As some of you may have heard, I have a new brother. His name is Anderson and he's a marmalade cat. My third marmie brother. Yup, the marmies are invadin', for sure. MOUSES!
Anderson showed up around here, sometime last winter. Not sure exactly when but it was super cold out and there was still snow on the ground. Not a good time for a kitty to be livin' out on the streets, alone. Not a good time, at all.
When the peeps first saw Andy, they thought he was Rushton. At a glance, they do look a lot alike. They're both marmies with some cream showin' through and they both have long fur. They both have floofy tails, too. But Rushy is missin' part of an ear on account of his havin' been TNR'd at some point. Andy doesn't have a tipped ear. His ears are totally intact and they're kind of horizontal whereas Rushton's are more vertically directed. Plus, their faces and facial expressions are totally different. Obviously, two very different cats.
Then there is their size. They're both big boys. You should see the size of Anderson's paws! They're like, three times the size of mine. I actually have a sneakin' suspicion that Andy might be part cougar or somethin'. But when Anderson first appeared, he was super thin. Rushton, on the other paw, is the size of a small half-tonne truck. How the peeps ever thought they were one and the same is beyond me. MOUSES!
I, of course, immediately recognised that Andy was a new boy in the hood. I also happened to notice that he was of the marmie variety. I couldn't believe my eyes. "Not another marmie!" I cried. Unfortunately, no one was listenin'.
There was one other difference, too. A big one. Anderson was missin' most of his fur on one side. Yup, you could see his skin and everything.
Andy has long hair and long hair, when not properly groomed, mats. Anderson had let his fur go a bit but that certainly wasn't his fault. Livin' out on the streets is pretty tough for a cat and all your time is spent lookin' for safe places to sleep at night, shelterin' from the cold and scrounging for food. There isn't time for daily groomin'. So Andy's fur started to mat and all those mats grew and grew until they were one humongous, gigantic mat. Then, with the longer days and more daylight, his fur started to shed. But it was all caught up in that monstrous mat and eventually, his fur came off in one big ol' chunk. Kind of like when a sheep is shorn, I suppose.
This lack of fur was very dangerous for Anderson. He no longer had a thick fur coat on one side to protect himself from other animals scratchin' him or from the cold. Did I mention it was cold? It was. Like I said earlier, there was still snow on the ground!
Anderson has told me that the worst nights were the starry ones. When the stars are out, the skies are clear. And a clear winter sky in Canada is a cold one, for sure. Sometimes, bitterly cold. Hard to find shelter from that kind of cold 'cause it's everywhere. You can shelter from the wind but not the bitter cold. And when you're missin' all that fur.... It must have been terrible. Anderson says it was so cold, it hurt. That poor, poor boy.
Well the peeps immediately started attemptin' to befriend our boy, Andy. They started puttin' food out at the front door, hopin' he would find it. If they caught a glimpse of him, they would immediately drop everything and run out with some food. Usually, they put it out at the front door but if they saw him at the back, they'd put it there, too.
Anderson was really scared. He wouldn't let the peeps anywhere near him. Truth be told, he didn't even like 'em lookin' at him! He would hide the moment he saw my peeps but, eventually, he learned he could come back for the food and that's exactly what he started doin'. The peeps watched from inside 'cause he wouldn't go near the food until they were behind closed doors.
The peeps were thinkin' that Anderson was a feral lad on account of his fear. He was terrified of humans as feral cats are. They figured they had their work cut out for them, for sure.
Eventually, Anderson got to the point where he would allow the peeps to see him. He wasn't runnin' quite so far when they appeared with food. Sometimes, he didn't run at all. Sometimes, he stood his ground, waitin' for them to go back inside so that he could eat.
By early September, Andy would actually come up to Peep #1 when she fed him. He even started meowin' at her. Just a little meow. He has a pretty little voice for such a big boy. But he would meow and then the meow would turn into a fizz. Ol' Peepers had to bite her tongue to stop herself from laughin'. The meow fizzes were pretty funny, I suppose, but really, Andy was just lettin' her know he was still in charge and she wasn't to get any ideas.
Then one day, in late September, Anderson showed up at the back door. Peep #1 opened the door and spoke softly to him. She kept talkin' to him and Andy must have been listening 'cause paw by paw, he padded right into the house. MOUSES!
Well Ol' Peepers can be pretty fast on her paws when she wants and that ol' back door was closed behind Andy, lickety split. Anderson was not amused.
So Anderson moved in, upstairs. Yup, he lived upstairs for over a week. Peeps had to install a new litter box and everything. They were even servin' him breakfast in bed! Well, in a bedroom and not actually on a bed although that is where he was sleepin'. Lunches and dinners were served up there, too. Anderson, you see, was refusin' to come downstairs.
But was he ever gettin' friendly with the peeps. They could touch him and pet him and love him up and everything. He did have a bit of a wayward paw, though. Both peeps got a few scratches and Peep #1 suffered from a little nip. I don't think Anderson was bein' mean or even tryin' to attack 'em. I think, he was tryin' to keep 'em! He was lashin' out when they passed by or had been pettin' him and got up to leave. He didn't want the attention to stop.
After about ten days, Andy came downstairs. He moved right into the ol' family room and sort of took over the chesterfield. Started takin' over the peeps, too. You should see how lovey-dovey he is with 'em. He even lets him rub his tummy! Okay, so do I but that's beside the point. I've known my peeps for eleven and a half years. Totally different situation.
Clearly, Anderson was not a feral boy. No way, no how would he make that kind of peep progress had he been feral. Obviously, he had been abandoned. Left behind when someone moved or dumped 'cause he was not longer wanted. Don't know which. Andy's not tellin'. Bad memories, I suppose.
He had some pretty bad experiences when he was livin' on his own, for sure. Peep #2 went to use the broom to sweep somethin' up in the kitchen - likely some spilt kibble - and Anderson ran. He's terrified of the broom. Peeps think someone must have chased him or even hit him with one when he was livin' outdoors. Only a truly nasty person would do somethin' like that. They had better never show their faces around here 'cause let me tell you, if they do, I'm gonna pee on 'em, for sure. Maybe even poop. They sure would deserve it.
Anderson is becoming more and more sure of his surroundings every day. He has learned that, if he wants, he can go outside for some fresh air and sunshine and then come right back inside. I kind of think that when he was holed up, upstairs for those ten days, he was afraid to come down in case he was tossed out on his tail again. I'm kind of thinkin' that he was driven into the country and dumped all those months and months ago. Stupid, ignorant peeps have been known to do things like that. Peeps who think a kitty can survive outside on his or her own, after havin' had a home. MOUSES!
But still, every now and then when Andy wakes up, a strange look will cross his face. He looks around in a panic. He's wondering if he is still inside. Still inside a house, warm and comfy and with a full tummy. He's lookin' to see if he really does have a home with lovin' peeps or if it was all just a dream.
You see, when Anderson was livin' outside, sometimes he would dream of having a home once again like he did when he was a wee little kitten. He would dream of having peeps who loved him, warm places to sleep and food to eat. Dream of being inside a warm and loving home on those bitterly cold, starry nights. The dreams were wonderful but then, in the mornin', he always awoke to find that it was all gone. That he had nothing. That he was still cold and hungry and all alone.
Even now, with the peeps lovin' him to bits, he wonders if it's all still a dream. Wonders if he's gonna wake up to find everything is gone.
Well that is not gonna happen 'cause Anderson is part of my family now and he's gonna have a lovin' home, forever. A loving home where he will always be safe.
And his wayward paw is no longer wayward so I think he's gettin' the idea that the peeps will always be there for him. They trust him completely, now. They put their faces right up to his and kiss him on his forehead and tickle his tummy just like they do with the rest of us. Yup, we're all suckers for those tummy tickles. We all love 'em, for sure. And do you know what? We love Anderson, too. Purrs.