Tim has a habit and it is something that really does bother me. He's forever accumulating stuff. I say, 'so why are we keeping this? Why can't we just get rid of it?' He patiently tells me that it's worth money. I tell him to do something with it then. He tells me that he will. But he doesn't.
It doesn't help that he's got stuff stashed all over the place.
Last week, he decided that this was the week: he was going to get his stash of stuff all cleared out. He had enough for a dump truck load, which would make it worth his while. So he made the rounds of the various garages and he collected his junk and brought it all home.
Having all the junk here didn't please me, much, but he had a lot of copper pipe to cut up, and he had to separate the copper, aluminum, brass, cast iron and steel.
He has been loading his truck for 2 days and he headed off to the scrapyard after lunch.
He called me on the way home. "Just heading for home now," he said.
I said, "Good."
Tim hesitated for a few seconds. "Aren't you going to ask me what I got for the scrap?"
"Buck-98..." I guessed being goofy.
I could hear him smiling through the phone.
"Nope. I got a little over $900."
(Gobsmacked silence on my end)
I decided that I needed to shut up about his junk.
Look who showed up today:
I fed him outside, half a can with a dose of his medication and he gobbled it down. He immediately came to me, rubbing against my legs, meowing loudly.
I studied him.
You know when he first showed up here, he would not come close enough to be petted.
Now he seems almost desperate for the contact. I want to bring him inside. I have a four foot long dog kennel waiting for him in the basement. I bought litter for him last night. My idea is to keep him confined until his mange is cleared up again.
A friend who has done multiple cat rescues thought this was a very bad idea, because a feral cat can go nuts when it is confined. I imagine. But the thing is, I don't want him all over the rugs and furniture with active mange. I just told her. "Listen, I know it is not ideal, but it is what it is. If I took him to a vet, he'd be kept in an even smaller cage. He's sick."
That conversation went through my mind today as I petted that poor cat,
staying away from his 'patches'.
He meowed and meowed and rubbed against me over and over.
I took an old kitchen rug I'd stashed for outdoor use and put it down in front of the door. It's warm out today and he could sit in a sunny spot while I figured it all out.
This summer, I couldn't touch him.
Now he seeks out the attention.
He trusts me, at least that much.
I decided the thing to do is to build on that trust.
I went into the kitchen and gathered up all the kitchen rugs and set them out into the hall. I shut all the doors so that he could not go anywhere else in the house. I left the outside kitchen door open and let him make up his mind what he wanted to do here. In very short order, he walked into the kitchen. He came over to where I was sweeping and once again, he began to meow loudly, staring with those big unblinking eyes.
I shut the kitchen door and he showed no sign of panic.
I went to the fridge and got out the rest of his can of catfood, and I grabbed one of the clean 'cat dishes" on the counter; I scraped the rest of the food into the dish as I talked to him. He sat silently with big eyes and waited. I set down the bowl on the floor and he went to work on it.
While he ate, I continued sweeping and I cleaned the stovetop.
Once his bowl was clean, he licked his smackers a few times in a satisfied way and then walked to the mudroom door and sat down. Tim walked into the kitchen from the livingroom with the mail. "What are you going to do with him?" he wanted to know.
"He's asking to go back out. I think we should let him out. If he comes and goes regularly, it gives him a chance to build up some trust. It also gives us a chance to get some regular doses of medication in him. Now that he's letting me pet him, I can even get some topical medication for him. Maybe this is a chance to get that mange under control before he moves inside full time."
Tim went to the door and asked him if he wanted outside.
When the door opened, Mangey quietly sashayed out the door.
We left the mudroom door open to the back yard and he has spent the entire afternoon there, having a bath in a sunny patch on the old rug that I put down for him.
It is getting dark. He is there still, folded up on his old rug.
He came back inside for a bit of milk and then sat at the door waiting patiently.
He nibbled on some dry food, arranged himself comfortably on his rug.
I think that Mangey has decided to stay.
I got an old heating pad and an old sheet and used a crate to make a cozy place for him to curl up. We will leave the door of the mudroom ajar so that he can go outside if he wishes.
I wonder where I will find him tomorrow.