If you saw Sophie and McCloud together you would say, "those are cats of a different color." This is true- one is striped and lumpy and one is satin silver velvet, 4000 threads per inch. One weighs 22# and one weighs 8#. One lives for food and affection while the other lives for freedom, independence and the pursuit of voles. In other words, one is like a dog and the other is, well, a cat. An extremely intelligent feline of perfect form.
So, this move has been even more difficult for her than for me. She sleeps much of the day, as she has most of her life and then, as darkness falls, she unfurls, stretches and meanders towards the nearest door. And now, for the first time, the door does not open for her. There’s rat bait out in those alleys.
As you might expect she’s going through various phases of maladjustment and refusal to adapt. The first night it was disbelieve and shock. She spent the better part of 4 hours hanging from the screen, three feet off the ground, howling. The next few nights she regained her dignity but remained in denial as she tried to scoot out like greased lightening every time the door hinge creaked. Then she got depressed and slept a lot more. When she was awake, she was slinking around, low to the floor with her ears laid back.
I would say that her current phase is one of anger except that it’s not that obvious. It’s more like retribution and revenge and, while we were making some headway, there was a major set back the other night when she escaped.
Linda was visiting and we were in the living room fussing with the TIVO set up when I noticed that the screen to the courtyard door was open a crack. I glanced to my left, saw McCloud toppling over on the living room floor trying to launder his back, back to my right towards the door and I knew in an ohnosecond that the silver bullet was gone. Over the wall. On the lam.
Now, the courtyard is surrounded on all sides by 10 foot brick walls. On either side of our courtyard are more private courtyards, all surrounded by 10 foot brick walls. How far could a smallish grimalkin get in mere moments with these challenges, you ask?
We found her four courtyards over snuffling about at her leisure, checking out planters, children’s toys, fallen leaves…We ever so nonchalantly approached her, quietly chatting with each other, as though we had barely any interest in her at all. "So, how many rows do you do in garter stitch before you switch to, why look! here’s our little Sophie meandering about, I love your choice of yarn color…" This ploy worked for just a smidge as she looked up in happy recognition, raised her cheerful question mark tail and started walking towards me. Until she was three feet away and the light clicked on and bamm! Bloody hell if she was being taken that easily.
It took a fair amount of maneuvering before we had her cornered and just as I made my move she shot STRAIGHT UP the bricks, all ten feet of them, and dropped over into the next passageway, light as a feather. Eventually we trapped her; Linda was the one who got her because I think Sophie thought Linda might be the lesser of two challenges at that point. She passed her off and I carted her home with an iron grasp of her back and a firm grip to the scruff of her neck.
So now she’s really pissed. She’s had a taste of freedom, knows she can get over the wall and she’s being watched like a hawk. About the only fun she’s had the past few days was when I brought home rug samples and let her try them out. I didn’t count on her tearing them apart while we slept and it was a horrifying thing as I considered in the morning that we might have to pay for all these lovelies.
Yesterday we got this new toy for Sophie. Rich and I have gotten a lot of mileage out of it, batting at the balls, making nail sharpening and climbing motions, fluffing around bits of catnip on the platforms. Sophie has not looked at it once. Not once. Not a glance, a sniff, nor a hitch in her getalong as she makes her way to the courtyard door.