Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Stranger Came

Tonight something strange happened. My cat Sissy, the wild one that I tamed (see my blog on Cat Clan from a year ago), normally shows up at my door when I return after sunset from the tiger camp. She is always punctual except a couple of times when she showed up slightly late. On such occassions I always call out her name and I worry if she is not there. Farmers outside Laohu Valley put out baits to poison jackals and caracals and often domestic cats and dogs are victims.
I began to worry that no Sissy showed up after an hour. This is unusual. When I called her name, I seemed to vaguely hear some grumbling noise of a cat. However, in the darkness of my veranda, I could see nothing.
Almost 8 pm, I was so happy to hear my call got answered, though somehow not very much like Sissy's sweet high voice. Out of the darkness came a cat, but a Ginger one! For a moment I thought this was Mao, a Ginger cat that is also the son of Mommy but now lives with Mommy between Johnny and Viviennes' house. Ginger cat was also lovely and affectionate as Mao and Sissy and not the least shy. But one thing that got me wonder if it was Mao was his tail - which looked like it had been cut at the tip!
I fed him biltong, and he devoured two little plates as if he had not eaten for days. He wanted my affection so much that he would call if I was not paying him attention, like Mommy cat, Mao's mother and the source of all cats at Laohu Valley.
I called Johnny who confirmed Mao is still around, so this Ginger must be a stranger, so I shall call him now by that name. Where did Stranger come from? Does he have a owner? I now worried that there might have been a fight whereby Sissy was injured? Or killed? I went out to my Veranda outside my bedroom and called her again. To my relief, I heard Sissy! But I could not see her...
I looked around and through the dim light emitted out of my bedroom, I saw Sissy perched on the column of the veranda! I now understand! Sissy has been observing Stranger quietly and followed all that have happened. Fortunately, I took precautions to shut Stranger in the living room so Sissy won't hesitate to come into my bedroom. She did hear the meowing somewhere. After a short while she came inside.
I now did not know what to do. Stranger was meowing inside the living room, wanting attention. So I decided to let him inside my bedroom anyway. Sissy saw him and went forward to smell him. I was relieved that the cats seemed to have no animosity towards each other. However, Sissy went under the bed after the sniffing. Stranger jumped on my bed, which he seemed to have no fear of, and wanted to eat the biltong I had laid out for Sissy, so I took the dish and stuck it under the bed where Sissy was hiding. Stranger jumped off the bed and went under the bed, Sissy had another sniff but ran under the bathtub in my bathroom.
I took Stranger into my bathroom and the cats had another mutual sniff. I then sat on the floor checking if Stranger might have flees, etc any parasites. He looked very clean and must have been a domestic cat. There were however some ear mites on his ears, which I began to take off wherever I could. He was very good natured and did not struggle much for most part, even though he frumbled about the pain. In between I let him and Sissy have a sniff again. In the end, Stranger was fed up, just after I picked up a tiny live mite from his ear lobe. Stranger tried to bite me, though not hard. He tried to claw me, but also just symbolic.
I was satisfied for the moment that he wouldn't pass any disease to Sissy and let him loose. I carried Sissy to my bed, who did not seem to have trouble with occupying it. Stranger followed her and was just about to jump onto my bed too, when Sissy suddenly swapped him with her paw! Stranger was stunned and could not move for a while, looking at Sissy, puzzled. Sissy clearly regarded my bed as her sacred territory!
He gave yet another try but was met with same harsh treatment. He ended up whining miserably, not knowing which next step to take. I am glad at lease Sissy seemed otherwise relaxed, not angry at me for bringing a stranger in. She even ate a couple of pieces of biltong. However when I tried to have a head rub with her, she seemed to retreat, unlike her normal self, and even reached out a paw almost as if to claw me, but stopped short of doing that. She was not as happy as normal.
Stranger made another attempt to jump on the bed but was scared off by Sissy lunging forward at him! After that Sissy curled up and narrowed her eyes. Stranger whined some more and then made a daring move-he jumped onto my bed from my right side whereby I had been lying on my stomach recording all that is happening on my blackberry, with Sissy on my left.
Anticipating a cat fight and without wanting to be caught in the middle, I left my bed. Sissy looked at Stranger through her narrowed eyes, which must have made Stranger feel uncomfortable, for he jumped off my bed out of his own accord. He crouched down under my sofa chair miserably and I had to give him some consolation strokes.
Sissy meanwhile seemed to be dozing off, with right eye closed and left eye a sliver open, no doubt vigilant at all times. I am going to have a "peaceful" night no doubt!
(End Note: the night was relatively peaceful, with Sissy staunchly defending her territory - my bed. Stranger kept on grumbling about his "on the floor" status but no war broke out between the two).

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