---- — After one too many run-ins with mice in the house, I decided more aggressive action must be taken.
So, I got a cat.
(I would like to take a moment to address my landlord, should he be reading. It’s an outdoor cat. Relax.)
Anyway, one of the girls at work said she could hook me up with a cat from her cousin’s house out in No Man’s Land. She kept saying things like, “We’re going to try to catch one of the cats in the barn for you.” Statements like that made me pause with concern. (I want it to be known I forced myself to avoid throwing “paws” in there for effect. You’re welcome.)
I was picturing a big ole, mean cat that would claw my eyes out if I got too close. At least it will be great at killing mice, I told myself. Hopefully, I prayed, it wouldn’t mistake me for a mouse.
So when she showed up at my house last weekend with a pet carrier, I was surprised to not hear clawing and hissing from within. As she sat the carrier down, she informed me this isn’t the cat they planned to give me. That cat, she said, was already promised to someone else. I hoped it was a big, strong man who could defend himself.
I was pleasantly surprised when a short game of tug and war inside the carrier produced what looked more like a kitten than a cat. It wasn’t grey as I had imagined. Its coat was a mixture of black, orange, brown and white.
With the words “This is Susan,” I was in love.
Before I could say hello, Susan took off and hid behind some wood stacked against the wall.
I guess she planned to exchange pleasantries later. With a warning that I’ll likely not see Susan for a day or two because that’s her M.O. after a spook, she was off on her way.
I went back to the garage a few hours later and repeated Susan in many versions and voices. “Oh Suuuuuu-saaaaan.”
Another couple hours later, I returned. I heard a soft meow and a little head poke out from under the car. She came over to see me and allowed me to pet her. This was definitely not the fur-covered terror I had imagined. I put a hot dog in her food bowl. Yes, my plan was to suck up to my new cat with hot dogs.
She’d take a few bites and then return for a few pets. She repeated this pattern until the hot dog was gone.
Because it’s been so cold, she’s living in the garage for now. I was worried the first time I opened the garage door, she’d make a run for it and I’d never see her again. But when it came time to leave for work, she froze solid at the sound of the car starting and the door opening.
The next day — after another hot dog, for good measure — I decided to open the side door that leads to the backyard. I wanted her to get acquainted with the yard so she can eventually introduce herself to the resident mice. She stood in the doorway and was having no part of going outside.
Maybe the hot dogs are working too well.
Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @PharosMK