My Brother’s Cat

Her name is “Violet,” perhaps because she was thought to be shy. She isn’t. She is a wild cat, or maybe ‘feral’ is the proper term. Somewhere in her ancestry a tame cat lurks, but she is not one. She was a wild cat that lived outside, in the city. My brother lured her into his house with food, and she has decided that living in a house with food is preferable to taking her chances in the great outside, but she is not a tame cat. She is a wild cat that lives inside. Of course my brother barely knows how to socialize with people himself, so it is not reasonable to assume that he could teach socialization to a cat.
 Sometime after inveigling Violet into a house my brother moved from his city apartment into my parent’s country home. The cat changed residences with him, but it was hard for her. It was easier to be a wild cat that lives inside when the other denizen of the house was a human who is naturally very quiet and doesn’t move around much. Life quickly settled down into a routine however. After all, my parents are old and don’t move around much either, neither one is fast enough to catch a running cat anymore, and my mother fed the small cat twice a day, regularly. All in all life was pretty good for a wild cat living inside. When my brother left to continue his journeys he left the small cat with the old folks. She happily adjusted to a life that only required her to interact with others twice a day, at feeding times, and then only minimally. A modicum of agility was all that was needed to keep humans from touching her.
 Then I moved in. I was quicker and had the bizarre notion that cats are for petting. Life became hazardous for Violet. After a few days I noticed that her only true motivation was food. Not too surprising since it was tuna that caused her to exchange the great outside for an indoor existence in the first place. So I began feeding her a tablespoonful of food every time I passed through the room that housed her bowl. This caused her to have to check her bowl off and on throughout the day, bringing her into the proximity of humans many more times in the course of a day. It also brought out an oddly optimistic facet of her personality. She will follow ANYONE into the hallway that passes her food bowl. Even my Father, who to my knowledge has NEVER fed the cat anything. Yet she checks. Every time. Once when he goes down the hall, and again when he come back up the hall. These are the actions of a true optimist.
 Most recently I have instituted a new program. I purchased a bag of “cat treats”. They are purportedly “salmon flavored”. I don’t know if they actually are or not. I do know that if I crinkle the bag poor Violet will charge in from wherever she may be and submit to petting and lap sitting and numerous other indignities in an effort to acquire as many as possible. She will even eat them in front of humans, something that she doesn’t do with other food offerings. She seems to feel that an ‘every 2 hours’ schedule is appropriate for the feeding of snacks. In fact, she is currently sitting atop the back of the recliner in the livingroom, glaring at the back of my head. I can see her in the diningroom mirror. Excuse me. I must go. I am needed to feed fish cookies to a cat. Seems that the socialization of Violet is proceeding nicely.


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