shut that door. I’ll let them in at night when the bench is covered with excess pillows and blankets. I like it there anyway.
I went to the antique store and found a little chest with a marble top - marble is one of my favorite things right now - and put it where the bench was. They can jump up there and no harm done. And I have a little more storage. There is an old newspaper from 1989 in the top drawer and I’ll keep it there. I don’t like the drawer handles. I had one antler knob left from the ranch closet and used it on the door. I’ll look for something similar and replace the handles.
I also found a wooden sled at the antique store. It’s not real old but I like it and it was reasonably priced. I’ve been trying to add a few Colorado things to the cabin. It’s made by a Colorado company called Mountain Boy Sledworks. They’ve been around since 2002. Some are made in Colorado and some in China. It doesn’t say on this sled. I also found some WWII 10th Mountain Division snowshoes which were cool. They were also $345 so they’re still at the antique store.
So the new residents of the Rockin’RS Western Division are gradually making themselves at home and we’re all three settling in for some possible snow over the next several days. I loaded up the firewood rack on the front porch, we have plenty of cat treats and people treats and I’ve got some new books to read. Solar has been observed watching a little television and Heathcliff is happy in his loft.
And so begins the winter of our content.
Are cats strange animals, or do they so resemble us that we find them curious as we do monkeys? John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent
The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer. Paula Poundstone