Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Cat Adventure

I'm pretty sure the only one who really enjoyed the chaos of moving this past weekend was James. His first evening in the house was spent bounding around on the hardwood floors, sniffing every box, exploring every corner and sporadically checking in with me (asleep in bed). I, of course, slept through it all, but apparently his friskiness was noisy enough to keep Joe awake most of the night. Then on Sunday, for the first time in a year - not including his week in the wilderness fending off coyotes after he jumped three stories from the balcony - James spent a day exploring the great outdoors.

I let him out in the backyard, but it didn't take him long to find his way to the neighboring yard, which is home to four adolescent outdoor cats. Shortly after he left the backyard I heard a cat growling and assumed it was James (that's typically one of his favorite ways to communicate). However, after tracking down the source of the growl, I found him sitting in the neighbor's yard looking all zen while a gray striped cat hissed and growled at him. I tried to tempt James back into our yard with a can of tuna, but James completely ignored my presence and seemed curious but unphased by the other cat.

Eventually he lost interest in the growling cat and ventured further into the neighbor's backyard. The growling cat was perplexed, and followed him a few feet into the yard, but James disappeared into some bushes and I lost track of him. When I went back outside looking for James a little while later, Growly was still guarding the yard, but James was nowhere to be seen. 

Several hours later (after making my rounds every thirty minutes looking for him - with Joe asking me if I was going to stalk Ezra every time we let him outdoors) I heard another cat squeal, and went outside to check. This time an orange cat was staring James down, with his back arched and his fur all bushy. Again, James just sat there, smack dab in the middle of the orange cat's territory, with his zen expression. Again, I tried calling him back to the house with tuna. He stared up at the sky, or off toward some bushes, or pretty much any direction except where I was standing. The orange cat slowly backed away from James, and gave up his territory to the new cat on the block. I gave up and went back inside.

When he was good and ready, James showed up at our doorstep, a little dusty but otherwise unscathed, meowing loudly for his promised tuna.

Later that night, Joe and I watched Almost Famous, and Joe compared me to the psyho, over-protective mom in the movie (Frances McDormand). James was out trying to make friends with our new cat neighbors, and I was embarrassing him by waving cans of tuna and giving away his nicknames (Mr. Lovebug). Whoops. I don't know what I was worried about anyway, if he could handle packs of coyotes with an injured hip, of course he could handle a few tomcats.

After James conquered the neighborhood, he crashed out on the bed for the whole night. In the above photo he is actually sitting on Joe's lap purring. Purring! Anyone who knows him, knows that's unheard of. His normal form of communication with Joe is hissing and growling. Sometimes Joe will corner him, and James will sit on his lap taking shallow little breaths while waiting for the right moment to bolt. Maybe a few more trips outside and he'll resemble a normal cat?

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