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12:33 am - Weds 10.26.2012
"Bella" And Me
Tues 10/22/12 (11:27 pm)

“Bella” And Me

I am thinking about a cat.

Night before last, I was going for a walk - I’d planned to go “the long way around” to Ralphs for some ice cream, then back home (That way I would get both exercise and ice cream - win/win) when I met a stray cat coming down the sidewalk the other way.

For whatever reason, I am kind of intrigued by stray cats - a discussion for another time - but have never, that I can recall, tried to actively befriend one (Worried, I guess, about getting scratched or bit, about fleas/disease, etc - As you know if you’re read much of my journal, I’m something of a “worrier”).

She - I think she’s a “she”, anyway - was clearly skittish about walking past me, and she probably would have just run away if I’d kept moving, so I stopped cold, and stood in place, not quite sure what I was doing, or what I expected to have happen, but feeling kind of excited, somehow.

(I feel stupid for having written that just now, but hey - I was.)

I think that left her a little nervous, me just standing there (Alternately looking at her, and pretending I wasn’t looking at her) but she was intrigued too; for a time, she still didn’t want to walk past me, then she did, very slowly and gingerly, prepared to bolt at any second.

Then she stopped just beyond me, then turned around and walked back, rubbing herself against some nearby shrubbery (a hedge which is her “house”, turns out).

We did a little “dance” for awhile - I started moving very slowly and talking very gently to her, stopping cold again if she startled - and eventually, she let me approach her, and I spent five or ten minutes talking to her and petting her (Most of the time, she would walk to me, maybe brush up against me, let me pet her or scratch her head, then walk away again, rub against her “house”, maybe meow, then walk back to me).

When I made to leave, she started following me, and I actually wondered “Do I have a cat now? Am I going to try to take her home with me?”.

I didn’t - she stopped, and I think I’d decided, on some level, that “If she follows me home, she’s (maybe) mine, but I’m not going to try to kidnap her” (Though I guess technically you can’t “kidnap” a stray cat, can you? But you know what I mean).

I thought about her all through the day yesterday, and in the evening, I went back to where I’d seen her - I didn’t realize at the time that she actually lived in the hedge I’d watched her “marking”, so I assumed it was unlikely I’d happen across her again...but just in case, I’d brought a plastic container with some tuna (Not looking to “bribe” her, exactly - In “the cold light of day” it didn’t seem like a great idea to just bring home a stray cat on impulse, without knowing anything about the potential “issues” involved - but yeah, kind of bribing her).

I saw her come out of the hedge and said, “Hey - Hi there!”...which startled her back into the hedge for a few minutes.

The hedge is next to a building that has a handicap ramp, and this time, I noticed that, along the edge of the ramp, there were a number of small bowls - this was apparently a little “kitchen” for all the neighborhood strays (There were maybe a half-dozen plastic bowls of water, and a small pile of dry food at the end), and I felt a little silly for thinking I was doing some special “thing” in giving a stray cat some food.

At one point, she started to venture out again, and I thought the lure of the tuna would get her (I had it at the end of the series of water bowls closest to her), but I don’t think she could smell it from where she was - not sure the wind was going the right way - so when she ducked back into the hedge, I brought it closer to her, right at the end of the hedge, and stood a little ways away, against the wall.

Then she did come back out, and once she was certain everything was okay, she went to town on the tuna.

As she ate, I eased myself down onto the ground, and scooted closer to her, and petted her a little, but mostly waited till she was done.

Afterward, I petted her and scratched her head and neck (Happily, she didn’t seem to be scratching herself too much...though if I keep visiting her, I’m considering taking some flea stuff along with me at some point).

She’s a nice looking cat (Not white, exactly, but very light-colored, with some light orange markings, and an orange tail), doesn’t look too skinny or beat-up, doesn’t seem sick or hurt that I can tell, and is “skittish”, like I said, but doesn’t seem “wild” or “feral” or whatever (Clearly, since it didn’t take that much work for me to be able to approach her).

Again, when I made to leave, she followed me a little ways, then just sat on the sidewalk as I said my goodbyes, and stayed there until I was a block or so down the street.

Like I said, I’ve never done this before, and I feel a little weird about it (I feel kind of weird that I’m writing about it. I don’t know why I’m embarrassed...but I’m really embarrassed).

Weds 10/24/12 (8:34 pm)

Well, I decided to “take the bull by the horns” with my newfound stray-cat friend (Who I’ve named “Bella”) - This afternoon, I bought some food and cat litter, then earlier this evening, I took the car (And a box) , the idea being to get Bella into the box, then into my car, then into my apartment.

It didn’t work out so well.

Basically, I rushed things - Both in the sense of the big “plan” (Should have waited, gone to Petco, gotten a cheap cat-carrier, and went from there, but I didn’t do that), and in the sense of doing the opposite of what got Bella to trust me in the first place, which was moving very slowly and letting her set the pace; instead, after just a few minutes of talking to her and petting her, I grabbed her and tried to muscle her into the box.

When I decided to forgo the box and just try to get her into the car, parked just a few feet away at the curb, that didn’t go any better.

Writing about this now, I’m wondering what the hell was going on in my head - I mean, “This isn’t rocket science”, as they way; Set out a cat carrier with some tuna, or sardines, or something inside, nonchalantly wait close by, then when she takes the bait, close the door behind her, and... “the deed is done”.

But anyway, that’s how that went, and now I’m pondering my options - Do I take another stab at it, content myself with just “stopping by” from time to time, think about perhaps getting a shelter cat, or “none of the above”?

I’m not sure exactly how or why I’m here, but something about this set of circumstances has “pushed some buttons”.

But I set the “circumstances” in motion, so apparently, I wanted some “buttons” to be pushed.


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