FROSTY, THE WANDERING VAGABOND CAT Copyright 2004, Michael LaRocca
For a long time, we had a four-pet home. Daisy border collie mix and Bebe dachshund/doberman mix. Witchie and Taz, Siamese couple. Pumpkin wandered into this mess for a disruptive while. What was especially disruptive is that Taz and Pumpkin, two males, became best buddies. Then Pumpkin left us.
Weeks later, Taz was still depressed. No more running up and down stairs and making weird noises at three in morning. Always looking out windows or at doors as if Pumpkin would show up at any moment. Witchie was happy, damn her, but Taz was miserable.
Finally, we visited Humane Society to bring home a new little buddy for my son Taz. Once again, things didn't quite work out as I'd planned.
A skinny white male with some black and brown highlights, one year old, told me with his eyes to stop looking at those other cats.
"You know you want me. That's right, me. Over here, you idiot. I'm cat you want."
Who was I to argue?
It seems that this fellow, Lucas, was adopted from Humane Society at six weeks of age. A year later, his parents moved into an apartment that didn't allow pets, so he was back.
We changed his name to Frosty. Don't ask me why.
There were two things I didn't realize about Frosty. He was much larger than Taz, and he had never lived with any animals except humans.
He adapted to dogs quickly. They tried to herd him like Pumpkin, but he simply stood his ground until they rushed past. Sometimes Bebe, being uncoordinated, crashed into him. This became new ritual, failed herding of Frosty.
Frosty first walked into my house knowing that he owned it. That was fine with Taz, but not with Witchie. Frosty was a bit taller than Siamese, and as I fed him he quickly grew larger than they were. He also had youth on his side, since he was one and Witchie was at least seven. She didn't care. She had to teach him his place, and that was that.
The war of wills was fun to watch. He trained Lisa and me quickly enough, and dogs, but Witchie was untrainable. So was Frosty, it turned out.
Witchie decided that Frosty wasn't allowed on floor. Whenever he sprang down from a piece of furniture, she charged at him hissing and swatting until he ran for dear life and sprang onto something else. This went on for months.
I think Taz tried to play with him once, but Frosty wasn't interested. Also, given his size and his attitude, he was scary. Taz was torn in his loyalties again, upsetting Witchie. If looks could kill, Witchie would be world's finest assassin.
In year that I owned him, Frosty left me one mouse, but that's only because he didn't catch very many. When he hunted, he got fat. When he was fat, he was too slow to catch mice. When he lost enough weight, after failing to catch mice, his speed returned and he caught them again. Lacking Pumpkin's natural camouflage, he didn't catch very many to begin with.
Finally, Witchie accepted him as a King worthy of Her Majesty Queen. They ruled their domain together, as reluctant equals. I'd have bet real money that such a thing was impossible. Young Taz, meanwhile, accepted his new role as Court Jester.
The rules at feeding time changed when Frosty arrived.
At a certain time of day, usually too dang early, Witchie demanded a can of food. Nobody can demand anything like a loud squawking Siamese, as their owners and neighbors can attest. I fed her and she ate her fill, which wasn't much. If food didn't meet with her approval, she ate none at all. She resumed demanding food instead, even more insulted than before. What a terrible affront it is to her dignity to feed her inadequate food.
I eventually learned that cats don't eat what they can't smell. As they get older, their sense of smell fades. In other words, stinky food is best.
I always fed Witchie on counter, for very obvious reason that dogs would steal her food otherwise. I also kept litter box off floor, because dogs were obsessed with it as well.
When Witchie finished eating, Taz ate two bites. He preferred crunchy dog food, which was fine with dogs, but he had to put in a little showing just on general principle. Then Daisy and Bebe fought for leftovers.