Friday, November 15, 2019

                                                                                                                               Ozzie tormenting playing with Putty

2019, early winter
There is no sign or trace of my beloved stray.  I miss Putty.

When our daughter was in middle school, she wanted a cat so, we adopted a short-haired domestic cat named Ollie.  Not long after we brought him home from the Humane Society, a black and white stray with green eyes and a pink nose appeared at the deck door.  I called him Putty.  This adorable stray came to our house for food (which he received) and to hang out with Ollie, separated by the screen door.  They were pals, yet their friendship would be short-lived.

Ollie was happy and healthy but after eight years, he began to lose weight.  The blood tests revealed that his kidneys were failing.  He had about three months to live.

I wasn't prepared to lose Ollie.  We decided to follow the veterinarian's suggestion by giving him subcutaneous fluids which would extend his life.  But Ollie would not have it.  It made him miserable so, we decided to stop the treatment.  Poor little Ollie.  Towards the end of his life, he had no interest in eating or cleaning himself.  By Christmas, he weighed less than four pounds.

It was devastating to see Ollie suffer. I had to make the heartbreaking decision to put him down.  On that day, Putty came by.  It was like he knew he would never see his buddy again.  Having Putty on our deck comforted me during that difficult day.

For the next few months, the Mrvos house was quiet.  Too quiet.  I missed having a cat in the house.  So, in March we adopted Ozzie...and he and Putty became friends.  Safety separated by the screen door, Putty and Ozzie would play—well, Ozzie would play, meaning Ozzie tried to swat Putty's tail and Putty would look at him indifferently, like man, you are one crazy cat.

2019, early summer
One day in June, a large orange tomcat began to hang around our yard.  I made the mistake of feeding it one evening.  As a consequence, he claimed our yard as his own.  One morning the tomcat snuck up behind Putty and attacked him on the deck.  Luckily, I was able to break up the fight.  Putty seemed relatively unharmed; but a week later, another fight ensued while I was away.  When I returned, clumps of Putty's black and white fur clung to the grass by the driveway along with a smattering of orange fur.  It was apparent that Putty bore the brunt of the battle.  Since then, I haven't seen Putty.

2019, early fall
But I am hopeful he will return.

Neighbors one street over told me they had seen Putty shortly after the fight.  It was good to know that he survived the attack.  But it's been four months and Putty has not returned.

This is Kitty.  Could she be Putty's daughter?
She has green eyes, a pink nose
and the same facial marking as Putty.
Strangely, during Putty's absence another cat showed up at our house.  Since it's tiny, it may be a female.  I call it Kitty, not a remarkably creative name but it seems fitting.

Kitty looks like Putty. This little critter has big eyes that look like they've been marked with black eyeliner.  Its left ear had been clipped straight across.  This procedure, called ear-tipping, is performed while a cat is under anesthesia and indicates the cat has been spayed or neutered before it is re-released to the wild.  

Kitty is terribly shy, but it cautiously approaches the back door to be fed.  It is amazing to me that another cat "adopted" us so quickly after my stray disappeared.

This pretty cat brightens my day, though it will never replace Putty.  Because Putty was a character—from the way he meowed (deep, harsh and gravelly) to the way he slept on the deck with four paws pointing to the sky.

I constantly think about Putty.  Whenever I'm in the kitchen or taking a walk through the neighborhood, I am on the lookout for Putty.  Whenever I'm writing or relaxing at night with a book, I am thinking about Putty.

You may think it's strange that someone could be so attached to a stray.  But I think it's because I earned his trust.  At first, he would never approach me.  Over time, he came to me when I called him (he learned his name) and he let me pat his head.

One day I got an encouraging sign that my stray is safe, wherever he may be.  At lunchtime, I work the Jumble Daily Puzzle in the newspaper.  With this puzzle, one has to unscramble four words and then arrange the circled letters in the words to form a bonus answer.  The first scrambled word was UPTYT.  PUTTY.

2019, mid fall
While my husband and I were taking a walk, we spotted Putty four streets over from our house.  Putty turned to look at me when I called his name, but he didn't come close.  I was crushed.  Didn’t he recognize me?  Was he afraid of me?  Surprisingly, a few days later he trotted up to our deck.  I fed him and he ate well. But since that visit, he has not come back.

Maybe he is leery. Maybe bad memories of the cat attack prevent him from coming by more often—who really knows what a cat remembers?  But I hope that he will remember the Mrvos house as a place where he is always welcome.

2019, late fall 
I should be working on writing projects, updating my website, and concentrating on marketing.  But my mind drifts.  I find myself worrying about my adorable stray.  I miss his meow and his silly way of sleeping on the deck.  Kitty is sweet, but Putty stole my heart.

Many months have passed.  The temperatures are dipping into the low thirties.  I set up the heated cat house on the patio.  Hope gives me peace and strength and it keeps me going when all seems lost.  I am optimistic that Putty will return.

And when that day comes, there will be food, water, and shelter for Putty the cat.
✌ and 
November 15, 2019

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I am awestruck.  I am relieved.  I am grateful.

Early November, Putty returned. 

And you can beloved stray will be getting plenty of loving care.


Qu’est-ce qu’il est mignon! (He's so cute!) Dale H.

I always enjoy your writing. Nancy B.