Halloween in July
At the bottom of our steep one-way block is another steeper, shorter block -- too steep and short to be a real street, instead it's one of the famous Step Streets of the North Bronx (scroll down to the picture of Summit Place -- that's it). And it's become, somehow, a dumping ground for unwanted cats. At any given time there's usually a pack of about five or six, in various stages of health or decrepitude depending on how long they've been out there, how many fights they've been through or litters birthed. At least one woman feeds them regularly every morning, and people are always coming by with food. They have somewhere to go out of the weather, perhaps the shed behind the church rectory, but I'm not sure.
Most of them are easily spooked and wary of people, but a few are friendly. This little guy was the most charming of the bunch, always happy to be picked up and petted. I fell hard for his strange little goblin face and started bringing him treats, and in the last month or so he'd come when I called, popping up out of nowhere for affection and food.
So, y'know. Some couples randomly decide it's a good time to have children; we adopt critters. We'd been talking about taking him in for a while, and since I had a week off I figured it would be a good time to oversee introductions and keep an eye on him. Surely I can't be the only person on earth who plans personal days not around fabulous vacations or exciting events but pet adoption?
We picked him up Saturday and took him to the vet Sunday. The first thing she did was to peg him as a Bombay cat, possibly purebred. Figures -- out of all the strays to pick up off the streets of the Bronx, we get an exotic. But he fits the bill perfectly. He's a tiny little thing, but she figured him to be around a year old, so this is as big as he's going to get.
Sadly, his initial FIV test came back a "light positive," so they sent his sample off to their lab for a Western blot. Which came back inconclusive, so we'll have to get him retested in another few months. Not particularly surprising for a stray cat, but sad all the same. And we're going to have to keep an eye on him with Mr. Bonkers -- it's transmittable only if the little guy bites Mr. B, but that's not an entirely crazy scenario. For the time being they've been avoiding each other, but we're going to keep the little guy in his room -- formerly known as Gideon's room -- when we're not home.
Relations are cordial with Dorrie. So long as nobody makes any sudden moves, the two of them can coexist pretty peacefully in the same room. I don't doubt there will be chasing and hissing eventually, but at least their first impressions of each other were fairly peaceable. Mr. Bonkers has stared at him and they've hissed at each other, and yesterday he walked into the room -- Mr. B, who almost exclusively goes to the bathroom outside -- and ostentatiously peed in the litterbox. That's telling him.
Mostly he's very cautious and sticks to his room, ducking under the bed if he feels threatened. But he loves attention, and he's terribly gentle -- hasn't put his claws out once, and is completely mellow about having his feet and ears handled. He's been exploring the upstairs when nobody's around, and hopefully he'll loosen up in a few weeks. Maybe longer, who knows? And at some point he'll even get a name.
But for now he's the Little Black Kitty who looks like a kid's drawing of a Halloween cat, and he lives with us.