I have recently accepted an opportunity to house sit for a few months. Since I am new in town and have zero furniture, I figured it would be a great way to get my feet off the ground. The house has proven to be a very convenient living situation for me, although it came with a challenge. Two, in fact.
Their names are Fur and Storm (OK, these are not the cats’ real names, but I figured I should protect their privacy, especially because one of them terrifies me and I don’t want to irritate her).
Just so you know, I am not completely unfamiliar with the feline world; I grew up with a male cat. But considering I was a child, I didn’t actually have to do anything responsible such as cleaning his litter box, feeding or brushing him. Since my experience with cats is so limited, maybe I shouldn’t have said “yes” when one of the house owners asked me if I was a cat person. I also shouldn’t have assumed that my past experience with dogs would be of any help.
But thanks to Google, I now know the basics of what a cat needs (at least in theory). It’s actually distracting to look for information online about cats when there are so many hilarious YouTube cat videos out there (which also made the process of writing this column so much longer). But where was I? Oh yes, Fur and Storm.
Fur, as the fake name suggests, is a lovely cat. She loves to cuddle, she respects my space and she never asks for anything unless it’s offered to her. When I am reading a book on the couch, she gently lays next to me and keeps me company (sometimes she lays around my neck, which is weird, but I figure I should just let her be). If she was a person, I like to imagine she would be a sophisticated 30-year-old woman who spends a lot of time at the library studying anthropology. That’s definitely the vibe she puts out.
Storm, as the name also suggests, is a little more complicated. When she first saw me walking into the house, she produced this terrifying hissing sound. I was scared at first, but I figured she was just protecting her space against an uninvited visitor – me.
Storm doesn’t like to be petted. Actually, she likes to be petted for a little while, but she will bite if it’s not the way she intended it to be. Storm also makes these inexplicable noises, and it’s literally impossible to figure out what she wants. Sometimes she will start howling, and other times she will start crying or hissing for no apparent reason. But the worst part is that her favourite time to produce all these lovely sounds is when I am asleep. Of course there is not much I can do then besides having a million earplugs handy.
In a desperate attempt to make her feel more comfortable, I have tried talking to her, petting, giving her daily treats, brushing her hair and playing with her. Nothing seems to have made any difference. You would think she doesn’t appreciate my company, but she also cries when I leave the room.
To be fair, I should tell you Storm is a survivor. As the story goes, she left home and ended up getting lost a few years ago. It took her two entire years before she was found. I can only imagine the things she must have gone through. So I definitely don’t blame her for having some trust issues around new people. Besides, I know she misses her actual owners.
In order to get some advice, I have honestly debated posting a YouTube video of her so that an expert can tell me what she really needs. In the meantime, I guess I will have to keep hoping she warms up to me. And, of course, keep buying those earplugs.