Unwelcome Adventure

I had thought my 2 a.m. adventure on the way home from work would start and end with the crazy icicles on the outside of the building.

But the icicles were just a hint of the cold yet to come.

When I got home, I noticed a glow in the snow outside my door, before I could see the actual door.  I was relieved when the snowplow passed by, taking its lights away, but the relief was short-lived, as the glow was still there.

Apparently, I had not shut my door tightly when I locked it on the way to work  The door was wide open, and a 2-liter bottle of diet Pepsi was frozen and exploded in the entryway. There was dirty snow on and around the cat’s scratching post. A shrill squealing noise was coming from the living room. After a couple of minutes of frantic searching, I discovered it was coming from my exercise bike. I hit a couple of buttons and it went away.

Then it was time for heat. I have two excellent space heaters, thank goodness. I pulled my bedroom one into the entryway and turned it on. The display read 32 degrees.

I turned the one on in the living room. It also read 32 degrees, even though the living room was warmer, so I figured 32 must be the lowest it registers. The actual thermostat on the wall in the entryway only goes down to 40, so that was pointless to consult.

The living room heater read 34 almost right away, then 38, where it stayed for a while, creeping up as time passed, one degree at a time.

I had encountered my regular visitor, the stray cat I call DK (short for  Dumpster Kitty), on the way in. Obviously he had let himself in. He and my two cats were wandering about, acting a little odd — probably that shrill noise had scared them, I figured.

But after I set the living room heater and turned to the other end of the room, I saw another reason.

There was a FOURTH CAT, a smallish black short-haired cat, sitting in the corner next to my couch and looking up at me.

“Well, that’s great,” I thought. I already have one stray cat I don’t want to keep. Why not another?

And one by one, my cats came to greet her.

She and Max touched noses, and Max then climbed up on the arm of the couch to peer down at her.

Zelda came nose to nose with her, too, which surprised me a little.

It was pretty obvious the new cat was terrified, too.

Then along came DK, who growled at her. Yay — the stray cat is getting territorial with a new stray cat.

The cat did not want anything from me — not food, not treats, not petting, but she did want out. At some point, she made her way to the other end of my apartment, screaming at one, two or all three of the cats along the way, and entered my bedroom, where she sat on a cat pillow in the window and started trying to claw her way out. When I tried to befriend her so I could show her the door, she ran back the other way, down to the spare bedroom. I was about to go open the outer door and grab a broom to shoo her outside when I saw she had gotten halfway down the length of the apartment again. I maneuvered her into the entry way, walked past her, opened the door and watched her make a beeline for outside. She ended up under the neighbor’s truck, so I am hoping she is the cat I see often in their window.

It’s now 5:30 a.m. The temp in the living room is 58. The entryway warmed up to 38 half an hour ago and now has hit 44.  I’m still wearing my jacket, and I added a pair of snowpants  and an extra pair of socks. My blanket and comforter from my bedroom are warming up on the floor in front of the living-room heater. The spare bedroom that I will sleep in is the farthest part of the house away from the door and will probably be OK to sleep in.

And there’s cat puke on the top sheet.

So much for a top sheet. At least the puke was dry and easily scraped off.

On a more positive note, I am eating klub (from a mix, not homemade, so not nearly as good, but still tastes delicious). It was exactly what I’d planned to do when I got home, although it was going to happen three hours ago while sitting back with my feet up watching an episode  of “Wire in the Blood” from my Netflix Instant Watch queue.

The Cat Came Back (but not the very next day)

A familiar “voice” made my heart go pitter-pat around 4 a.m.

After a late night at work, I was heading into my house near downtown when I heard the “meow” I’d been listening for each night for about a week. And there he was, happy Dumpster Kitty, aka Orange Kitty, ready to come back in my house for the night. And I still don’t really what to do with him — does anyone know this cat? I’m never quite sure if he’s a stray or if his people just put him out at night, not realizing he goes to my house to come in and stay warm for the night.

After some food and water and petting and meowing, DK curled up in his favorite resting spot, a cat bed tucked under a table in the living room, and I pondered where he might have been.

DK’s story is a mystery to me. I’d seen him around for quite a while, usually finding something to eat in the Dumpster in my parking lot. I felt sorry for him, so I started to give him a can of food now and then. Eventually, the can of cat food wound up outside my door. As it got colder, I felt more sorry for him, and I made him a little shelter with a tote tipped on its side with a fuzzy sweater inside and a little blanket for a “door.” And eventually, I let him in the house for a bit, then for a bit longer, and finally, he was staying overnight, while my cats gradually became used to him. My granddaughter got to meet him one weekend, too.

My cats seem enamored with DK's tail.

Zelda, my tabby, is fairly new to getting this close to DK, but Max has been nose to nose with him since close to the beginning, mostly because DK likes to rub heads with him. I initially thought it was going to be a disaster, with all the hissing and growling from Max, but I hardly ever hear anymore. And Zelda, who first hid the entire length of the apartment, later stayed only one room away, and then consented to be on opposite sides of the same room, and now is OK with being a few feet away and occasionally having very brief contact. Like, two seconds!

I took my cats to the vet last week, and the vet thought it might not be a good idea to have my indoor cats mix with an outdoor cat, specifically because of the danger of feline leukemia, which indoor cats are not generally vaccinated against. So I hemmed and hawed over what to do. Then I heard DK outside the next night … and didn’t open the door. A couple of hours later, I decided I would let him in and take him to the vet for a test/vaccination the next day. But he never came back, not that night, or the next, all through the New Year’s weekend, and to the next Wednesday.

I felt awful for not having let him in that one night, and wondered day after day what could have become of him. And suddenly, there he was, and now he’s curled up under my feet. And I’ll take him to the vet tomorrow finally, hoping the feline leukemia test will be negative.

UPDATE: Just got back from Animal Care Clinic, where DK tested negative for feline leukemia/FIV/heartwork and was then vaccinated against the same (he needs a booster in three weeks). Jan at the clinic also noticed he was neutered, which is good. He was really good there. I still can’t rule out the possibility that he has a home; he’s so well-behaved and friendly for a stray. We stopped at the Pioneer on the way home, which I think freaked him out more than the vet clinic did.

And as much as I like DK, I need to find him a home, preferably in the country where he can be an indoor-outdoor cat. He isn’t ready to be an indoor cat, and I can’t have a cat yowling miserably to go outside when I live in an apartment where it would bother other people. And city ordinance forbids cats running at large.

I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of a very happy cat:

And a few from previous visits:

This was my first Dumpster Kitty photo, zoomed in from quite a ways away. He wasn’t letting me pet him yet at this point. That pile of glop in front of him is a can of cat food I dumped on the ground next to the Dumpster.

Here is the shelter I made for the visitor, before I started letting him in.

And here is probably the prettiest picture of him. Is that adorable or what?

Cross your fingers for him being a healthy cat!