Right after my girlfriend and I moved into our second apartment, in June 2009, we took in another cat. This one was already at least five years old. She had been living in a home that had contained too many animals: seven cats, two dogs, several reptiles, a couple dozen birds, and a few other things I’m probably forgetting! This poor cat was constantly getting beaten up by the other cats, and apparently spent most of her time hiding behind a radiator. Every time she tried to come out for food, the other cats would pounce on her. Since we only had one cat, Nettie, we had more than enough room for a second. And we did not want Nettie to be lonely.
This new cat was very shy, and got startled extremely easily. I remember the first day we had her, she fled behind the radiator in our apartment, and I had so much trouble getting her out. After that, she spent most of her time hiding in the closet, and my girlfriend had to bring food to her in there.
The strange thing about the new cat was that she never had been given a proper name. The previous owner had just referred to her as “Kitten,” and kept doing that, even though, as I said, she was now several years old. We decided she needed a real name. Because she sounded like she was squeaking when she would meow, we finally decided to name her Squeaky.
We soon learned that one of the reasons why Squeaky kept hiding in the closet had nothing to do with her being afraid. In fact, she was in pain. When we took Squeaky to the vet, we were told that half of her teeth had become rotten with cavities and infections. Even though it cost almost a thousand dollars, we had her bad teeth removed. After that, Squeaky was like a new cat. She no longer hid in the closet, but would casually roam about the apartment.
Squeaky is a black & white tuxedo cat. Since we got her, her fur has become very shiny, and her eyes brighter. They are now these deep, soulful pools of green. Sometimes, looking into her eyes, I get a feeling of peace and serenity.
Squeaky is, as my girlfriend says, a bit of a misfit cat. During breakfast and dinner, Squeaky gobbles down her food, probably because for so long, back in her old home, it was always being stolen from her. She started out as a skinny little thing when she moved in, but now she has quite a belly on her. My girlfriend observed “A round cat is a happy cat.” If that’s true, then Squeaky must be very happy indeed! (As I type this, Squeaky is by my feet, meowing sadly for food, even though dinner time is more than an hour away. She can be very persistent!)
Also, it took her a while to get used to Nettie. Since Nettie had been an only cat for most of her kitten-hood, she never had anyone to play with. She would try to play with Squeaky by wrestling with her, but Squeaky, who was so used to being beaten up in the past that she thought Nettie was attacking her, and she would flee.
That said, over time the two of them have grown closer together, and they can often be seen cuddling together, sleeping next to each other, or grooming one another. The funny thing is, if you happen to spot them doing that, and they notice you, they appear to get embarrassed and will quickly move apart.
Squeaky appears to be very happy in her new home. I know she appreciates being able to take a long nap without being disturbed or harassed. She is still skittish, though. Loud noises easily startle her. Also, she seems to be afraid of tall people looming over her. I’m six foot two inches, and when I’m walking in Squeaky’s direction, she will often run. However, if I’m sitting down or lying in bed, she’ll come right up to me, looking to be petted, or to have her tummy rubbed. When I’m watching television, she’s often curled up in my lap. I like to call her my TV buddy.
I’m glad we were able to give Squeaky a good home. Having said that, I’m still not sure what she thinks of the turtle we later got. But I’ll tell you all about Meeshee Gamera, the red-eared slider with an attitude, next time.