Murray the Cat is One Year Old

Today I’m making split pea soup, roasted cabbage, black beans N rice, and apple crumble. I still have pumpkin muffins left over from a few days ago. This will be the basis for meals this week.

I like pea soup because it’s hearty and SO easy to make. I discovered boil-in-bag rice when a friend dropped some off when I had the flu. Boil in bag, where have you been all my life? I’ll add black beans and celery and a bit of hot sauce. The apple crumble is because apples were on sale, 3 for $1.

The weather is turning fall-like here in North GA. I read on Twitter a funny line that encapsulates the situation:

“The nights know it’s fall, but the days haven’t committed yet.”

The nights are in the upper 40s/low 50s but the daytimes are still in the upper 70s/low 80s. It’s hard to dress for such a wide range of temps. But I’m not complaining, The days are warm enough I don’t have to turn on the heat yet at night. Best of all, the humidity is gone. The nights are so clear I enjoy standing in the yard when it’s dark, just looking at the clarity of the stars, moon, and planets. In rural GA there are no ambient lights to compete with the glory of the heavenly lights.

Murray the kitty was born sometime last October. The neighbor who lived here at the time, noticed the kitten living under the shed, and was often cold or hungry. She started feeding him. After 8 weeks or so, she had him fixed and attended to be the local vet. He was still an outdoor, yard cat though.

Once you start feeding an animal, it’s my position that he is your responsibility. It’s cruel to teach the animal to depend on you for food ad water and then take it away. At one point in early January last year we were predicted to have exceedingly cold temperatures, near zero, which is unheard of for this area of the south. The weather forecasters were advising people to bring in their animals, to the house, the barn, wherever. I asked the neighbor if I could bring Murray in, just for the duration.

Ha ha. The duration is ongoing almost a year later. Keeping Murray inside with me was fine with the neighbor, and eventually she moved away anyway.

At first, he was standoffish with me, and minimally affectionate. I could see he wanted affection though, even when he was a yard cat. He’d come bounding out from under the shed, his home, when I drove in from school. I’d groom him at the picnic table, and pet him. He would only stand it for a few minutes though. He was too preoccupied with being alert for noises and predators and danger. Let’s just say he was skittish.

But I could see the cat he wanted to be, and when I brought him in, I started a program of behavior conditioning.

When he came up to me for petting, I pet him but I always let him go before he fussed. Leave ’em wanting more was the motto. Plus, I wanted him to know he wasn’t trapped.

When I groomed him with the comb (clipping nails came later) I stopped before he fussed and I immediately praised him and gave him a treat.

I left him alone when he decided on what spot to take for his naps. He chose the blue chair in the bedroom and I made sure it was always available to him, so he’d know he had a safe place to sleep.

It took a long time before he would climb on the bed to sleep with me and cat Bert and cat Luke. He just started doing so in the last month or so. I’m so excited when he comes up but I try not to manhandle him too much, but pet him to acknowledge him and let him know he’s welcome, and then I just let him sleep where he wants. Increasingly, it’s been closer to my head. He started at the feet, for 2 or 3 minutes. Then by my knees for 5 or 10 minutes. Then by my shoulders for an hour. Now he feels comfortable enough to sleep near the pillow for as long as he wants. Usually till 4 am and then he sits on the back of the couch and whacks pictures off the wall, sigh. I said he was growing, but not perfect 😉

At first I thought I’d have a problem with Murray and Bert. Bert is aloof, mild mannered and private. Murray of course, immediately gravitated to Bert. They snarled a few times because Murray likes to scare Bert by leaping on him while Bert is snoozing. Of course this is aggravating to Bert.

But Murray settled down into the pecking order and the three are downright chummy. Most days, lol. I have to remember that Murray is only just turned 1. He’s still a kitten and will misbehave and pull pranks as kittens do.

I still believe that three cats is too many for me and overloads this apartment, But I would not trade his life for my comfort. He is a precious l’il thing and as long as he is alive I’ll take care of him, and love him. He is my little snowball ghost kitty!

Here, Bert on the top bunk and Murray relaxing below. This would not have happened 9 months ago.

Impromptu kitty condo!

Doh! Murray leaps up and scares the kitty litter out of Bert! And Murray looked so innocent a moment ago!


2 thoughts on “Murray the Cat is One Year Old

  1. Loved your description of life with 3 cats. 🙂

    Also loved the quote regarding fall in the south. It's perfectly descriptive of a perfectly ghastly quality of the south I had forgotten about after years in the midwest and northeast – that fall is slow coming in these parts. But I'm trying to remind myself that winter in coastal NC is like a long fall. Except without the beautiful colors and the promise of snow. One can't have everything, I suppose. 🙂

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