Friday, Apr 20, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Just in time, a stray cat has found a home

So I am late with this announcement. It is not the first time I wasn't paying attention; nor will it be the last.

I just learned that May 7 to 13 was National Pet Month. Ordinarily I ignore all of the national weeks and months, like National Clean Your Car Week and National Artichoke Week.

But Pet Month is different for all of us pet lovers and caretakers of furry friends everywhere. Six days set aside just for us, how thoughtful.

Or, is the observance for the animals and not for us? In that case, I have a message from the new resident at the Farm House at Posey Lake. It's from Hemingway.

He has bonded, if that is the right word for a cat that was so scared he lived behind the refrigerator but who now jumps on my lap the minute I sit down.

This 15-pound cat isn't going anywhere. He has found a home, or was it that I found him?

Whichever it was, to the readers who responded with ideas on how the stray cat should be treated, not to worry, he is fine. And the same to the two or three readers who said I should quit feeding the cat that lived in the weeds across the road because it would be hit while crossing the street. That could be the same readers who send unhappy e-mails when I complain about the geese in the yard because, they say, that is their territory.

Not to worry again. Hemingway has no intention of crossing the road, even though the weeds once were home to him. So far he hasn't even gone far from the house. Instead, he enjoys the lawn and the gardens and roaming on the 24-foot porch. Because it is all so new to him, he is a delight to watch.

His morning ritual when I open the front door is to dash in a straight line like an arrow across the porch, through the yard, and up the maple tree. Each time he seems to climb higher, but he also is more adept at getting down.

Gaining the frightened cat's trust was trial and error. Everything was done gradually. I was hesitant to let him outdoors, and finally circled a day on the calendar and said, this is it. In fact, one reader wrote and suggested that he would be happy on the windowsill with the window open in good weather, but we have to make use of the big yard.

I left both porch doors open for the first several days he went outside so that he would have the option of coming back in. It worked. Even now, after an hour outdoors, he wants to come back in when I open the door.

Hemingway is not only a six-toed cat, but sort of a talking cat. He chortles going from room to room, which fascinates Digby. He also cries when he doesn't know where I am, and when I open the bedroom door in the morning, he is lying full-length of the threshold and chortles to show his happiness that I appeared and it's time for breakfast.

I just about know what some readers are thinking, because that's what I used to think. Three cats, the crazy old woman, and a dog too, what's the matter with her? But, really taking care of three cats is not that much more than two. They each find their comfort zone. Sullivan is tolerant of Hemingway and Geranium is working on it, though she is extremely jealous. They stick together, leaving Hemingway alone most of the time. He loves Digby and would like to sleep with him, but so far there has been no invitation.

Possibly I saved the wild hungry cat's life when I adopted him last fall. Last week a bulldozer or crane, or some other monster digging equipment, came to this quiet neighborhood and uprooted all of the trees across the road right where Hemingway lived.

Remember the miracle maple that began life five years ago from a single seed that fell through a hole in a clay pot that I failed to put away in the fall? I finally had the courage to have it transplanted a week ago. It is eight feet tall and deformed from growing close to the garage. It was planted in good company with two adult maples.

I measure the 3 1/2 tablespoons of Root and Grow to add to a gallon of water as carefully as I would baking powder for biscuits.

When I talk to the tree at medication time its leaves move. I do believe it will survive. Now it's time for my medicine.

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