Saturday, April 9, 2011
How Arthur walked into my home and stole my heart
It was a beautiful August evening, and just turning dusk , when I walked down the street to the older home on the corner. I carefully reached across a small sleeping cat on Myrna's doorstep to knock. For a few minutes Myrna and Bob looked for Grace, and not finding her we decided to head back to where I'd last seen the cat. With a bit of envy in my voice I asked Myrna about her new cat, indicating the black cat comfortably curled up. No, this cat was a stray, first found by our elderly neighbours Larry and Elizabeth, and she was just sleeping on the step for now. Myrna didn't want to bring her in, as she had Grace; their dog Abbie; as well as a new kitten named Stella. Presently the cat seemed content to stay on the step, and the weather was good, as well .
We began our walk across the street, and the small black cat trailed us across the street, through a neighbour's yard and out to the lane where we were looking for Grace. Well I just had to swoop her up, and feeling that light, soft little body, I said I'd take her home if this was okay with Myrna.
I brought the small black creature into our house creating a bit of an uproar, with Herbert my ginger cat hissing, and Sam my sweet tallish dog barking and leaping about. However, this cat preserved her equanimity, and once I placed her on the floor she held her ground and allowed my two animal friends to sniff her, and that seemed to settle things satisfactorily
Herbert is a gentle older soul, who seems to believe the world is big enough for everyone, and Sam just had a sweet heart.The two older animals seemed to understand that this cat was a young one and behaved quite tolerantly of her playful behaviors.Sam allowed her to chase his tail, and eat from his bowl, and steal his treats.
Herbert wasn't immediately affectionate, but did allow the little one to ambush him, and engage in a little rough housing.
That night the little black cat curled up under my chin and slept.
Myrna and I watched for notices for a lost little black cat but it seemed this was a stray.
By the end of the week I took the little cat, now named Alice, to the vet with Myrna and her kitten, Stella for first shots and checkup, to learn that they were both boy cats. My vet seemed to want me to change the name to Alex, a nice name she said. However I needed some time to think. After one day of thought, and observation of this guy, I chose Arthur, thinking that as he was an orphan, like one version of the King Arthur stories, that Arthur would be his name.
Arthur did endear himself to all three of us - Herbert, Sam, and me. His temperament tends to be affectionate, and he seems to really want connections. I learned that when Larry and Elizabeth, first noticed this little cat, he had jumped up into Larry's arms. This kind. elderly couple provided him food and water, but didn't take him in because of their older dog.They enlisted Myrna's help after a few days of the cat staying close, and this is how I came to find him on her step.It seemed like he knew he needed a home and he would patiently wait until he found it.
Arthur is an inventive and active cat - he keeps himself quite occupied with various toys. I've never observed another cat play as methodically as him. He likes to take his toy mouse or ball, and carry it from place to place, keeping sometimes a collection of treasured objects. He also seems to enjoy throwing his objects a distance and then retrieving them. Another amazing thing he does is to launch a toy through the rungs of a chair, and then chase.
Herbert and Arthur aren't the kind of cats who sleep cuddled together, they both like their space, but I believe Herbert is happier now than he was before Arthur came to live with us. They play, and sometimes fight, and that is how cats are I think.I think Herbert finds Arthur's playful antics entertaining to watch.
Arthur is an all black cat, but twice a year he has grown a ruff or mane around his neck of a tawny hue which I just find remarkable - as well he has a crook in his tail. When his ruff grows, his coat as well just becomes fluffier and more luxerious, and it is soft and silky and apparently does not mat When he loses his ruff, and thick coat he looks more like a domestic shorthaired cat - then slowly, subtly he is transformed into an elegant long haired beauty in both spring and fall.
We have moved away from the old neighbourhood where I found Arthur, and now it is just Herbert, Arthur and me.When I remember how Arthur came to live with me, it always brings back warm thoughts of wonderful neighbours and another time.
After note: It is now 2016 and the cats and I have moved to Calgary. We live in a slightly smaller apartment.Herbert is 15 years, and Arthur is 7 years. Arthur is still very affectionate but less playful. I miss the antics of the kitten, but it is fun to look back and remember.