Smokey the big black cat has resigned himself to moving back in with us now that his preferred owner is in a nursing home. Each day for the past week he's spent more time on our front porch and less on Steve's. Last night he ate dinner inside and came upstairs and spent the night in his old bed -- a cushion on top of a small laundry hamper.
The whole thing reminds me of getting back together with an old boyfriend. You suddenly remember all the things he did that drove you nuts -- in Smokey's case, that would be meowing once at precisely 5 a.m. That one little meow means you have 60 seconds to get up, stumble downstairs, and let him out. If you fail to respond, he starts gouging the fir paneling in the bedroom.
Smokey is still getting the benefit of our sympathy, which means shredded chicken instead of regular cat food. Today I walked in to the kitchen to grab lunch and Smokey materialized. I gave him some chicken. Then Zoe appeared, ready to bug him. I opened a can of Fancy Feast and lured her to her dish on the far side of the diningroom. By then, old Betaille was climbing slowly and warily up the steps to the back porch. I went out and put food on her plate. I turned around and saw Sheba, who also wanted chicken. But when I put the chicken in her dish, Zoe sniffed it, which was a total turn off to Sheba, who stalked off to sulk. Smokey, ever the opportunist, moved over to get the second serving of chicken. Meanwhile, Kaylee had showed up and now she was trying to bug Smokey. I lured her across the room and gave her some Fancy Feast. But by that time, Zoe was trying to shove Betaille off the back porch, so Betaille came inside and I fed her again, this time in the diningroom. I heard a strange meow and there, in the living room, was Coppertop, the neighbor's cat who lives at our house during the day but (thank god) eats at home. At this point, I'd used up 15 minutes of my 20-minute lunch break feeding cats, I had Fancy Feast dripping down my wrist, and Sheba and I still hadn't eaten anything. I washed off, grabbed a yogurt, and went back to the office.