Sunday, October 2, 2011
What To Do About Oscar?
He waits for us to come home in the evening, then jumps up on the fence to say hello.
We need some advice from our animal-loving friends: What to do about Oscar?
As those of you who follow this blog know, we've had a steady stream of homeless cats show up at our door ever since we moved out to Černý Vůl. We've been lucky enough to find good homes for six of them (Flakey, Flukey, Maddie, Chaz, Pee-Wee, and Luna), but we still have a regular brood of four strays who show up twice a day for feeding, as well as one permanent and mostly indoor cat. (And we had to say farewell to poor Oscar Junior.)
After four years here, we're moving on.
Our landlord has decided to sell the house, and we're using the opportunity to get back to an apartment that's closer to the city and public transportation. There are some aspects of country living we won't miss that much -- coal smoke and winter roads chief among them. But we are very worried about our adopted cat family, and just can't figure out the right thing to do.
Three of the four outdoor cats are probably too wild to ever come inside. But one -- our first stray, and the one we love the most, Oscar -- well, we just don't know. Oscar spent a few weeks in our bathroom one winter when he was suffering from pneumonia. Since then, he's occasionally taken a few steps inside to see what's going on, but otherwise seems determined to live the outdoor life.
He lived in our bathroom for a two or three weeks while recovering from a nearly fatal bout of pneumonia. But as soon as he was feeling better, he wanted back outside.
One week during his recuperation we left him at the apartment of a friend, and it was a disaster. He spent his time alternately hiding and flinging himself at the windows in an attempt to get out. He has lived through brutally cold winters, always showing up on our doorstep twice a day, happy to eat and socialize but not at all interested in coming in to get warm.
On the other hand, Oscar seems attached to us.
Every evening he waits for our car to pull into the driveway, and then jumps onto the fence to say hello. He then runs back into the yard and hides under a tree so he can pop out at us again as we walk down the path to our front door. (He has a sense of humor.) He is sometimes skittish, but most of the time he loves to be petted, submits very readily to tick removal, and with a little encouragement will even sit in our laps or our arms and purr. He's even very gentle with other outdoor cats, and often shares his food bowl with visiting strays.
In short, a very saintly beast.
I always thought Oscar kinda looked like he's wearing eyeliner, like some sort of glam-cat rock star.
His relationship with our indoor cat, Chicho, is unclear. They are curious about each other and not particularly hostile, but not particularly friendly either. Both are fixed males, but still tend to express their moods by peeing on things. So thinking of them both in a house together has some potential for unpleasantness. But we still admit to wondering: Could Oscar could ever become a house cat? Or is it a mistake to try to take him out of his established territory?
It's hard for us to think about Oscar waiting outside a house and no one ever coming home. But it's just as hard to imagine an attempt to domesticate him going terribly wrong.
Can anyone offer us any good advice? We have two months until we move.
-- Daisy & Grant