I’m feeling just a little bit guilty.
I’ve noticed that my sweet black cat, Jinx, has been stressed out lately.
And I feel like… It’s. All. My. Fault.
If you read my previous post, The Stray Cat That Wasn’t, you know of the neighbor cat, Snowflake, AKA Toby. If you missed it, Snowflake was a cat that just showed up on my doorstep. Assuming he had been abandoned, I started feeding him and posted pics of the handsome cat. Came to find out he belongs to my new neighbors. Apparently, Toby/ Snowflake puts on his pathetic “starving stray cat” act for as many as five different households, according to his humans.
Even after I learned of his deception, I couldn’t help doting on Snowflake. His distinctive, hoarse “meow” and his refined pandering techniques were too cute for me to resist. I continued to feed him and make a fuss over him. I sometimes sat outside in my camping chair, with a book, with Toby/ Snowflake at my feet. I called him my “Reading Buddy.”
Meanwhile, Jinx had been observing our budding friendship from her perch on the living room windowsill. She seemed unaffected at first, like she couldn’t care less about this shaggy imposter. But one day, she started vocalizing her disapproval, letting out a series of forlorn meows through the window screen as she watched me play with Snowflake/ Toby on the porch. It wasn’t a jealous vibe that I picked up; it was more of an “Aren’t I good enough for you?” meow, as though her feelings had been hurt. When I found her crouched atop the kitchen cabinets (she NEVER gets up that high!) I knew things had to change.
Naturally, I felt like a Very Bad Mom. I decided to cut back on the attention I gave to the neighbor’s cat.
Easier said than done. That cat is seemingly ALWAYS here, croaking in his weird little voice on my doorstep. Jinx is perpetually stationed on the windowsill, staring out at him, her eyes as large and round as frisbees. Sometimes the loitering cat will stand up on his hind legs so that he’s almost nose-to-nose level with Jinx through the window screen. She doesn’t hiss or recoil, nor does she return his affections. She just stares at him.
The other day, Snowby (haha– get it? Combo of Snowflake and Toby!) actually rushed into my living room when I opened the front door. This was a first. Jinx remained where she was, again regarding him with that blank stare.
Milo, on the other hand, did not like this intrusion whatsoever. He leapt up on a table and hissed at Snowby. I scooped up the uninvited guest and quickly escorted him back outside. Milo had been within seconds of launching himself at Snowby, which would NOT have been pretty. He continued to hiss for a full minute after the trespasser was gone.
The neighbors who own Snowflake say “he just keeps running out.” I personally think they are overwhelmed with two toddlers, a newborn, a dog, and a cat. I feel sorry for Snow, even though he’s annoying. If only Milo wasn’t such a bully, I’d just let him in sometimes. I’m worried he might get hit by a car, the way he runs amok in the neighborhood.
Stay tuned for another installment of “As the Litterbox Turns,” coming soon.