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Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Taming of the Rocco

Our poor, benighted, ultra cautious, molto feral, warrior cat king, is changing! How so, you ask?

After 11 years of showing up at our door, wanting food but dashing under the nearest Adirondack chair, bench or parked car the second I opened the door to bring him brekkie, he’s sticking around. OK, he’s doing way more than just hanging about while I set his plate down.

The Summer Palace
Gaston warning Gus off
It started last month. He began spending most afternoons on our rarely used, small back porch landing. Naturally, I began bringing his afternoon meal out to him there in his new Summer Palace.

Ever the cautious one, he was still backing up a ways. ‘Whoa there Missy! Don’t step over my invisible, personal space boundary.’

And then...then? Earlier this week he stopped edging back. Yesterday the most amazing thing happened. As I spooned seconds into his bowl, he sniffed my hand. He got close enough to me so that he could and did SNIFF MY HAND!

I left it there so he could get a good snort of prime grade Donna skin. He must have liked whatever he inhaled because he then pushed his poor scarred head INTO MY HAND!

Did I mention that he’s been coming around nearly every day for 11 goddamned years and yesterday was the first time he let me touch him? No, no, let me rephrase, he didn’t let me touch him, he asked me to pat him, skritch behind his ears, ‘OK, now pat me some more and can you skritch both ears at the same time?’ After a minute or six (I was starting to wonder what the pay grade is for cat cosseters) he very gently swatted my hand away as if to say ‘yeah, that was real nice but let’s not get too cozy.’
Coco enjoying the show

Poor Gus
My initial thought was to dismiss his new lack of mega prudence around scary old me as being a product of catnip. You see, each morning when Gus arrives, Gaston starts howling to bring down the very heavens. The Amazing Bob alerts me to our furry Pavarotti's ferocious and impassioned rendition of La Donna È Mobile. Rocco's taken a run at poor Gus too. Grande hissing ensues.

I gather kitty weed and treats and head outside to attempt talking the herd down off their respective ledges. I’ve already mentioned my efforts to get them into yoga, spaz that I am.

This morning, before sprinkling the catnip, I extended my hand. Rocco didn’t shrink away. Gently and slowly I began petting and skritching, careful to not touch or brush his deeply scarred spots. He was fine, appreciative even!

We’ll see how this plays out over time. I honestly can’t see our grumpy boy going all soppy, sweetie, Bette-Midler-in-Beaches on me.

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