Another guest post from Squeak, who we now call ‘Smokey-Squeak’. This post will make more sense if you read Smokey-Squeak’s original post first.
A lot has happened since I last updated you on my situation. Soon after I wrote my previous post, Ms. M came to Heather and Joe’s house to talk to them about me. I was there when they were talking. It was awkward. Ms. M apologized for what was happening and so did Heather. Everyone looked down at me with sad expressions on their faces. This is when Heather and Joe learned that my real name is Smokey, not Squeak.
Heather and Joe told Ms. M that they wouldn’t feed me anymore, but they would still let me visit whenever I wanted. Everyone agreed to follow this plan and see what happened. Under this arrangement, they would let me decide for myself where I wanted to spend my time.
I was not happy with this arrangement. I wanted to have food available from both Heather and Joe and Ms. M, and to visit them both as I pleased. I decided to be extra nice to Heather and Joe, in order to convince them to feed me again.
When night fell, I went hunting. I’m a skilled hunter. I trotted into the house and presented Heather and Joe with my prize: a small mouse-like animal that Joe calls a shrew. But instead of accepting the prize with gratitude, as I anticipated, Heather screamed. Joe yelled at me, forced me to drop the prize, and returned the shrew (which was still alive) to the garden. How rude!
A night or two later, Heather and Joe still weren’t feeding me, except for an occasional snack when Ms. M sent Heather a message saying I hadn’t stopped in for dinner. So I tried to impress them again. I wanted to show Heather and Joe how special they are to me, by making their house my own.
I spread my scent all over the house, in the special way that boy cats like to do. I added my scent to the curtains, the sofa, and the chair. I sprinkled Joe’s camera bag, so he will always think of me while he’s working. Lastly, I scent-marked the area where my food bowl should be (before Heather took it away), to remind them that I would still like to be fed.
The next morning, when Heather came out of the bedroom, I ran in and jumped onto the bed with Joe. I’m not usually allowed on the bed, because of something called allergies. But I figured Joe and Heather would be so happy with my home decorating project that they might change the rules.
My plan didn’t work out very well. Joe and Heather were not happy at all with my efforts to personalize their home. They spent the whole day washing away everything that I had decorated. How rude!
I could tell that Heather and Joe were angry and sad at the same time. Joe started calling me ‘Smelly Cat’, which I don’t think was very nice. Heather knelt down and asked me over and over why I was peeing all over the house. I didn’t have an answer for her. It just felt like the right thing to do. And I guess I was just a little stressed out. It’s not easy to maintain two lives at once.
The next afternoon, Heather told me that she and Joe had been to visit Ms. M. Heather said I could keep coming to visit whenever I wanted, but I wouldn’t be allowed to sleep here anymore. I didn’t believe her at first — I thought she was just joking around. But when I tried to come in later that night, the window was closed. I tried calling to Heather and Joe but they didn’t answer. So I went and slept with Ms. M.
I quickly realized that sleeping at Ms. M’s place isn’t so bad after all. She’s the one who feeds me, anyway. And I visit Heather and Joe every day when Ms. M is at work. They don’t give me food, but they play with me and pet me a lot.
Heather likes to brush me. So I let her. (Photo courtesy of Joe)
This week I got to meet Heather’s friend Bob, who came to visit me all the way from America. I liked him very much. (Photo courtesy of Joe)
(Sometimes Heather gives me a treat when Joe isn’t around. I’m not supposed to tell.)
I’m back to a single life now, which is not as exciting as a double life. But Ms. M loves me and Heather and Joe are still my friends. I guess it was for the best.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Deciding what to do about this charming, maddening cat has been very hard. In the end he kind of made the decision for us, as cats tend to do. That first night — when we heard Smokey-Squeak meowing outside but didn’t let him in — was excruciating. But he didn’t hang around long, and the next night he had already figured things out.
If Smokey-Squeak were truly ‘our’ cat, we would have handled the situation differently. But he isn’t. The confusion that all of us were feeling showed through in Smokey-Squeak’s behavior.
Joe’s elderly mother — a great cat-lover — came for a visit last weekend. We hadn’t told her anything about our kitty crisis. I took her out onto the deck and the cat came to pay his respects. Joe’s mom took one look at the cat and said, ‘Is your name Smokey?’
I take that as a sign. And strangely, since that day, things have felt right. I guess Smokey is where he’s supposed to be.