Friday, April 03, 2009

The Adventure of the Large Cat

There is a very large tortoiseshell cat that I often see around my apartment complex. He (I think it is a he, though I could be mistaken) isn't fat at all - just tall and lanky, almost the size of a fox. I admire him often.

Well, yesterday as I was coming up the stairs to my apartment, he was coming down the stairs, which was mysterious - I'm fairly certain he doesn't live in any of the apartments on that stairway. So, naturally, I spoke to him, and he turned out to be quite friendly, and followed me up.

I intended to give him some food outside of the door, but when I opened my front door, he went right in! And showed no signs of wanting to do anything other than explore my entire apartment.

Sammy immediately backed away near the hall, but Tigerlily (!) went over to investigate this strange, large cat. Soon her tail puffed out to a gigantic size, and she and the other cat talked at each other a little bit as she cornered him behind the two armchairs. I was standing nearby and keeping them separated by walking towards Tigerlily when she got too close.

When Ed came out, he asked, "Are you sure that cat is safe?" I feel, honestly, that most cats are "safe" and I wasn't particularly worried about this big friendly fellow. He wasn't showing any signs of wanting to attack Tigerlily or anything, but I decided to go ahead and herd my two cats down the hall into my bedroom so that we wouldn't have too much ruckus.

Tigerlily hissed at Sammy the whole way down the hall! Every time she saw him she was freaked out! And Sammy was sidling sideways, scrunched low to the ground, clearly worried. I did pretty easily herd them both into my room, and then shut my door.

A couple of minutes later I shut Ed's door, because the big cat was exploring everywhere and I really didn't want him to stay too too long. He checked out the cat box and returned to the living room, where he was quite comfortable jumping up on tables and furniture for some pets.

It's always hard to know if a cat will tolerate being picked up, but after a few nice strokes I decided to try it. I let him know that I was going to pick him up, but not to worry, that if he didn't like it he should just let me know and I would stop right away. I gingerly picked him up, and he seemed slightly nervous but not too distressed. I set him down outside the door (where I had already put some food, hoping to lure him out; he never did eat the food), said, "Thanks for visiting. Stop by any time!" and closed the door behind him.

The cats came back out once I opened my bedroom door. Tigerlily went looking all over for signs of the big cat, but Sammy was crouchy and nervous for a while and hoped that the big cat would NOT reappear.

I think I am going to call him "Lopez" in honor of his interloper status.


Sally said...

Wow, I wouldn't have expected that of TL.

I wonder how Leo would respond to a strange cat entering his kingdom. He has been exposed to cats before, but not on his own turf.

Susan said...

This reminds me of our cat, Sam, who looked just like a female cat belonging to some people who lived 5 blocks away. They let him in their house thinking he was their cat and he jumped up on a bed and took a nap like he belonged there. The jig was up when their cat finally did come home. What's even funnier is that later that spring she gave birth to a litter of kittens, of which several were pure white. We were all pretty certain Sam was the daddy.

Tam said...

That's awesome, Susan. Having mostly owned timid cats I was really surprised that a cat would just walk into and then all over the apartment like that!

Tam said...

And Sally, I'd have probably been too scared to let a gigantic cat in to see Leo. I know rabbits can often kick a cat's butt but I was much more comfortable with a same-species encounter.