Rounding the Bend

Nice CatI’ve been quite worried about my scaredy cat, Emmett.  It seemed like he just went off the rails completely this summer after being terrified by big, loud men tearing up our apartment, then developing a bladder infection from all that stress.  For the past two months, he’s chosen to live in his gulag—a cat-carrier in the relative dark and quiet of the bathroom with food, water, and litter box nearby.

He seemed tolerant of my visits, purring his BMW purr whenever I reached in to scritch his itchiest spots.  Henry and I coming in and out to attend our own hygiene needs also seemed acceptable.  But, he cringed to the back of his cell when I swept the floor, and literally curled up in a ball when I pulled him out in order to clean the gulag.  I tried not to bother him any more than necessary, but for the last couple of weeks, I combed and pet him during the cell toss.  He needed grooming.  And I needed to touch him.

Em Tempt1
I also tried to bribe him—get him purring then set a treat out on the floor.  He had to actually come out of the carrier to get it, or I’d pick it up and leave.  Being Emmett, he was completely inconsistent.  Some days he would come out three times to get three treats.  Some days he just stared into the corner of his cell, hoping the screw would just leave him alone.Em Tempt2

He also made little forays into the kitchen—slinking low to the floor for a few seconds before dashing back to safety.  If I looked at him, or talked to him—BAM—he was gone. And then, sometimes he’d come right over and arch up to be petted.  All my wiles were hit and miss.

Em Out1I used cat nip a couple of times to see if that would tempt him.  He did stay long enough to roll around in it one evening, so that felt like a small victory.  But, then, he refused to come out at all the next two days.   Contrary, thy name is Emmett.Em Out4

Yesterday, we went through our weekly routine.  I gently pulled him out for grooming and a pep-talk, dumped the stray litter out of his carrier, filled food and water bowls, tidied the boxes, swept the floor.  He popped his head out of the bathroom door a few minutes later, then zipped back inside.  I went to the grocery store.  When I got back, I told Em I was coming in to put things away.

The gulag was empty.

“Henry,” I whispered, “where’s your brother?”

Em 9:13Henry zoomed to the bedroom and jumped on the bed.  There was a familiar lump under the covers.  Henry yodeled non-stop.  The whole house was excited.

“Em.”  I patted him gently through the comforter.  “You came out.”

He didn’t stay when I went to bed last night.  When I pulled back the covers (slowly, and talking the whole time), he grumbled, then bolted.  But, when I came home from the coffee shop this morning, the bed was lumpy again.

This is good.  This is very good.

Everyone heals in their own time—even cats.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leslie
    Sep 14, 2015 @ 15:06:36

    I love this story. Go Emmett!!!!

    Reply

  2. Littlesundog
    Sep 14, 2015 @ 21:13:55

    Who knew that a lumpy bed could be a good thing? I’m going to keep sending positive vibes to Emmett… this is most excellent news! 🙂

    Reply

  3. Lyn
    Sep 14, 2015 @ 23:48:05

    Cats are by nature a bit weird, I think. But they usually straighten themselves out eventually, given time, affection, and lots of treats. We did have to rehome our fourth cat, a lovely tuxedo, when she simply refused to share the litter boxes with the others. I was lucky enough to have made the acquaintance of a kind librarian and his wife, who were still mourning the loss of their beloved kitty “Puddin'” four years ago. I actually produced an adoption resume for Tamber, complete with photos and personal anecdotes, and gave it to them to think about. A few days later, they called to tell me they were ready to start the healing process with a new cat, and wanted to give Tamber a chance. They are childless, and Tamber is their little princess now. She has come out of her shell, learned to luxuriate in front of the fire, and wakes them up every morning with a swat and meow. They are completely in love with her, include her in their Christmas card photos, and give her cameos in their video spoofs of old horror films. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for all three of them. God looks out for kids and kittens, I guess.

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Sep 15, 2015 @ 13:16:11

      Oh, I love this story. When Dave and I moved to our house in Afton, we could not get Molly to quit peeing on the carpet. We ended up putting tile and hardwood floors everywhere. It was incredibly stressful, and, I’m sure, didn’t help our floundering marriage.

      Reply

  4. David Kanigan
    Sep 15, 2015 @ 03:45:05

    Purred like a BMW. Love that! 🙂

    Reply

  5. pegoleg
    Sep 15, 2015 @ 13:33:11

    Yeah Emmett!

    Reply

  6. Alice
    Sep 18, 2015 @ 09:49:22

    Oh this story makes me so happy. I was growing increasing nervous, reading the first half — but you’re right, we all heal in our own time. ❤ Even cats. Even people.

    Reply

  7. barb
    Sep 19, 2015 @ 13:38:36

    These are both great cat stories! Thanks for sharing. They say that viewing pet videos on a daily basis can lift your mood and leave you with a smile…same goes for a good pet story. Thanks gals! I am smiling!

    Reply

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