Singing in the Rain
October 1, 2006
By Gary Michael Smith
You'll remember my Stray Pets piece on an earlier posting. This was the story of how my
significant other, Brenda, and I have, like so many others in our recovering New Orleans, taken
the responsibility to care for and feed so many stray pets who were abandoned during the
Hurricane Katrina evacuation. You also may remember "Jenny" as being one of those who
evidently once had an owner, but who also seemed to be making it on its own and began
spending more and more time at our house -- prompting us to adopt it about a month ago.
It was at this time that we realized Jenny was going to have to be renamed since the vet told
us she actually was a he. So, thinking that he probably lived by the grace of the many National
Guard troops feeding him while they patrolled our streets for weeks after the storm, we named
him Emory -- rationalizing that he must have fattened up on the high-calorie M.R.E.s for quite
some time. And this also is why we thought he was a she because the MREs had made him quite
fat, prompting us think of pregnancy.
Emory -- an Indoor Cat Now
We've taken in Emory, and he's currently trying to assimilate to indoor life with Chatgris
and Hambone. It's taking him some getting use to, what with a litter box, fresh and clean food
and water bowls, and a bug-free environment. But his survival skills still tell him to be wary of
any and all who approach him. Indeed, he still growls and hisses every time I pick him up, and
he'll even snap and bite me occasionally. But he never breaks the skin; it's more of just a
warning of what he's capable of.
We have discovered one interesting quirk, however. He loves to join us in the shower. It
started innocently enough with him bolting for the bathroom whenever he hears us turn on the
water. He then pushes past the shower curtain, hops over the four-inch step into our tiled shower
cube, and wanders around, blinking his eyes and shaking the water from his head as he circles
inside the stall. Yep, even though we have multiple kitty watering fountains, filtered and spring
water, Emory still enjoys licking the floor and walls of the shower -- while we bathe.
Brenda doesn't mind this so much, but I'm not crazy about it -- just something about showering
with a cat that doesn't seem right. I'll usually tell him to get out for a minute until I finish, and he
normally accommodates me. But he's right back in the stall as soon as I turn off the twin six-inch
sunflower shower heads. Otherwise, he's just as content to walk around the stall, with full
streams of water showering down on him, while I lather up.
No One Puts Me in Here (Water on)
My only explanation is that maybe it makes him feel like he's outside again, in a rainstorm,
enjoying nature at its best. He's clean and parasite-free, and I brush him occasionally, so it
can't be that. But I'm not inclined to dowse him in a tub of water like I do the other two boys
since he's still so uncomfortable being handled. I just don't see him taking too well to me
dumping him directly into water.
So for now, Emory continues to shower with Brenda or hop in as soon as I'm done. Who
knows what he's thinking, but what's the harm?
I Just Like It! (Water off)
Emory has now realized that I'm his dad and lays on the sofa with me every
chance he gets. Doesn't bite too much anymore, and easily lets me pick
him up now. He's also claimed the futon as his own and even
snifs noses with the other boys now and then. He's assimilating "in his
Gary Michael Smith is a writer in New Orleans. He can be reached at ChatgrisPress@ChatgrisPress.com.