Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday Offerings

It’s no secret; I am a dog person. In fact, I have never made any bones about the fact that I am a dog person. I like dogs, so sue me. Big, smelly, tennis-ball-chasing, tail-wagging dogs. The slobbery-er the better. I had a dog growing up, and Blaine and I have had (and adored) two dogs. It’s what we’re comfortable with … it’s what we KNOW.

My kids, on the other hand, love all kinds of animals and would have a veritable menagerie of pets if allowed. I’ve put my food firmly down on any kind of bird, rodent, or reptile, so the only thing left is a cat. Which they have asked for many times over the years, and to which the answer has always been a resounding no. I’ll admit it, I don’t like cats. I mean, it’s not like I *hate* them, or try to hit them with my car, or kick them or anything. I just have no desire to have one as a pet. Ever. For any reason. They’re too snooty, and they won’t play fetch, and the whole litter box situation intimidates me. I’m simply not interested in having a cat. Unless maybe I lived out in the country and my house was overrun with mice. THEN, I might get a cat. But I would probably try mice-traps first. (Pain free, no-kill mice traps, all you PETA people can get off my back already.)

So imagine my surprise and pleasure (not) when a stray cat showed up to our house shortly after we moved in. At first I thought perhaps the previous owners had left him behind, considering we found a food bowl on our patio, but inquiries to our new neighbors led us to understand that it was a neighborhood cat and didn’t belong to anyone. I wasn’t sure where it slept, and I had no idea who took care of it, but quite frankly, it wasn’t my concern.

About that time is when Lager died, and my kids, Brayden especially, latched on to this neighborhood cat. It’s a black cat, so of course, she named him “Blackie”. (Original, no?) And every now and then we would catch her leaving out bowls of milk, or sneaking him food, and every time we would tell her to stop, because everyone knows if you feed a cat it’s yours forever. Plus, it was really frustrating to go in the kitchen to make myself a ham sandwich and discover all the ham was gone.

Blackie often hung out in the garage with the kids, and he made his disdain for Blaine and I very clearly known. Although he would let the kids hold him and pet him and carry him around, he would scram whenever Blaine or I came outside. Usually curling his lip in contempt at us before running off. I swear, curling his lip at us. See? I told you, cats are snooty. And I kept insisting that there was no way that cat was a stray, because he wasn’t skinny enough. He was obviously sleeping SOMEWHERE and staying warm and dry, and besides, aren’t stray cats sort of hissy and mean? But this cat was very good with the kids, much to their delight.

Then, about a month ago, Brayden came to me very upset because it appeared Blackie had hurt his paw. He was limping and not putting any weight on it and she was very worried that he had been injured and would die. She kept asking me if we could take him to the vet, even though he didn’t belong to us, to make sure he was ok. Obviously, I didn’t want the animal to be in pain, contemptuous lip notwithstanding, but all I could think of was that as a stray, we would probably be slapped with a huge bill for all kinds of shots and immunizations. Or whatever they call vaccinations for cats. And I’m sorry, not to be cheap, but I didn’t want to get stuck with a vet bill for hundreds of dollars for a cat that didn’t even like me, let alone belong to me.

His little limping figure did sort of make me feel bad, though, especially once we realized he had been sleeping under our shed all winter. So I finally caved and agreed we could feed him. I bought a bunch of cat food, which can I just tell you, is SO much cheaper than dog food! Or maybe it’s just that Blackie weighs one-sixth of what Lager did, so he doesn’t eat as much … who knows? The first time Brayden took a bowl of dry cat food outside, the animal fell upon it like he had never seen food before. That night she gave him a can of food and I swear, if a cat could pick up a bowl and lick it clean, Blackie would have done so. Honestly, it made me feel guilty about not feeding him before … although I swear he is not that skinny. Maybe he’s got families all up and down our street feeling sorry for him and feeding him at the same time, like some kind of stray cat scam or something, I don’t know.

The kids made a box for Blackie with a blanket in it so he could sleep in our garage and stay warmer. We don't have one of those swinging kitty doors, however, so the first two nights he stayed in the garage he pooped on the floor, which didn't exactly endear him to Blaine. And now it's warmer, so boom, right back outside he went.

Then, a few times, Brayden would be running late for school and not have time to feed him. I believe if an animal depends on you for food, and you’ve been supplying that food on a regular basis, then it’s your responsibility to continue. So on those mornings she would run late, I would take the food out to Blackie. At first he would run away, coming back for the food only after I was gone. Then he began to stay just long enough to eat (curling his lip all the while) and eventually, it reached the point where he would stay in the garage with me there. I’m still not interested in having a cat for a pet, but at least he no longer makes me feel like an animal abuser any more by running for the hills whenever I show my face.

Then, this morning, there was a dead bird laid atop my door step inside the garage --- an offering from Blackie.

I think the cat might like me after all.

Unless his goal was to give me a heart attack when I opened the back door and went outside, almost stepping on the dead bird, in which case he came very close to succeeding.

(Geez, does that make him officially our pet? And I’m STILL going to get stuck with a vet bill at some point, aren’t I?)


Anonymous said...

He's yours! Having picked up 4 strays myself (who now sleep on my couch, bed, chair, etc.) I can assure you that the dead bird on the doorstep offering has sealed the deal. But have to say, you might be surprised at how much fun you can have with said stray. I taught one of mine (black as well) to play fetch which was quite the party conversation starter, and one sings (yowls) whenever I play Van Halen on the radio and David Lee Roth hits the high notes. :)
As to the litter pan, I trained them all to go outside like a dog (they cry by the back door to go out) and I have NEVER had a pan in the house nor any accidents. Face it Krisitie, you are coming over to the dark side!

Stephanie in Portland

Grandma J said...

Somehow I knew I was the only person up so early.
Your kitty sounds cute. At least cats don't require the same level of care as dogs.Did the paw heal? Is that what you call a cat's foot?
I'm not a cat person either but back in SoCA, living in an apartment, my neighbors daughter brought home a tiny black kitten. This family wasn't into pets, and they left the front door open probably hoping the cat would leave. This kitten never wandered past the landing we shared. At the time, I still had my old dog, who never understood cats. He used to try to play with (and kiss on the face) my sisters cats, but they would hiss and claw him. So, he was very leery of cats. This kitten, would follow us when we went for our walks, she was very curious and approach dog was afraid! Fast forward a couple of weeks, I would come home to this kitten in my apartment, cuddling up with my aged dog. I had a second story apartment, and I left the slider to the balcony open for the dog, and this cat would leap, climb or fly somehow to that balcony to gain entrance to my apartment. I finally got used to this cat, who thought she was a dog. My dog grew to really like her. She basically tried to mimic him, and followed us on our walks with the same cadence as my arthritic dog. Long story short, this family took her to the pound one day and I didn't realize it until I asked where Raven (the cat's name) was. Oh yeah, Raven used to be waiting by my car in the morning, to say good bye when I went to work. I think the reason I liked her is because she thought she was a dog.
Have fun Kristie...I think you like Blackie.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a new family member! I keep waiting for the entry that tells us that you have a new dog! :)

Gayle in AL

Marsha said...

In the past eight weeks, I have received two dead baby rabbits, one was headless on my front porch Easter morning (a whole new take on the Easter bunny thing don't ya think?), one nearly dead bird (in my house being batted around with feathers flying in the corner of my computer room and yes, the bird died almost as soon as I stopped the tennis match between the cat's two front paws, probably from shock and I still haven't figured out how he got the bird in the house without my knowing it), at least a half dozen lizards on the back porch, a couple of mice and a mole... I think you've got a ways to go before you can feel confident that Blackie loves you the way Mr. Woody K. Nibs loves me! lol

And yes, you're going to get stuck with a vet bill!

Beth said...

Sorry to say (and I can speak with some authority since I am a cat person :)), but you have been chosen by the Stray Cat Network (it's a very hush hush underground cat-only group) to be the family for Blackie. Clearly, your profile went to SCN and was found to be a good fit. SCN is particularly good at preying on children's emotions -- so basically, friend, you're screwed. You might as well give up -- SCN is more powerful than you and Blaine can ever hope to be. Welcome Blackie Escoe! And if Blackie is at all smart, he'll stop curling his lip and start ingratiating himself with you guys. And yeah, the vet bill will be ginormous. Resistance is futile.

Anonymous said...

I am not a cat person, but did it for the kids. I rescued two kittens from a drug house 9 years ago. Chandler and Phoebe (my kids were into "Friends".)

Chandler catches paper balls by snagging them in mid-air with his claws and Phoebe retrieves paper balls. Both of them are a riot, have routines, and are great to sleep on your tummy during cold weather and when I had cramps. (Really, a purring heating pad works wonders!)

I love the cats but would be really happy for them if a little old lady who has lots of time to sit around and hold these felines would adopt them. Kids are gone, cramps are gone, kitties should be gone!

Nah, I'm keeping them because they make me laugh, staring at nothing, having 10:30 p.m. crazies where they dart and dash through the house as if aliens are after them, trying to paw the cursor on my monitor. The fun never ends!

Enjoy Blackie Kristi...he's a lucky cat to live one of his nine lives in your family!

PS: I'm sure you know this, but in case not it is important for you to hear. With your surrogacy plans stay away from the litter box (if there is one) due to toxoplasmosis.

Katie said...

Ha. Cats are fickle, but when they love you, they do so unconditionally. You just have to get to know them.

And believe me, the cat's offering could be worse. Mine once dropped a very dead, decaying, bloated lizard, IN MY BED. And my God was she proud of herself.

Congrats on being a cat owner. You'll love it before you know it.

Patty House said...

LOL! I am the opposite of you. I'm a cat person and cannot stand to be licked by a dog.
A few weeks ago, we were walking in our local state park and guess what came running up to us. A coon dog. He must still be a puppy, but is as tall as my 4 year old great nephew.

Guess what we kept. Yes, the dog. Not only did we keep the dog, but we had him neutered And he LIVES IN OUR HOUSE! Oh good heavens, help me. lol! He sleeps on the floor at the foot of our bed on a nice doggy bed we bought him.

I'm starting to warm up to him, but still almost freak when he licks me...floor time is out for me because that is the first thing he does...right after he licks his butt. Ick. ;)

The cat we have (indoors as well) is also a stray. We found her on the road. She had hitched a ride on a car and fell off. Took us 3 days to get her to where she could breath out of her nose...that was almost 2 years ago.
We are suckers for stray animals. I agree though, no birds, rodents or reptiles!!

Patty in Indiana

Anonymous said...

No going back now! Yes, expect a big vet bill. Your update made me smile and laugh, but then you know how much of a cat person I am. If Blackie is an outdoor cat, expect more "gifts". Since my cats live inside "that" has happened only once when Sophie found a live lizard in the garage. Of course she had to bring it inside the house. It was quite a chase!

Postcard Cindy, the cat lover!

Anonymous said...

As an official cat person (we have 3 at the moment) I can tell you that the dead bird means that Blackie has now accepted you as "owner".

You may now access your checking account for the huge vet bill.

But, don't worry, Blackie will thank you bringing more dead birds and probably mice, too.


Anonymous said...

Kristie -

Expect a bill, but it certainly won't be anything near what you'd pay for your dog.

6 years ago, we did something similar. Neither of us had ever had a cat, didn't care to have a cat and this stray showed up.

Long story short (and a lot of time to gain her trust) and she uses a litter box in the garage or our yard. She sleeps in a box of blankets in the garage and is such a sweet, sweet cat.

We all love her and couldn't imagine life without her. Not only is the food cheaper, but so is everything else.

We took her to the vet about a year into her being with us and had her shots updated and her fixed. She broke a hip about 6 months later and that still didn't cost what one of the normal vet bills for our dog would have cost.

Put a litter box out in your garage and that will prevent the accidents.

Kristin in NC

Anonymous said...

That is such a cute story. Yes, I would say you are now officially owned by a cat. You know that you don't own cats, right? They own you.

I have a similar story on my blog about how we can to own our "ugly puppy." Please take a look But, don't tell anyone, if they think you're taking time from writing to read my blog, I might get mean comments, lol.

Have nice Sunday. Do something fun and tell us about it :-)

Sheri in CA

Susan in Round Rock, TX said...

Kristie - I too am a dog lover. Have two big slobbery ones that I love. I felt and continue to feel the same way you do about cats. I don't like any animal that feels like I should serve it. I am the human. Well this black cat strayed onto our yard and my kids were like "Mom can we feed it?" Being that I think nothing should starve I agreed but reluctantly. Then before you know it the kids start talking about how the cat looks pregnant. No way! Not having kittens! I don't even want 1 much less a whole litter. Well, three weeks ago the cat blessed us with 5 kittens. So now not only do I have a cat I don't want, but I have 5 offspring to deal with too!

Jennifer said...

Oh you will get suck with Vet bill!! I had to laugh the whole way through this one. Brayden is just like me. Except my moms benefit was that my dad is a Vet. (Large animal). But he still treats small ones too. I would ride on vet calls with my dad, find a sick cat and beg for him to give it a shot of distemper or what ever it needed. My dad laughs now because he said he quit tkaing me becasue he was curing too many cats for free!!! Also growing up on a farm, my mom said no indoor cats. It would -30 degrees and she would come upstairs and wouldn't you know that I have 14 cats hid in my room because I was fearful they would all die! By the time I was all said and done I had 2 indoor cats. Watch out!!! It will happen!!

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon he'll be rubbing up against your legs. He's is a HE isn't he???


Anonymous said...

He's adopted you!

My son could take a lesson from your kids... he named our cat (who has slowly worked her way from "farm cat" to house cat in about 6 mo... but has house trained herself, so I don't argue) Golf Ball. We don't play golf, so I have no idea where that came from! Golf Ball knows that my husband isn't crazy about her coming in the house, so she had kittens in his closet 2 weeks ago!

Have fun with Blackie. Stray animals are the best kind.


Tammy said...

Ohhh, I feel your pain. We really did not have tons of critters darkening our doors. Until we moved to the country. The kids will come screaming and tearing into the house for me to come see the "newest" critter to have found its way through our property. I had to go see what all the commotion was about only a few weeks ago. Lo and behold, there was a scraggly looking beagle sitting in our rubbermaid container of guinea pig bedding. The kids were creating a little cozy spot for the dog where he/she could be hand fed and comfortable. Fortunately the dog scooted on its merry way.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I feel your pain. I have 2 indoor only cats I've had for years. We've been feeding a stray that suddenly showed up about 6 months ago. We finally took her to the vet for shots and spaying, only to find out that 'she' was a 'he' who has been neutered at some point in the past. Guess someone just dumped him off in the neighborhood, since no one knows where he came from. Since we have now put a collar and tags on him, I guess he's ours, despite me not wanting a third cat!


Rockess said...

Blackie is yours now!

Perhaps he was curling his lip at you all those times because he knew that you didn't like him? But once he figured you were softening to him, he stopped?

DH (who was a self professed cat hater) got me a cat 4 years ago when he started traveling. We were living in an apartment and couldn't have a dog, and really, I didn't want to have to walk a dog on the cold winter nights. DH was pretty sure he was going to peacefully co-exist with the cat, but that they wouldn't get along. It took about 6 months, but to this day, he remains her favorite, and he totally dotes on her. I make fun of him for it al that time.

Enjoy Blackie. I think you'll be surprised how much fun a cat can be!

Cathy in MI said...

We need a picture! If you need another kitten or two let me know - our cat just had kittens and they are ready to leave their mama anytime now! Our cats are outside ALL the time and never run away. That amazes me. I wonder if our neighbors ever end up feeding them?

Anonymous said...

I admit that I am a "cat person" as that is all we had when I was growing up. Our neighbors didn't like dogs and my Dad didn't think it was right to fence them in or tie them up. My current cat "Bob", has more personality than any I have ever had. My husband is a dog person, but Bob LOVES him. Bob wakes him up at 5:30 EVERY morning, sitting by his pillow meowing until he gives up, gets up and they watch Fox news together. Then Bob eats on the bathroom counter while my Husband shaves. Bob will sit with him in the den every evening "talking" to him as they watch tv, literally meowing to him to carry on a conversation. He follows him from room to room and plays fetch. My husband says he that Bob is just like our teenage daughter in that he always has to have the last word/meow. Periodically, my children or I will take pity and rescue him from Bob as the devotion never wavers. I guess, as with all animals, it just depends on the personality of each individual pet. Also, having had 3 dogs and 2 cats..... cats ARE cheaper.

Martha said...

Firt time to comment.

I just wanted to say...

Cats are people too!


Dianna in Louisiana said...

He had you at dead bird, eh Kristie.... My husband held your same stance on cats. That is until he realized that we could keep cats outside and don't have to pick up their poop. We adopted to "farm cats" from the pound, one of which became a traveling cat two years after we got her (i.e. she got run over by a car :(. We've also adopted other strays who have made our carport their own.

Rene S said...

OK, you have to find the children's book, My Big Dog, by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel. It is written from the perspective of Merl, the very special cat. It captures a cat's personality and being the new owner of a cat, you just might be able to appreciate it.

Sorry your comments drop off when writing about surrogacy. Maybe others are like me and want to be cautious about saying something unintentionally hurtful with stupid questions/comments! I figure if I keep waiting, you'll get to my question! Thanks for continuing to tell your story. As I've said before, I'm really enjoying it.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the cat owners club. I am a Cat person I have had many and they can be rather comical. I had one that sounded like a baby crying when he would meow. He also would open the cabinet for food with his paw and stare at you when he was hungry. He ate can food picking up each bite with his paw. He also left many offerings a few moles and lizards and when my dad went squirrel hunting and came back with nothing he went to put his hunting gear on the back porch and there sat that cat all proud with the biggest squirrel. I will tell you every cat I Had was loving and loyal.

Kim from Tx

lizinsumner said...

Okay, my dear cyber-friend - being a life-long, absolute and total cat LOVER, imagine my abject disappointment when I clicked onto you (like I do almost every day!!) and found, to my horror, that you don't like cats!!!! Oh, the horror! I'm not even going to TELL Elvis (my current cat!). I am never without a cat. I love cats. And, because you have now become one of us, de-facto and courtesy of Blackie, I will continue to love you. If Blackie left you a gift, then you are now his, no question about it. Give him a chance - he may just grow on you. Oh, and stray cats aren't necessarily mean - but, feral cats are. Blackie doesn't sound feral. Did you get his poor little paw looked at? Or did it heal on it's own? Please tell Brayden that I've had several black cats - the first one being named "Spooker" (another original black cat name!) and the last being named Kit by my son Jake, but whom I called babycat, because he was younger than my eldest cat Nicodemus.....sadly, both are no longer with us. But, Elvis is - and he's king of THIS castle, make no mistake about it! He brings his gifts inside to me - often when they're still warm, and twitching! So, way-to-go Blackie! You've found yourself a GOOD home.

Anonymous said...

I was so not a cat person, but a huge Maine Coon (looked like a raccoon and weighed 23 pounds) started hanging around our backyard. We called the vet number on his tag and his old owners had blown town. He adopted us, we named him Kitty and fell in love with him. We had new neighbors but it took a whole year to figure out that he had belonged to them, by that time we weren't giving him up! We had him for 12 years before he died at the age of 18. Our "nephew" cat then came to stay with us for months at a time (he hated living in Fargo, no social life) and he would tuck me in at night and kiss me good night. We are now on our third cat (me, the non-cat-person) and she's great. She will even sit in the bathtub while I wash my hair under the faucet. She's too big a chicken to go outside, so hopefully we'll never have to deal with "gifts". The time the dog brought a baby bunny into the house was enough "gift" to last me forever. Yep, pretty soon Blackie will be all settled in, curling up in Blaine's favorite chair!!!

Pam Doughty said...

Blackie will love you forever... especially since HE chose YOU and not the other way around! Congratulations to the Escoe family; you are very special to be chosen by a kitty (and a handsome black hunter, at that!). Makes me smile....

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the new member of your family!! :) The dead bird definitly sealed the deal. Getting a dead animal from a cat is like, getting a marriage proposal. (And there's no way to say 'no'.) I totally not wanting to foot the vet bill for an unintentinal pet, but I have to recommend a rabies shot at the very least;especially considering Blackie is mostly an outdoor cat and all the kids play with him.

I think you might be surprised the joy a cat can bring. Of course, I'm biased. If you can live with the snottiness, cats can be extremely affectionate and are of course, very playful. I hope Blackie can completely win you over soon!

Cape Cod, MA

Anonymous said...

Our cat, Paisley, loves to play fetch. Whenever we crumple a piece of paper she makess a beeline for it. She is also very found of playing fetch with a Polly Pocket sized cloth dress. That doesn't throw very easily but she loves carrying it around. She typically chases the paper ball and brings it back to us until she is worn out, or until our dog grabs it slobbers on it, and sometimes eats it. They have a love hate relationship.


Ann from St. Peter said...

Oh - you SO own a cat now! Congrats on developing the relationship to the point where he is bringing gifts - that actually is a great honor! Oh - by the way, you don't really own him, but in Blackie's pointy little head, he will allow you to co-exist in his realm.

Anonymous said...

Strays are how we ended up with 30+ cats on our farm at times growing up.

I am SO happy that Skittles the cat only brings her stuffed bear to the "chosen" family member each night. I have a major bird-phobia and I think I would have had a heart attack on the spot if I'd have stepped on her bird!

I am not an indoor pet person but in the spirit of the kids wanting a pet, we compromised on the cat because they are more independent than a dog and frankly, cleaning fish tanks sucks!

Hope you enjoy (or can tolerate) the new family member!!


Tammy said...

Kristi, I just had to leave a comment! Cats can be just like dogs, you can teach them to fetch, and go to the door when they want to potty! My cat thinks he's a dog, now he can be a pain in the butt sitting at the door, meowing, in and out all the time, but I have no litter box in the house! And by the way, I used to dislike cats also! He'll grow on you, trust me. There's not a live rat anywhere near my house, we find them all the time out in the yard, good ol'e kitty boy is earning his keep, and he likes birds too! Good boy! Hugs from Fort Worth!

new mom in law said...

I HATE cats. You are a saint.
Angela Conklin
NC friend thru your entries

Anonymous said...

Im a cat person, always have been. But for some reason I have 3stinky dogs and only 1 cat. go figure. If I could find a home for the lab we took in (because he was going to be be put in a shelter and I felt bad) I would get another cat in a heartbeat.

She is MY cat and she knows it! And yep, she acts like a dog. The daschund LOVES, LOVES, LOVES her and comes to her defense any time the lab pesters her. I guess because she was only 4 weeks old when we found her Katie (the daschund) just kind of took her in as her baby.

I've just never understood how people dont like cats. They have such fun, mischevious, curious, playful personalities. (much cooler than dogs if you ask me)

Trish in Leeburg, VA said...

oh yeah... that vert bill is definitely in your future! We have a cat- she's 6 1/2 now. She has always been our princess and treated as such, but she always returns the love with much cuddling and purring. She is not the typical stand-offish cat. Since the arrival of the baby, she keeps a bit more to herself, but it is more in fear of what the child can do to her. Hoping as the baby gets older they will be better friends. Raegan sure tries, but the cat just isn't all that interested yet.