After I’d known Snowy for about a year, I began to notice changes in him. He had always had a strange habit of rolling on his back in the dirt, just like a dog. But as he grew older, this amusing quirk became not so funny anymore. For the once regally handsome Snowy stopped grooming himself. There were pieces of leaves hanging from his fur. His paws were green with grass stains. His fur went from fluffy to flat and matted. He was still pretty agile; I never saw him miss a jump. But I thought that his gait was getting a little wobbly.
I’d known Snowy was up there in age, just by the condition of his teeth. The poor guy couldn’t eat dry kibble at all. I always gave him pate (his favorite was Sheba Ocean Whitefish). But it hurt my heart, nevertheless, to see him deteriorating.
Then Snowflake started doing something remarkable. He began bringing other cats to my door. They were cats I’d seen around, but who’d never been approachable. Now, he was literally leading these shy cats and kittens to my doorstep!
Two of them, it turned out, also belonged to Snowflake’s dad, Rafael. There was the tiny tortie, Sheba, and later her daughter, Panda.
But two of the kitties were in need of rescue. One was Zoey, whose story you can read about if you scroll through my earlier blog posts. I wound up adopting her.
The second cat was a full-grown, terribly skittish male cat that someone dumped in my my neighborhood. He was spotted like a cow, so I called him Moo. Moo’s story will be coming soon.
As for Snowflake?
He disappeared. Although he’d been known to take off for a couple of days now and then, this time he was gone for good. Rafael was beside himself, certain that someone had stolen him.
I knew better. My heart told me that Snowy knew his time on this earth was growing short. I’ll always believe he went off into the woods to die alone and in peace. His final mission was to show all the neighborhood cats where they could get a good meal, even shelter, if they needed it.
It turned out that the Mystery Cat belonged to my neighbor, Rafael*. He had another cat, Sheba, who lived indoors, as well as a dog named Princess, who I’d seen on occasion. The other animals stayed inside almost all of the time, but Snowflake liked to be outdoors. Not so much that he (yes, Snowflake was a MALE) was a nature buff; he just liked going from door to door in the neighborhood, meowing pathetically as if he were starving. He scored many a free meal that way, I’m sure!
Although I was now wise to his act, I continued to feed Snowy. (I couldn’t bring myself to call him Snowflake, because he wasn’t pure white; he was white and gray.) He was a funny cat, so vocal and quirky. He seemed to like being around people. I used to let him into my apartment and let him wander around, until I realized he was bringing fleas into the house. What a pain they were to get rid of! Milo and I are both severely allergic to fleas. So, that was the end of Snowy’s coming indoors.
Now a strictly outdoors cat (because he’d brought fleas into Rafael’s apartment, too), Snowy set off on a new mission, one that had nothing to do with acquiring free meals.
It was much more important…
TO BE CONTINUED.
*My neighbor’s name has been changed in this story to protect his privacy.
I previously blogged about Snowflake in an entry entitled “The Stray Cat Who Wasn’t.” Here is the latter part of his life story, serialized for those of you who might have missed it, or who read it and wondered what became of him.
It was in the summer of 2016 that I first encountered Snowflake. I’d only learn later that was the cat’s name, because when it just showed up on my front stoop, I assumed the poor beast was lost, abandoned, or a stray. I also assumed the kitty was female, because she was beyond beautiful… she was ravishing! I thought I’d called her Sabrina.
The cat appeared to be at least part Angora, with long, silky fur and a grand plume of a tale. The cat was extremely friendly, rubbing up against my legs and meowing in an odd, squawky voice. I snapped some pics and posted them on Facebook, asking if anyone knew who the cat belonged to.
A few days went by, with the cat visiting daily. I fed the kitty, and my cats, Jinx and Milo, looked on jealously from the living room window. I couldn’t believe that this animal, who could easily land the feline equivalent of a modeling contract, could be a stray.
Turns out that the cat wasn’t a stray at all, but an expert manipulator…
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.
First of all, thanks for all the “likes” on my last post, The Stray Cat That Wasn’t. Since then, Snowflake has dropped by a few more times for a visit. I asked his human Dad if it’s okay to give him treats and he said sure.
I noticed that Snowflake has a, shall we say, unique voice. He sounds more like he is quacking than meowing. My former cat, Tiffany, who is a Turkish Angora, has a similar voice. The Ex and I used to call her “Quackety Cat.” Is this just a coincidence, or is the hoarse “meow” a common trait of the Angora breed?
Here is a short video of a recent conversation I had with Snowflake, so you can hear his funny voice. I look forward to your feedback!
On a recent afternoon, all seemed to be well in the Peaceable Kingdom of my little apartment. Jinx was lying in the living room window, soaking up the sun. Milo was roaming about in search of mischief.
All of a sudden, there was a terrific commotion! I heard a CRASH and an antagonized “ME-OWWW!!!” I turned my head just in time to see Jinx leaping off the little table by the living room window. She sent everything on the table crashing to the floor. This caused Milo to freak out as well. The two crazed cats went flying up the stairs, in a blur of motion.
“WTF?” I thought, and peeked out the window to see what could possibly be the cause of such a disturbance.
To my utter shock and awe, my eyes were met by the most gorgeous creature I’ve seen in recent memory
It was a cat I had never seen before. Yes, my neighborhood is unfortunately notorious for its overpopulation of feral kitties, but I could tell right away that this cat was different. She was a fairly well-groomed Angora mix, and totally unafraid of humans (at least, not me). Astonished by both her beauty and her seemingly dropping out of the clear blue sky, I went outside and cautiously approached her. She shied away at first, but didn’t go far.I gave her some Pounce treats and the cat was satisfied and seemingly grateful.
“What a beautiful cat!” I thought. “Who in their right mind, and with a conscious, could abandon this sweet, trusting animal?”
Now, I have all the genetic makings of becoming a Crazy Cat Lady, so you don’t know how difficult it was for me to resist scooping up this new kitty and inviting her into my home. I reminded myself that I’d sworn off long-haired cats forever after being mom to a little Turkish Angora named Tiffany Jewel. Somehow, that tiny, six-pound cat managed to coat every piece of furniture (and much of the carpets) of a two-story house with strands of her luxuriant, white and orange hair. You could brush her all day and more and more fur would keep coming out. You’d think she’s be bald! I swore there was no actual cat under all that fur; she was just a hairball that learned to “meow.” (Tiffany currently lives with my ex-husband, and is still shedding to this day.)
But getting back to this new kitty, it appeared to also be of angora lineage. Its fur wasn’t matted, so I didn’t believe it had been an outdoor cat for too long. I felt so bad shutting the door, but at least it was nice summer weather for it to be outside. In the meantime, I decided to try to find the cat’s owner, in case she was a runaway, while continuing to feed her. I took some pics and posted them on FB.
And my page exploded.
My photos of Mystery Cat provoked a barrage of comments, like: “I’ve been seeing that cat roaming the streets for weeks now.” And: “I’ve seen her in my backyard, trying to ‘tempt’ my male cat!”
My heart sank. Apparently someone really HAD abandoned the poor puss! I wasn’t too surprised when I saw the cat on my doorstep again the following morning. She looks like a ‘Sabrina,’ I thought, as I scooped some Fancy Feast onto a saucer for her. She eagerly wolfed it down. I sat in my green camp chair to watch her. After Sabrina finished eating, she gave me her thanks by rubbing up against my legs and– I could hardly believe it!– jumping right up into my lap. Oh, the Cat Lady pheromones were having a spastic dance party!
I posted a series of more photos, which I labeled: “Mystery Cat, Day 2.” This time, the remarks concentrated more on the remarkable beauty of the animal. That long fur, her markings, those expressions… I had a potential feline Supermodel in my hands!
Then there came a knock at the door. I opened it to find a slightly familiar young man on my doorstep.
“Hi, I’m Angelo. Your new neighbor?” he said.
Oh, yeah. I’d seen him and his girlfriend when they were moving into the apartment next to mine a few days ago.
“Yes…” I had a suspicion where this was leading.
“That cat you’ve seen around? He’s mine and Melissa’s, actually. Sometime he runs out the door when it’s open.”
“It’s a boy?” I had to wrap my brain around that one.
“Yes, he’s a boy.”
“What’s his name?”
Snowflake? Really? He’s not even all white! But all I said was: “Oh.”
“Is it okay if he hangs around your place sometimes?”
“Sure!” I had to control my joy at the thought of future visits by the beautiful cat. I mean HANDSOME. He’s a boy. Must remember that.
Needless to say, I was both relieved that the cat was not a stray after all. But I was also disappointed, because I probably would have “caved” and tried to integrate him into my household, long hair and all. Probably would’ve named him Toby once I found out he was male.
It’s been a couple of weeks now. I’ve yet to receive any more visits from Snowflake.