Raven and I are both allergic to cats. Really, really allergic to cats. This is a shame, since we live in a big old house regularly infested with mice. Raven likes cats, I don’t really care one way or the other – I like mammals generally, but I don’t have much cat “experience” and am definitely more of a “dog person” as such things go.

I am a big pushover for all animals however, and we are both unable to turn our backs on an animal in distress (including the mice) so when we heard a young cat crying the other night, we were worried about it. Raven had seen it hanging around during the day Saturday, hiding in the tall grass and staring wide-eyed at the chickens, Saturday night we heard it crying but couldn’t find it, and yesterday he saw it over in the field next door, pretty obviously watching a rodent-hole-of-some-kind.

And last night it was crying again. Around seven o’clock we heard it, definitely in distress and definitely under the porch. So, after a very short debate I decided to crack a can of tuna for it, on the grounds that it was too small to threaten our big fat hens, and if encouraged to hang around it might take out the occasional rodent.

I put half a can of tuna in a dish and stepped outside, at which point the cat lunged out from under the porch and was on the tuna like – well, like a hungry cat on fish – before the dish had hit the ground. We have never seen a cat this skinny. Its fur is soft, but you can count its ribs from three feet away… the fur can’t lie flat on its back because its spine bumps get in the way. I went in to get the rest of the tuna. Cat ate tuna, displayed great affection for people willing to give it food, and tried very hard to convince us it was an indoor cat. Preliminary investigation during cat-snuggles revealed that it is a young male, probably neutered and definitely declawed.

Problem. I am NOT able to leave a declawed cat outside. A skinny, small, soft, declawed cat on a country road.

So the cat came in the porch, while we tried to figure out what the heck to do with it. Raven called his sister. She has two cats set in their ways and doesn’t want to rock the boat. My mom and the Ed have five cats and three dogs. Raven’s parents just got rid of cats who were spraying everywhere and probably any cat who came in their house would also spray everywhere as a result. Meanwhile, the cat was emphatic about needing to be held and petted.

We got some cat food and litter from Mom and the Ed, because litter is important and the skinny cat still seemed to think food was important too. After another bowl of food, eating was slightly less important than falling asleep on Raven’s lap.

And then it killed a mouse. Very quickly and effectively.

I really don’t think we’re going to be able to keep the cat, but it’s earned some “down time” to eat and recover strength. So right now it’s conked out in a laundry basket (it is unquestionably the sort of cat who likes to be “in” things). It seems to be dealing with Bryan-the-dog and Ripper-the-chicken just fine; there have been no altercations. It is a bit threatened by the cat-who-lives-in-the-mirror, but I expect they’ll work it out. Its name is tentatively “Velcro”, my mom’s suggestion because that’s what it was sticking to me like while we were at her place last night.

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