Monday, January 4, 2016

Daisy's Difficult Days

It's official:  I am hiding from my cat.

Well, actually, I just put her in the bedroom and closed the door because I realized that we desperately needed a break.

Daisy has never been a "normal" cat.  In fact, I chose her at the animal shelter precisely because she was difficult and, having been adopted and returned twice previously, she was a No-Hoper.  I like tough cats, and I've had success with them.  If you can get through to a cat like that, you can build a relationship that is really special.  

It took months to reach Daisy.  She was smart and busy and adaptable but she was also deeply angry--the only cat I've ever had who actually lay in wait to attack me while I was asleep.  

She was and is grindingly stubborn and persistent.  
That's the problem today.

Several years ago, Daisy was sleeping in the afternoon sun in her favorite place on the porch when a coyote leaped right through the screen door to attack her.  I only just reached her in time and was able to scare the coyote away.  It was very frightening.  Weeks later, with the door repaired and re-inforced, the porch seemed safe again and since there had been no coyote sightings, I let Daisy enjoy the screen porch.  

But the coyote wasn't done with us.  

People dump animals in my neighborhood, and lots of them have come to my door: dogs, cats, a variety of fowl, even a lost horse.  I return them when I can, I send them to the shelter when I must, and I care for the feral cats who have no other option.  One of the cats who stayed with me for a couple of years, living with some safety under the floor of the porch, was (from the other side of the screen) best friends with Daisy.  They enjoyed spending time together.  Her name was Aggie.  

Daisy was on the porch the day that the coyote came for Aggie.  
I wasn't able to save her.  
Daisy saw and heard it all.  

I can only describe her reaction as a nervous breakdown.  She couldn't cope if she wasn't with me every moment.  When I had to leave the house, I'd return to find Daisy lying on the floor by piles of diarrhea in front of the door.  When this went on for more than six months, I seriously considered having her put down because her unhappiness was so desperate.  But I waited and I worked with her, and we got through it.  

Daisy, though, is a different cat.  Now she shadows me at every moment, is always under my feet, is constantly demanding.  She is willing to sit for hours just waiting for me to move.  If she thinks I am focussing on anything other than her, Daisy sits, butt facing in my direction, directly in front of me, and she wags her tail.  Not once or twice, but ceaselessly.  She will not be ignored.  I can't concentrate on my work.  I can't eat a meal in peace.  I can't watch a video or read a book.  She's right there wagging.  And I can't get away from her.  

This morning I was trying to come up with a plan of action for this week, and I needed time to think.  I moved from the study to the dining room to the living room to the bedroom trying to find some small island of calm just for a few minutes.  No matter where I went, there was Daisy.  Waiting.  Wagging.  Desperate for something indefinable.  Determined to force an unanswerable answer from me.  It was time for us to take a break.

The sunshine is lovely in the bedroom this time of day.  Hopefully Daisy will have a pleasant nap on the down comforter by the window while she's imprisoned behind a closed door.  And I'm sitting in the sunshine at my desk.  If the only thing I accomplish is being at rest for a few minutes, that will be enough.

Thing will look better after a little time apart.


I just wanted to edit to add that Daisy and I are both doing well. She had eaten and used the litter box before I put her in the bedroom, so she was perfectly fine. After two  hours in the bedroom, she asked to come out and I let her out right away. She was a lot more calm, and so was I.  

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