They Keep Me on My Toes!

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Chicago.  Sunny and close to 70 degrees.  A beautiful day for sitting on the deck in the sun, or taking a stroll and just enjoying the nice weather.  Apparently my Fluffy Butt thought the same thing as she made an unusual appearance at 8am yesterday.  Normally I don’t see her during the day, unless it is close to supper time. But not yesterday! She hung out on my deck and in my neighbor’s yard (sigh) till close to 10:30.  I thought it would be a great time to work on socializing her, since she seems so close to being friendly, or at least a little more comfortable with me.  So I tossed her a catnip pillow, gave her some good kibbles (she is picky, and turned her nose up at the food my mom left for her) and set out to try and get her used to me.  I grabbed a few beach towels and a book, then set up camp in the far corner of my deck, where I could see her, and she could see me but far enough away from the food and best escape routes, so she didn’t feel threatened. I sat and read, occasionally looking up to see if she was anywhere near me. Only once did she get somewhat close,  maybe five feet away, between a storage container and a styrofoam box. It was amazing how she just appeared there. The entire time I was out there she never got closer than that. I was hoping that by sitting out there she would maybe get a little closer, just to see what I was all about but that didn’t happen.

It probably didn’t help that every ten minutes or so she would wander off to my neighbors yard and I would have to shag her out. It is amazing how quickly and silently she can move.  I would look up to see her nibbling at her food,  staring at me from the stairs or rolling around like a kitten, tossing her catnip pillow in the air.  Two minutes later she would be gone, scouting out the neighbors’ yard, slinking through their grass or sniffing their patio furniture. I would then get up and, fruitlessly, order her back in to my yard. Her only response was to look at me and let out a pitiful little mew.  I then chased her back to my yard, and went back to my position on the deck, making quiet little noises to attract her attention. She would sit at the foot of the stairs, or in the dirt between the yards, watching me, before heading back to the neighbors’ yard. We did this several times before I finally tried a new approach. I pulled out a Cat Charmer (a type of wand toy with a long fleece string attached to a plastic wand) in hopes of enticing her to play.  Instead I ended up scaring her as I tried to get the string closer to her.  I put the wand toy down on the deck so she would see it was nothing dangerous, then moved away to read. When I looked up a few seconds latter I see her playing with the toy on her own. Silly girl.

Half an hour after I first go out to work with her, she’s gone. Vanished. Off to wherever else it is that little fluffy feral cats go during the day. She was done with me and my yard. I don’t think I made any progress with her, which is really frustrating. She is clearly interested in my house and feels comfortable enough with me to spend the day and night in my yard and keeps trying to look inside the house when the door is open–more out of curiosity as to what’s in the house than an actual interest in coming inside I’m sure.   As much as I know that she is happy outside, she makes that very clear, I can’t help but want to bring her inside. She is too pretty and sweet to be an outside kitty.  I know it will happen on her terms, if at all. That doesn’t mean I can’t try though!

In other news, several months later, I am almost ready to distribute the door hangers around the neighborhood. They are finally printed and ready to go, I walked the blocks a few times to get an idea of how many houses there are, though I think I just might be short a few houses.  Now I just have to find a nice day to put them out. I am thinking maybe Monday.  I have been procrastinating because I am afraid of opening a can of worms with the neighbors, if someone is unhappy about the cats. I  think I am also worried about taking on more cat trapping when I am trying, fruitlessly it seems, to find a place to move my garage kitties to.  Speaking of garage kitties, I was feeding them Wednesday night and discovered yet another new cat looking at me. She looks like a young thing, very skinny and small. Not newborn kitten young, maybe 7 months-ish. Either way, not what I needed. Another cat. Adorable little tuxedo baby. So that makes five cats I have to trap and fix, six if you count Mr. K who I think is someone’s house cat, but I am not going to take any chances.  I am starting to think that it might be a good idea to take a look in that garage, see just how many cats live there.


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