This past Monday, August 15, we were sitting down to a late dinner when I heard a plaintive mew through the dining room window. I paused, my fork hovering. The girls stopped to listen, too. I wasn't sure what I'd heard until it was repeated.
"Mew?" came the high-pitched cry of a kitten. Lori leaned toward the window and watched as a small grey and white kitten scuttled across the back deck. I got up and went to investigate.
The kitten sat on the far corner of the deck, clearly in need but also clearly afraid. I went back in and got some of Louie's food and put it in a dish. I set the dish on the deck then went back inside to watch. Within moments he emerged and ate hungrily. To our surprise, when he finished, he climbed up on the table that's under the window were we keep potted herbs in summer, and proceeded to try to leap in the window.
Cutting my dinner short, I got more food and a pair of leather gloves and was able to get him to come close enough to snatch him up. I took him out to my studio, to keep him away from our other cat, and Lisa brought out a litter box and water bowl. We fed him a few more times, small amounts, and contemplated whether or not we would keep him. Having just had a cat euthanized a month or so ago, we had a vacancy--we have a two-cat limit at our house. We decided that if he came around we would keep him.
The following morning I went out with my camera to get some pictures.
He was clearly a bit on the feral side. I worked for years at an animal shelter and we got our fair share of feral cats, and they just have a look about them. They watch with their eyes rather than turning their heads, and their faces seem pinched up, wary, pupils dilated.
But now, just 48 hours after his first photos, he is a different cat.
Once before I took in a rather untamed kitten. I kept him quarantined from the others in a room in the basement. It was not too terribly long before boredom and loneliness got the best of him, and his attitude towards me did a 180. So, learning from that lesson, we fed this kitten only when we went to see him, rather than leaving food out, so he had to come out when we were in the room. We put the bowl close to us so that we could pet him while he ate. We visited often, and tried not to spook him, let him come to us.
It seems to be working.
Now that he has a full belly and is more comfortable around us, he is much more openly active, doesn't hide behind the bookshelf as much. Here he's standing on my drawing table, watching the birds outside the studio.
So then we had to come up with a name. We considered Basil, since he had been climbing around in the potted herbs. But Basil seemed too...soft. So we threw around some others, but nothing seemed to be sticking. Then we decided it needed to be an "O" name because he has a circle on the top of his head, right between his ears.
Finally, Lori came up with Oscar. Oscar Wild, since he came to us a bit of a wildcat.
So far he does all the things kittens should do. He plays,
and he plays some more (getting ready to pounce on a toy).
But mostly he's just really damn cute.
We are glad that Oscar picked us.