Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Scaredy cat

Last month, my housemate, who swore she would never get another pet, brought home a cat. She looks a lot like Buffy who died earlier this year, kind of a light orange, and she is probably about 4 or 5 years old. Her most distinctive features are yellow eyes, darker orange rings on her tail and the lightest pink nose and paws...very pale and delicate pink. Because she seemed so sleek and elegant, I called her Serena and the name kind of stuck.

But she was abandoned and has an abandoned cat complex: alert and fearful. She hid under the couch on the first floor all of her first day here but "escaped" during the evening when the door to the room was left ajar. It took forever to find her but she was under a bed in a second floor bedroom.

She eventually found her way to the third floor, which I occupy, and she's been a fixture here ever since. I can't get her to leave! Every other day, I take her down the stairs and walk around the rest of the house to familiarize her with the place but I have to hold her tight against my body or she'll claw her way over my shoulder and hightail it back to the third floor.

I take her on these outings to reassure her: there are no dogs or other cats or small children in this house...it is a pretty quiet and placid place...she should not be afraid. But she gets terrified just coming down the stairs from the third floor.

The whole situation is quite awkward considering that she's not my cat! The housemate, her owner, has been understanding about the whole thing since it seems like it is completely out of our hands. I tried leaving her outside my door and closing up my place but she just hides herself away and then we have to later comb every nook and cranny in the house, trying to find her to make sure she gets something to eat.

So far, she has made her preferences clear. But I'm hoping as she feels more and more secure and starts feeling confined in my small place, she'll venture out into the rest of the house and her owner will start connecting more with her. It's great to have her company but I think she'd be happier to have more territory to roam around in.