Tuesday, May 04, 2004

My Gladiator Cat

When I moved into my apartment about 2-and-1/2 years ago, I would sometimes see a little grey-and-white stray cat coming into the courtyard. He always seemed to be injured in some way and was very afraid of people. I live on the 1'st floor and would put some food out for him. However he would disappear for months and then suddenly appear again. About a year ago he again appeared after a long absence and as usual he seemed to be injured. Well, I'm just a sucker for poor injured furry things and decided that I had to try and help the poor thing.
I put out food every day and after a while he would come every evening to eat. I started sitting outside when he came to eat, and would sit a little closer to the bowl every day. After about a month of this ass-kissing he at last let me touch him. It turns out he really loved being rubbed on his nose! But he would not come into my apartment and still sometimes stayed away for a couple of days and would then turn up with all kinds of wounds, especially on his legs. I started to leave my door open when he came to eat and would sit just inside the door. Eventually his love of a nose-rub and curiosity got the better of him and he ventured into the house. One day I closed the door while he was inside and he went nuts! But eventually he even got used to that.
It is now about 10 months since I started this epic endeavor and he is the "normal-sized" cat I mentioned in a previous mail. He is now a male no longer and had all his shots. He is still very independent and wants to go outside and run around. And now I know where all the wounds came from! He is always looking for a fight. I've had to take to the vet about 4 times, because of bites from other cats. I think it is other stray cats. He doesn't fight with my fat cat or with my neighbors' cat. But if any other cat shows his face he will go and look for a fight. Even if he hears cats fighting across the street he will run there as fast as he can, across a busy 4 lane street, to join in! He is still just a wild little gladiator cat. He catches mice all the time. His record is 3 mice and a pigeon in one day!
He likes climbing straight up the palm tree in our courtyard, up to about 10 feet, just for fun. Then he slowly backs down again. He is still afraid of other people, but is very sweet with me. He likes to sleep with me and will even crawl in under the covers. In the morning when I open the door, he runs out and rolls around in the sand. Then he calls me to come down and scratch his stomach. I think he is starting to calm down now. It's been more than a month since he's been in a fight. I'm holding thumbs that he will stop for good and just enjoy the good life of pampering, nose-rubbing and tummy-scratching that he can have everyday.