Nevada's #1 News Source for Senior Services and Community
by Janet Ross
It wouldn't come as a surprise if there were a neon sign in our backyard, visible to cats only. It would read, “Kitty Cafe – Open 24/7”. During the past few years our own cat has had numerous feline visitors. Pedro, rescued from kitty jail (the Nevada Humane Society) after 6 months incarceration for unspecified crimes, has been our cat in residence since March 2012. He is a small, long-haired black and white “Tuxedo” type neutered male with a sweet disposition, devoted to sleeping on human bodies and addicted to salmon pate cat food.
Pedro's one, steady visitor has been the neighbor's tiny grey female kitty named Princess. She and Pedro hated each other on sight, so Princess restricts her visits to breakfast on our front porch every morning. Pedro rushes to the door when she's fed and lets her know she's not welcome in his house.
Pedro had been enjoying his role as king of the castle for several months when a frantic and starving cat showed up on the back patio. Mau (as we named him, mistaking him for that exotic breed), was a tall, skinny spotted neutered male in tan and black with a black and white spotted belly. We had him checked by the local Vet; Mau was chipped but his owner was no longer in the area so he became ours by default. Pedro loved Mau, especially as a sleeping pal and ear-licker Mau was happy to have food and a soft place to snooze. We discovered he was most likely a Savanna, with a wild heritage that became obvious with his eating habits (all food shaken before consumption) and need to spray every surface in the house to mark his territory. Mau would occasionally disappear for a few days at a time, and eventually he disappeared never to return. We always wondered if he was kitty-napped because of his unusual purebred background. Next to show up at our Kitty Cafe was a fellow we named Benny. Benny had many characteristics of a Maine Coon cat, with a body and tail so long he drooped over the ends of beds and couches. He was an even tempered guy, glad to hang out with Pedro and take advantage of the bed and board we offered. We never managed a trip to the Vet to check for a chip as Benny decided to move on after a few weeks.
Jose, an orange shorthaired tabby, came next. After a few weeks of our cuisine and comfort, despite Pedro's overtures of lasting friendship, Jose moved on – perhaps to return to his real home, or seek even better accommodation.
Peter turned out to be a huge mistake. Convinced Pedro needed a companion, we visited the Humane Society again. Peter seemed a perfect choice and he was so beautiful. It was instant hate between the pair of Ps. We struggled along for two months, keeping Pedro and Peter separated but within sight of each other, but there was no improvement in the unpleasant situation. Tears fell when we returned Peter to the Humane Society and we vowed only Pedro would choose his future, if any, companion kitty.
Next came a long hiatus (perhaps that neon sign had been covered by Virginia Creeper?). Pedro was totally on his own until this summer. First to arrive was a very friendly fellow – a long haired tabby in black and brown with a small head. We didn't bother to give him a name as he was too well groomed and too eager to add us to his list of providers. He quickly demonstrated an ability to use the patio kitty door, walked in as if he owned our house, jumped up on the kitchen counter to take a nap … more than a little too assertive, so we blocked the kitty door and discouraged him from joining our family. (He continues to come around now and then, but our negative message has been received.)
Grayson came next and he's quite a young male, lanky in a gray and white swirly patterned coat and one of those special spotted bellys. Grayson was shy (still is, a bit). It took weeks before we could pet him, but we almost named him Hoover as he didn't hesitate to scarf down any meal, including Pedro's leftovers. He's not been neutered and that will eventually be a problem if he decides to stay. Pedro finds him a bit intimidating; Grayson plays rough and has yet to be invited to spend the night inside. He doesn't understand a kitty door – and the one to the garage and litter boxes is a must for any new family member. As the weather cools, we'll see if Grayson is truly homeless and needs to stay.
Our latest Kitty Cafe visitor is a large, pale, long-haired fellow whose blue eyes glow orange at night. He arrives mostly when it's dark and cries at the patio door. He's not hungry and seems to want nothing more than for Pedro to come out and play. He and Pedro play kissy-face when they meet, so in a way he's the ideal visitor.
It will be interesting to see if there are more felines to come before the snow flies, and if one will be a permanent pal for Pedro, who's now 14 and set in his ways. If we could just find that Kitty Cafe sign, it's time to turn it off.