Mandy, an elegant black cat, loves some people and is very affectionate with her chosen few. I’m not one of them.
I’ve seen pictures of her on the laps of folks. People tell tales of her climbing all over them or head-butting them. But when I come to pet sit her, under the couch or the hutch or behind the curtains she goes…and stays.
But I’m working on her. That’s not only my job as a pet sitter, but, truly, I love the challenge. She’s stuck with me for ten long days. The fact that I’m the only game in town for almost all of those days might just be working in my favor. On day one I wouldn’t have bet even a dime that she would befriend me. Today, day seven, I’d be willing to put a little money on it.
Day one and two were tough for her. She darted around the house when I first arrived, desperate for a spot where she couldn’t be seen, but no dice. She settled under the couch, eyes fully dilated, and licking her lips (sign of stress) like mad. I put out some yummy wet food for her, and settled down with my Kindle to read for the rest of my visit. I did my very best to be non-threatening…just present, but not too close and not asking anything. I left my sweatshirt on the floor for her to sniff while I was away.
Day two was much like day one, but by day three, she was curious. Not curious enough to do much about it, but she wasn’t crouched as tightly, and she was willing to look at me. She wasn’t dashing around looking for a better hiding space. And she was eating, which was very good.
Fast forward to day six, and Mandy was more than curious. Rather than staying still in one place she was moving back and forth under the sofa, moving a little closer to me, and even taking treats from me. The treats were right next to my hand, so I could give her a quick stroke or two while she ate, and she didn’t run away. She even lay down, stretched out full-length, instead of sitting all tucked tight. That’s trust.
I thought that might be the best I could expect from this scared little girl, but she surprised me today. She was still under something (the hutch today) but she wanted to be pet. I reached under to give her a treat and my hand got head-butted. I started to rub her chin and head and she just leaned into my hand. If I stopped I got a quick head butt again. Very clear instructions! She got a nice long pet today, and she looked very content.
She really wanted to come out today, and even stuck her head fully out from under the hutch for just a minute. She kept walking over to the entrance but she couldn’t quite get herself to come out. She might just do that tomorrow…I wouldn’t bet against her.
I don’t know if she’s decided that she likes me, or just that she doesn’t have any other options right now, and I don’t really care. I’m finally getting to see Mandy’s sweet side, and I’m glad I can provide a little comfort for her while her people are gone. We may not be BFFs by the time her folks return, but we’re well on our way to being friends, and that’s a lot more than I expected.