It has been a little while since I made an update about our latest feral kitty, the tiny and very autistic kitty, Zeeta. And that is because change is slow with Zeeta. Zeeta is a kitty of routines, and you must never vary Zeeta’s routines. Sameness is the glue that holds her world together. “Change,” says little Zeeta, “is EVIL.”
I recently had a very fine reminder of this.
Because I have been sick, I have had a tendency to get up at least 5 times in the night. And Zeeta had worked this behavior of mine into her “world view”. We had a routine. She would come into my room at night, hop up on my bed, get love and snuggles until a sound or movement sent her fleeing into my closet. And there she would stay until I got up for my drink of water, and returned. At that point, Zeeta would come out and make her inquiring “mak” sound, asking if she could get on the bed. And I was supposed to say, “hup, hup”, pat the bed, and she’d hop up, get love, and then settle until the next thing scared her.
Well, I’ve been doing better. And one night, after she fled to the closet, I stayed asleep. Fast asleep, until I was awakened by a very odd noise.
It was a noise that cannot be properly described in text. It needs … an illustration, and it went something like this:
Zeeta was walking back and forth next to my bed, occasionally doing circles, with hair practically on end. She was so upset that it took her a minute to register that I was calling her. When I finally got her to come up to the bed, she continued to “mak” at me, because of the horror, and it took a lot of loving to settle her down, because … Change. I’d changed my routine and threw off Zeeta’s entire world.
In the morning, after the dust had fully settled, I did find it terribly amusing. Because I am an evil, heartless, Cat-Mommy. But the upside was that her experience actually lead to some improvement in Zeeta’s state.
The next few nights, when “the thing” scared her, she hesitated at the edge of my bed. You could see the wheels moving, as she considered that if she got off the bed, maybe I wouldn’t wake up, and she’d be stuck on the floor, “mak’ing”. The hesitation led to her sometimes deciding just to settle at the end of my bed looking uncertain.
Nights went by with her discovering that staying on the bed did not lead to carnage and bloodshed.
And last night? There was no fleeing at all. She stayed with me, either laying on me or by my side. The little bugger was actually happy all night!
I don’t know what’ll happen next because I have noticed a definite, “One Step Forward, Two Back” thing with the Zeeta. Still! Change! For Zeeta, that’s really something!
Of course, none of this alters how she is when I am NOT in bed. I still can’t pet her or pick her up during the day. Verticle, walking Humans are still quite scary. In Zeeta’s mind, only being horizontal in my bed makes me safe. And if we are outside the house, she reverts to completely feral. Super-duper Feral. Even the three feral cats we feed outside the house are more comfortable around us than she is when we’re walking.
For an example, Mr. Biggie, our very old, feral cat hangs around us in a mildly social way when we’re puttering about in the yard. He keeps a buffer zone of at least 8 feet, but generally does not flee like Zeeta does when we, um, move. And Mr. Biggie always gives her a look for it, as if to say, “Really? You live in their house. What the @#$ are you running for?” I think he figures Zeeta has the good life, and is putting on “feral kitty aires”.
Poor old Mr. Biggie. Jatina is hoping he will move in with us this Winter. She worries a lot about him because he is such an old kitty. I suspect he will. I’ve caught him peeking inside the house lately when the door is open for a breeze. I think it is just a matter of time. He is already testing the waters.
And? Cienna’s friend “Baby” has been doing much the same.
We’re going to become the Crazy Cat ladies, aren’t we? That Destiny approaches, and it’s inevitable, isn’t it?
Ah well. At least it keeps the rats away.
And I really do like having a kitty sleeping on my bed. What’s one more?