Zoe and Misty arrived Friday night to stay with us for Christmas. Since then Misty has peeked into and sniffed with fascination at every nook and cranny in our house, sometimes emerging with dust on her whiskers (guess we're not too good about cleaning those nooks and crannies).
Misty is a long-haired, striped cat, 3 years old, with big green eyes straight out of a Keane painting. Zoe found her at the San Diego SPCA where she also volunteered as a cat socializer. Misty is a strictly indoor cat, and seems content with apartment living so long as the apartment has a patio with a glass sliding door so she has an uninterrupted view of the world of swaying trees and chirping birds. Her first night in their new apartment in Campbell last summer she was a big freaked out, probably by the smells of fresh paint and cleaning solutions. She took refuge in the fireplace and emerged sans stripes, totally charcoal toned.
At our house, Misty has shown incredible patience, as one must if one is intent on investigating every inch of each room. And she seems equally interested in everything. Wow! A table leg. Must sniff it, check out the bottom, run eyes up the leg - the leg ends at the big flat table. How about that?!
The first morning they arrived, Zoe diligently followed Misty around on her explorations, fearful Misty might suddenly engage in some destruction behavior such as scratching our newly upholstered couch, or relieving herself in some totally unacceptable spot (such as our newly upholstered couch). Misty was temporarily nonplussed by what happened when she jumped onto the piano keys but quickly recovered.
Misty seems to have found our house to her liking. She slept soundly the first night on the pillow next to Zoe, and is eating and using her Port-a-Potty brought from her home and placed in the closet. Once she disappeared for a short time, but Zoe found her sitting in the empty - although wet - bathtub. She doesn't have the usual cat distaste for large bodies of water. She used to sit on the edge of the tub while Zoe took a bath but then once she jumped in so this is no longer allowed. She jumps onto the bathroom sink regularly to watch Zoe brush her teeth, etc., so I was happy to hear that she never jumps on the kitchen counter.
Jim and I knew we'd love having Misty here. Our only reservation was the feline member of our family: Bob. Bob is also a long-haired cat, black with little tufts of gray at the ears. He's an indoor-outdoor cat - outdoors in the nice weather, but more indoors these days. He sleeps in his cozy bed in the garage most nights. His favorite spot on winter days is on top of the dining room heater vent.
Bob was in the back yard Saturday morning when Misty came to check out the downstairs. When she got to the sliding glass door in the family room, there was Bob, waiting to come in. They looked at each in amazement for a long time, frozen. Finally Zoe picked up Misty and sat down in the middle of the room.
Bob approached slowly, taking two steps forward, one back, two forward. They were five feet apart. She hissed. Bob jumped, and Zoe returned Misty to the bedroom. For the rest of the day, Bob was a downstairs cat and Misty was a bedroom-upstairs cat. Bob tried to relax; he watched the football game with us in his usual spot in the family room but kept giving suspicious glances toward the doorway.
Sunday night saw Bob in the garage again, going to bed early. Misty again had hissed at him. Misty wandered around all evening, fearless and funny. She'd never been on stairs before coming to our house and seemed to think they were some kind of a kitty climbing structure for her to tumble and roll on.
Misty is returning to her Campbell home Christmas Eve. Then we hope Bob will join our family in front of the tree for our holiday festivities. His present will be seeing the end of his unwanted house guest. Unless of course they suddenly become best friends between now and then.
-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.