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New Cat
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Well, really, he's an old cat. This cat has hung around our house for 10 years now, yowling and meowing and growling, coming in and out, munching whatever was put down for him, living everywhere and belonging nowhere.

Once we took him to the vet and everyone in the office recognized him. Oh, no! Not him! He's semi-feral, vicious and strong, they said. They had to tranquilize him before they could take him out of the carrier.

We put a collar on him with a message cylinder. In it, the little rolled-up note said, "Please call us if this is your cat." We wanted to tell his "owner" that we had taken him to get medical care for an abcess.

His "owner" called and, in high dudgeon, told us not to put a collar on "his" cat. We told him to take better care of his skinny, injured cat. A chilly silence reigned between the two households, while the cat blithely continued to frequent both establishments.

About a year ago the neighbor moved. His parting words were, "Well, he's your cat now." The cat thought the same, because he moved in lock, stock and barrel. A cat's move, by the way, is signalled by his willingness to bring home his kill and spread the bloody bits around the bathroom floor.

Since then, cat has called our other house "home" and been mostly a standoffish outdoor cat, occasionally coming in for pets, but mostly just announcing his presence with meows and his presents with yowls of glee.

We decided, for human reasons beyond feline ken, to move him to our current house to join our two sister cats (who hate each other) and our dog (who loves all creatures great and small). This meant capturing the beast and putting him in a cat carrier.

He is big and strong and loud, but we finally got him in the carrier, washed out our wounds and put alcohol on them, and brought him home to this house.

He's currently in a room by himself, with a couch all to himself, kitty litter box, food, water and all the comforts of home. I expected wild, furious, aggressive behavior from him, given his past exploits. Curiously enough, he has come out from behind the couch every time I come into the room and jumps in my lap and demands pets. I never expected the transformation from hellion to needy cat, but that's what happened.

We're going to keep him sequestered for 3 days or so, then introduce him to the rest of the family. With any luck, there won't be any more blood shed. Maybe he will fit in better than I ever expected. Cats are full of surprises.

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