You know how they say when you make a life change, you shouldn’t try to make too many at once, because you’ll be overwhelmed and you’re setting yourself up for failure, and all that? Kind of like New Year’s Resolutions: If you say you’re going to eat healthy and work out every day and take up the piano and learn Russian, and you try to do all that on the first day, and by the end of the week you’ve abandoned all of it, because it was just too much all at once.
Yeah. Life doesn’t always allow you to stagger things out.
Remember back in late August when I went on my nutritional cleanse and suddenly felt like I was spending all my time prepping food and eating food and washing the same few dishes over and over again? As timing would have it, something else had come into my life that demanded a chunk of my attention. Two somethings, actually.
Short version: a friend’s mom was moving from her house to a small apartment, and for various reasons her two cats had become mostly outdoor cats and were shy and not quite semi-feral, but not exactly come-when-you-call cuddlers, either. As hard as they tried, my friend et al couldn’t find them a home. The no-kill shelters were full, and the regular shelters didn’t want 6-year-old cats that hid when strangers were around.
And Ken finally said, “We should take them.” I want to make it clear that he was the one with the big honkin’ S for Sucker! on his forehead. (My S was small and dainty, because all I had to do was agree with him.)
We already had a side yard that was walled off. When the previous owner made a deal with the neighbor on that side to build a wall between our houses, they built it so that there was a back wall cutting off our back yard from the side yard. Then homeless people started sleeping in the nice sheltered side yard, so she put a gate to cut off the side yard from the front yard. Had I been around to weigh in on all of this, I would’ve said “wall off the front yard from the side yard, ya boneheads, and leave it open to the backyard” but I was not around and my wisdom could not be shared.
Thus the side yard had become something of an unused jungle:
We hired someone to remove all the foliage, and then Ken (because he is the engineer of awesome) put lattice up all along the wall between the houses, and across the gate as well, and filled in all the little gaps where a skinnier cat with delusions of escape could get through.
And he built a multi-story cat condo out of a wooden crate once used to ship our belongings back from Wales:
And thus Teddy (aka Teddy Boy) and Zip (she of the ability to zip past you at warp speeds) came into our lives, to live in the cat run on the side of the house.
They’ve lived with us for just over two months, and if I could bring these cuddle-bunnies inside, I would in a heartbeat. (I can’t, because Grimoire would make their lives a living hell and Eostre would look at me with her enormous eyes as if it say “You’ve replaced me. Farewell, cruel world.” and never sleep on the bed with me again. I know this because we tried bringing in another cat years ago.) ‘Cause, yeah, they’re so shy and unfriendly.
Here is a representative picture from today:
When I went out there, Teddy was by the gate, yelling at me to get my ass in there. Zip was, for perhaps the first time, outside of the condo waiting for me. (She can still be skittish at first—or, if I’ve been sitting there for an hour and make a move to get up, she often freaks out and bolts. Because somehow me sitting there is fine but me moving my leg is ohmygodstheworldisouttogetmerunawayrunaway. But then she comes right back. Silly kitling.)
So if you call and I don’t answer, it’s likely that I’m out in the side yard, with purring kneading cats on my lap. At least I’m getting a lot of reading done!