Gaining Coco’s trust, the hard way
I've had my cat Coco since November 2014 and I'm still learning things about her.
What I'm learning mostly is she's quite confusing.
I have showered her with love and affection since finding her and our cat Smokey wandering on our property as homeless kittens.
Whereas Smokey came running right to me – kind of a ‘Rescue me! Rescue me!' scenario – it took me, my son and his friend about 45 minutes to finally catch Coco.
I could understand her nervousness then. However, going on nine years she's still skittish.
She'll bolt for a hiding spot if someone rings the doorbell or my husband starts up the lawn mower outside. I assume it's because she doesn't like noises. Yet she'll sit in a doorway and watch me dry my hair with a noisy blow dryer.
Like I say, she's confusing. But she's coming around.
In this past year especially she's become more loving, attentionseeking and approachable. Unless it's midnight and she's sitting on the back deck and won't heed my calls to come inside. There are many nights I've stayed up until 2 a.m. begging her to come inside since trying to catch her doesn't always work.
And yet, a couple of days last week she seemed to sense the need to be closer. Animals are special that way.
I was having an emotional week last week. We all go through this. Life can be very overwhelming and for me, it just became too much.
My father has dementia. My son struggles with addiction and depression. And I've been at a crossroads in my career. I spent much of last week in tears.
One day, while lying on the couch, Coco surprised me by jumping up alongside me. There was barely enough room for her and yet she immediately started snuggling with me, purring loudly, rubbing her head against my hands.
And she did this a couple of times. Our cat Smokey freely gives his affection to us daily. With Coco, at times, it feels like a privilege you've earned.
Which is why I felt pretty bad about how I repaid her affection last week. Although in my defence, it was my husband's fault.
I get tired of constantly opening and closing the patio door for the cats to come in and out. So most of the time I just leave it open.
I don't pull the screen across because Smokey has a habit of batting on the window if the door is closed. I'd hate to see him claw the screen. This means there are always bugs flying into the house.
One morning last week my hubby told me to use the screen door. He slid it over and said to just watch for the cats. They'll be okay, he said.
Surprisingly, and much to my relief, Smokey didn't claw the screen door. He sat patiently waiting to be let in or out.
Hmmm, I thought to myself, maybe this is the better route. I was inside. The bugs were outside.
A short while later Coco was sitting outside, wanting to come in. I walked over to slide open the screen door. It didn't budge.
I tried again and suddenly the entire screen door popped out of the track, fell over, and landed on top of poor Coco, scaring the crap out of her.
Memo to my husband: That worked well.
No offence to Smokey, but I would have rather the screen door had fallen on top of him.
As you can imagine, several hours passed before Coco approached the door again. I didn't blame her. I was thrilled when she finally reappeared, apparently willing to let bygones be bygones.
As for the screen door, it stays open again.