The Black Cat

To the tune of “Copacabana” by Barry Manilow

Her name is Nora. She is a small cat. 
With a coat of raven black and sharp claws meant for attack.
She would meow loud, stumped by her cat door.
And while she ran the neighborhood,
We would always put out food
Outside of our front door. Then she’d come back for more.
She’d lost her family and now had us
Who could ask for more?

*****

A few short weeks ago, my neighbor Susan told me they were moving into a townhome near downtown. She had three or four indoor cats (including Leonard Bernstein and Victoria) and another outdoor cat, born to a feral mother. Susan had fed the cat since she was a kitten, morning and night for the past five years. Her name was Nora.

Susan was looking for a home for Nora. She asked if I knew of anyone who might be interested. I might be interested. I should discuss this with my husband. Nora didn’t socialize well with the indoor cats, especially not with Vicky. Besides, Nora was accustomed to her freedom.

I told my husband Kody about the situation. With eyebrow raised he said, “So we’re getting a cat?”

“She’ll be an outdoor cat,” I said hopefully.

And so we adopted Nora one week ago, on the Saturday before Halloween. No papers required.

Susan researched the rehoming of an outdoor cat. The suggestion was to keep the cat in one room for a few days until she realized we were her food source. Susan carried Nora to our home across the street in a cat carrier. She brought food and catnip and a cat box and litter and food bowls and flea medicine and a cat tree and toys. Everything Nora might need to be comfortable and everything we might need to care for her.

Nora had a mighty meow. She was mostly content beneath the bed in our guest room. At night, she was restless. She wanted the outdoors. This I knew. We let her check out our home instead and shut her back into her room when we went back to bed that Saturday night and Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

By Wednesday, Nora’s meowing escalated to a guttural howl. We unlocked our cat door, formerly used by our seven-year-old cat Sally (RIP August 2017) and our fourteen-year-old chihuahua-terrier Rain (RIP January 2021). We pushed Nora through the door, now meant for her and into our back yard. Our fence has a few places for a small cat to escape, and so Nora was free once more.

In the morning, we set food out for her near the front door. Some one ate it, hopefully Nora, and that evening we set out more. Sweet Nora returned. By choice, she walked through the door all nonchalant and sauntered back to her room. Each evening into the dark hours of the night, she becomes restless. Nora still doesn’t quite comprehend the concept of the cat door. It has only been a few days now. And so we keep pushing her through to the back at night, and she keeps returning to the front on her own time.

Nora is on the prowl this morning. I hoped to keep her indoors for Halloween. But something tells me she can take care of herself. Maybe it’s the claw marks on my arms. I just wanted to hold her. But she’s a wild little minx. We’re still becoming acquainted.

44 thoughts on “The Black Cat

  1. Now you’ve got me binging watching Barry Manilow on YouTube. We rescued a little kitten once whose mother abandoned it in a ditch where I was mowing. We bottle fed “Spooky” until she was old enough to survive as a barn cat on her own. Something about being dropped by her mom in front of a riding mower made her too antisocial for living in the house 24/7.

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    1. I’ve had Copacabana playing on loop in my head. You’re welcome!

      Aww! Spooky. I’ve known some great barn cats. It’s an Oklahoma thing.

      We once brought a kitten, Tiger, back home with us from Lake Texoma. It literally fell out of a tree while we were there camping. We needed a barn to keep him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Blessings to you and Nora! We have two cats–an all-black cat named Galahad, who will be sitting on the windowsill to welcome trick-or-treaters, and a calico cat named Artemis. Both are rescue cats–Artemis rescued from the Walmart parking lot by two of my daughters. J.

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  3. Congrats on the new addition, this was sweet to read. I guess it will take time for her to let you hold her for long and hopefully she will figure out the pet door.

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  4. I love cats! Nora sounds like a feisty one, she’ll certainly keep you entertained! Love that she leaves through the back and arrives in the front! That’s how to make an entrance! Hugs, C

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    1. She’s got her wits about her, this one. My neighbor transitioned the feedings from her back door to her front door to my front door before the official move. I think we did everything we could to make it a smooth rehoming.

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  5. Nora seems to be more comfortable with her new home. My mother-in-law had a cat who enjoyed prowling outside at night. Even as she aged and slowed down some, she continued her nightly routine. Sort of sounds like a few of us humans.

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  6. Good for you, Crystal. Both for the adoption and for your growing family. Kudos too for coaxing already unmistakable affection from Nora, and after only a week. Just think how much more progress, even, Nora will make by Christmas.

    Consider things from her perspective. As a feral through her formative years, Nora had to be wary in the extreme, making it necessary to see everything as a threat. Especially people, who are, like, 38 trillion times her size (more or less) and, most freaky of all, who walk around up on their hind legs.

    That you’ve won purring and nonchalance already speaks to your goodness and of your happiness. Once Nora realizes she’s in her “forever home” she’ll respond in kind. In fact, she already has started doing so.

    By the way, you tricked me (trick-or-treat?). When you first wrote of Nora, you referred to her in the past tense, preparing me for a heartbreaking development. Upon realizing the other shoe wasn’t going to drop, a broad smile lit my face. It’s still there.

    Well played, Crystal!

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    1. Ha! Well, my past tense was more typo than intention, truth be told. Happy to know the “trick” played well, anyway. Looking forward to what you have up your sleeve this Halloween Eve, or on your table at least!

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  7. Nora is beautifully black and silky sleek. Quite unlike my own black cat Simon, she’s so petite — but no less loving for it, I can imagine. …

    Many of us can appreciate the reciprocally healthy, perhaps even somewhat symbiotic, relationships that can exist between pet cats and their lovingly appreciative human hosts, especially when the host lives with physical and/or mental ailments. Whenever I observe anxiety in the facial expression of my aging mother, I can also witness how that stress suddenly drains and is replaced with joyful adoration upon her cat entering the room. “Hi, sweetheart,” she’ll say. Countless other seniors with a cat also experience its emotional benefits. Of course, the cat’s qualities, especially an un-humanly innocence, makes losing that pet someday such a heartbreaking experience.

    Perhaps cats have a beneficial effect on the human psyche that most people still cannot fathom thus appreciate. That unawareness may help explain why it was reported a few years ago that Surrey, British Columbia, had an estimated 36,000 feral cats, very many of which suffer severe malnourishment, debilitating injury and/or infection (I’ve seen many shocking, heart-wrenching images). And why the municipal government, as well as aware yet uncaring residents, did little or nothing to help with the local non-profit Trap/Neuter/Release program, regardless of their documented success in reducing the needless great suffering by these beautiful animals.

    Recently, I contacted Surrey Community Cat Foundation and was informed that, if anything, their “numbers would have increased, not decreased, in the last 5 years.”

    I was also informed that the problems continuing for feral cats and strays in Surrey, B.C. are:
    • The increase in population and the lack of interest by more residents in caring for strays..
    • Lack of affordable pet friending housing causing cat owners to leave their pet behind and outdoor.
    • Tear-down of older homes where there was feeding done by the resident or the neighbourhood.
    • New construction and lack of places for ferals and strays to go.
    • Lack of City participation in reducing the suffering of all the cats (ferals and strays) by providing funding for a City veterinary hospital including low or no fees for low income spay/neuter.
    • Increase in residential housing and condos with developer fees not being put toward the care of misplaced feral and stray cats on the land.
    • Lack of cooperation with City services that are unable or do not want to care for stray cats that are not tame.
    • No place to house trapped feral cats.
    • Barn locations must be checked out and meet high criteria for the care of the animal. Colonies cannot be maintained without a resident caretaker and a food supply.

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  8. Thank you for sharing!!….it shall take a bit of time for everyone to adjust but I am sure that all will be well in time… “A home that is built with patience, understanding and love will withstand the strongest winds of difficulties and conflict , a home built with a closed mind, insincerity or haste will collapse in a mere breeze of discontent.” (Larry “Dutch” Woller )… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

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