When we bought our little house, we did not realize that it came with a backyard filled with rusty nails, shards of glass, small animal skulls, and a couple of feral kitties.
The cats are funny. Despite all the kindness and food we give them, they are still suspicious of us.
Sleeves is a real mystery. I'm convinced that he has some kind of problem with partial vision. I'll be standing right next to him, petting him, he'll be purring his head off, and then SUDDENLY (EGADS!) he'll notice me, and run away in terror.
But the big news is that if I approach him just right, he will allow me to pet him. He's incredibly affectionate, but his fear over-rides everything else.
I can't imagine what happened to this cat to make him so afraid. If we move too quickly, he panics and runs off, as if his life were at stake. He also cries piteously when he can't find his brother Cardigan. Sometimes Cardigan is off tom-catting, but more often than not, Sleeves will be howling with loneliness while Cardigan is just a few feet away. It's baffling and heart-wrenching.
Life is not all sadness and fear, thankfully. I have enjoyed a few exquisite moments of on-lap Sleeves-petting. This requires great cunning and stealth on my part.
Cardigan is bolder, but less overtly friendly. When we pet Sleeves, he thrusts his head into our hands for more. Cardigan, on the other hand, often tenses every muscle in his body, which seems to help him endure the humiliation of human contact. Robb and I are Food Dispensers, but we're only sometimes Cardigan's friends.
Occasionally, he'll curl up on one of our laps and have a nice snooze. Today all the kitties were squinting and soaking up the autumnal sunshine. Cardigan was trying to perfect the use of the persimmon pillow.
And, of course, he was being a perfect feline and lens-sniffing.
Linguine was, as ever, not amused.