My husband is downstairs, building a very small house for our front porch. It looks a little like a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home for cats, and it’s the latest step in my fiendish plan to adopt the stray cat known mainly as Boyfriend.
Boyfriend has been around since June or July, when he showed up, starving and timid, on our front walk. We fed him and he kept coming back. He got his name this summer, after he developed a habit of calling up to my office window when he wanted food and cuddles. Smitten, I thought of adopting him then, but we had two cats at the time. So Boyfriend remained outside. And I stopped worrying about him because he appeared to have been taken in this fall. I’m thinking he was taken in by the college guys in the neighborhood because he’s fat and not neutered.
But then my older cat, Copy passed away. And then all the students started going home for Winter Break, and Boyfriend started coming around, asking for food and trying to get into the house. And I started thinking of making him a permanent family member and giving him a permanent home and a permanent name.
Boyfriend’s had a lot of names. When he showed up scrawny and kittenish, I started calling him Oliver, but he’s turned out to be more of a Sikes. I’ve called him Dragon, after the cat in the Rats of NIMH, (I caught him with a rat in his mouth one evening in September) but that name hasn’t stuck. I’m considering calling him Gus, after the tough-guy protagonist in one of my MFA friends’ manuscripts. But until I get him into the house, he’s Boyfriend. I don’t want to name him and then find out that we can’t keep him.
And there are a lot of things that might prevent our keeping him. The foremost? Our remaining cat, Goober, who is a male and about the same age. The two boys were allowed to meet through our storm door this afternoon. Both of them hissed and swatted at the same time. Not a great introduction. And if Boyfriend (who will be whisked off the the vet in my chariot) has Feline Leukemia or FLV, he’s not going to be able to join the household. The chances of him having one of those diseases is pretty good, because he’s a lover and a fighter. Little pieces of him have been disappearing over the past few months. Based on the number of fights I heard this past summer, it’s a wonder he has any ears left.
And that’s another reason that Boyfriend might not be able to come indoors. I really don’t want him to remove Goober’s ears. Goober attacked my older cat all the time, but I don’t think that he’s prepared to defend himself against the teeth and claws of a cat who has been living outside his whole life.
So I’m not sure if we’ll be taking Boyfriend in. But we’ve wanted another cat and I can’t think of a better way to adopt one. Time will tell, though. Boyfriend might not be the type to settle down. And that will break my heart, because he’s everything I’ve always wanted in a boyfriend.