THe LONG VIEW: Creature comfort takes on new meaning in 2017

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Pat Grimes New pic.jpg

Another difficult transition took place on Inauguration Day. I refer to the installation of outdoor cat Sam as indoor dweller of my household.

Maybe 15 years ago, an adolescent feline showed up in the garage of my former home. His thick fur was clean and he was not underweight, so I figured he was lost. Flyers posted around the neighborhood and a “lost pet” ad in the newspaper yielded no response.

Another difficult transition took place on Inauguration Day. I refer to the installation of outdoor cat Sam as indoor dweller of my household.

Maybe 15 years ago, an adolescent feline showed up in the garage of my former home. His thick fur was clean and he was not underweight, so I figured he was lost. Flyers posted around the neighborhood and a “lost pet” ad in the newspaper yielded no response.

I mentioned his surprise appearance to a lady at church; she offered to take Sam in. Three days later, she returned him, tired of his “baptizing” blankets on her bed. So, he took up residence in the garage, dispatching mice and allowing us to pet briefly him before showing teeth and hissing.

And there he stayed. In the winter, he would languish in the house a few hours each day, but always asked to go back out. We set him up with an electric warming tray topped with a blanket as well as an electric water dish that would not freeze. No matter how stifling the summer weather, he contently surveyed his domain from above one corner of the garage door.

I gave him the most attention. Despite a tendency to become angry at too much physical contact, he let me rub his head, neck, and, up to a point, his body. Though I knew my children and their mother would take good care of him when I moved out, I hated to leave my cat.

With my former spouse purchasing a new place, however, Sam would move to mine, and I worried about his transition to indoor living. A large crate was prepared with covered litter box in one corner, water and food in the opposite corner, and a blanketed terrace.

The first night was rough. Two and half hours into my sleep, Sam began a monologue about crate living that went on for four hours. The second night saw some improvement; his nightly report ran only from 3 to 5 AM. On night number three, Sam reduced his role to that of town crier, calling out briefly at 3, 4, 5, and 6 AM. By this time, he was roaming the house freely, and on subsequent nights he’s kept quiet until about 6:30. Looks like I won’t die from exhaustion.

What is more, it looks like Sam the cat has taken to a more domestic lifestyle. He hasn’t complained about not being outdoors, and, having mellowed with age, allows longer petting sessions.

Worried as I was about Sam’s reaction to the move, I am profoundly relieved, and few things warm the winter’s darkness like my cat’s loud purring to the left on the couch while Charlie, the dog, snuggles on the right. What is more, I am delighted to again be taking care of this creature, who chose to live with my family years ago.

So, I have chosen him. His remaining years will be comfortable ones. That’ll be my gift to Sam, just as his companionship is comfort to me.

Pat Grimes, a former South Bay resident, writes from Ypsilanti, Mich. He can be reached at grimespat19@gmail.com

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