Sunday, November 25, 2007

Say 'hello' to Socks

It's an unusual experience being the new owner of a cat. Or should I say "being newly owned _by_ a cat".

Socks is about three years old, a male mixed breed shorthair, formerly owned by my friend Scott. Scott lives out in the country and there's a colony of cats near a farm there that have been reproducing like rabbits.

After Scott took in one of the cats - a big, beautiful gray male he named 'Buddy' - it was inevitable he and his partner Sean would take more interest in general welfare of the cats in the neighborhood. Socks, so named because of his four white feet, was kept by Scott for awhile as an indoor-outdoor cat.

When I'd go over to visit Scott, I seemed to get along with Socks really well. After being a bit shy the first time or so I saw him, he'd be more than willing to jump up in my lap for a bit of rubbing. Finally, Scott and Sean talked me into giving him a home in my one-bedroom apartment.

I have to admit that I was reluctant. I grew up with cats up in the mountains, but my mom never wanted one in the house - she comes from an old German family that insists on everything being spotless, so a kitty litter box, paw prints, and the possibility of scratched furniture wasn't an option.

I had thought about a cat before. Buddy seemed to be good company for Scott and my friend Stuart, who used to live in Greensboro, had a wonderful cat for several years that was his constant companion. But those guys lived in a house - I really wondered if a cat would be bored or feel confined in my tiny little apartment.

Sean and I talked and he planned to bring Socks to his new home on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I thought that would give me a couple of days actually around the apartment to see how Socks would react and if he would like his new home.

Before the grand day, Sean and I went to the local Walmart, purchasing all of the paraphernalia needed to keep my new companion happy - litter box, litter, food and water bowls, scratching pad, toys, cat food, and treats. I almost felt like I was shopping for a new baby. Of course, this baby didn't need diaper changes and had sharper claws.

On the big day, Sean brought him over in his carrier and let him out. He got out, cautiously looking around the place, going from room to room, his tail held low. After a few minutes, he was gone.

Sean and I looked all over the place. He had gone into the kitchen, but where?

We looked in cabinets, next to the fridge, but couldn't find him anywhere. Then, Sean found it - on the floor, underneath my kitchen cabinets was a hole left by some carpenters, that exposed the space in the corner between two sets of cabinets. Yep, Socks was there, discovering a brand new place to hide I didn't even know about.

After a few minutes, he came out and started eating, then continued his tour around the place, checking out his litter box and taking a keen interest in that big comfy couch.

He seemed to be fine and Sean left us alone. He settled down on the couch next to me purring, seemingly feeling okay with this strange guy with all this odd electronics stuff, records and dvd's all over the place.

That night, I got into bed and Socks curled up beside me. Maybe he would be fine afterall.

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