The Tortie Saga: Part 5

BY PAUL SANDEL
Imagine Cattery

 

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In the article, The Tortie Saga, readers were introduced to the tale of a determined man and his new purchase, an uncooperative Tortoiseshell Persian, meant to be part of his smoke breeding program.

After repeated attempts at "making friends" failed, man and beast are not quite on the same page... although progress has been made...

And so the story continues...

The Tortie Saga: Part Five

As I write, The Tortie sleeps. She is in her cage, curled up in her doughnut bed. I wonder what dreams pass through her mind. Judging from the way she occasionally licks her lips, I’d venture to guess it has something to do with various parts of my anatomy. It’s been a hectic last few days for both of us. I was determined that if The Tortie wasn’t ready to befriend me, she at least needed a cat friend. Some feline buddy to help her feel more secure and show her that I can indeed be trusted.

With The Tortie safely behind bars, I had the other cats line up in the hall and explained the situation. I tried to get them to sympathize with The Tortie by explaining that while they had enjoyed a life of freedom, running and playing with their friends, The Tortie apparently had spent her life in a cage. Unlike you lap-huggers, I went on, she doesn’t know that when I reach out to her I have no intention of causing her harm. They all nodded as if they understood, then went back to licking their butts.

Our boy, Billy, is about as laid back as a cat can get and still be breathing. I asked him to go first. He was hesitant, but bravely agreed to try. I opened the door to my office and Billy and I cautiously approached the cage. The Tortie opened her eyes and assessed the situation. She decided the proper greeting was to hiss at Billy. Billy decided the proper response was to hide in the shower. I retrieved Billy and we approached the cage. The two simply sat looking at each other for a long moment… then The Tortie launched herself at the cage door, hissing and spitting. This time, Billy and I both hid in the shower.

Strike one.

Back out in the hallway, I thanked Billy for a brave attempt and then asked the girls to stop laughing.

Checking out my girls, I told Missy the black smoke to move to the front of the line. Missy is a confident, mature young lady. I thought that attitude might convince The Tortie that all was well. Unfortunately, Missy also has the attention span of a fabric softener sheet. I placed Missy in front of The Tortie’s cage and The Tortie sat and stared. Missy blinked at her, then went off to look at a fascinating ball of lint in the corner. I fetched Missy and sat her down in front of the cage. The Tortie again stared, looking interested. Missy wandered off to investigate the vacuum cleaner. Like everyone else, she’s heard it has recently been sexually molested by The Tortie (the vacuum cleaner is suing me for $2,000,000... but my lawyer says vacuum cleaner sexual assault cases rarely end in settlements more than $1,000,000... I feel SO much better).

Apparently, strike two.

Back in the hallway, I was left with two "volunteers". Our black smoke and white girl, Simone, and Page, our little black girl. I looked back and forth between them and felt little in the way of confidence. Simone is a seven pound mix of concrete and dynamite. She fears NOTHING. She rules our home and everyone who chooses to inhabit it. If there is a loud crash and everyone else takes off heels over buttocks (including me), Simone probably caused it.

And then there’s little Page. Quiet and demure, she’s the one that will sit at your feet and ask if it’s OK to be petted. Everyone else just shoves aside the newspaper, TV remote or whatever else is in their way and demands your attention. Page waits patiently to see if you might have the time.

Sighing, I decided Simone was my best bet. Her confidence might be just the thing The Tortie needed to witness. It might be contagious, even. Yes! The Tortie would catch it from Simone and would march out of her cage, tail held high and DEMAND I pet her!!!

Simone and I entered the room with a confident step. Simone walked up to the cage and began to sniff. Curious, The Tortie stepped forward and also began to sniff. The room was quiet, and if there really are pregnant pauses, I could have given birth to sextuplets and still had time to do the laundry.

Then, in what I would later realize was typical Simone fashion, Simone attacked the cage from three sides at once, using what appeared to be all 64 of her paws. Apparently, I passed out at this point. When I woke up, Simone was sitting quietly on the window sill grooming herself. The Tortie was still in her cage, but hanging upside down from the top bars like some sort of very fuzzy gymnast. She, too, looked a bit dizzy… I suspect from the blood rushing to her head.

Strike three.

Back to the hallway. And there was Page. Poor, innocent, sweet Page. We looked at each other for a long moment. This would be like sending Pee Wee Herman into the ring with Mike Tyson. Should I even attempt it? Page looked up at me with those big copper eyes, as if to say "I trust you Dad. You won’t let anything bad happen to me".

Sigh. Back into the office I go, Page at my heels. She hesitates when she sees the strange, multicolored object hanging from the top of the cage. The Tortie looks like a very strange disco ball mounted from the top of the cage. I turn on some 70’s disco music to make it seem more natural. Quietly, Page approaches the cage and sits looking inside. The Tortie watches, then does a dismount from the top of the cage that would have scored her an Olympic gold medal. She approaches the front of the cage to sniff Page.

I should have some dramatic ending, but the truth is The Tortie began to rub against the front of the cage. Page laid down and began to purr. And they have bonded. The Tortie has made a friend... at last.

More articles following the (mis) adventures of the author and his recalcitrant tortoiseshell Persian include:


About The Author:

Paul Sandel caught the cat show bug in 1973 at a young age. Shortly after that he saw a Black Smoke Persian at a show and was hooked. He states, "I was so excited when I finally purchased my first smoke, I felt the urge to lie back against the headboard and have a cigarette. Unfortunately, I was only 13."

Paul stayed with the fancy into adulthood, eventually becoming an ACFA judge. He was forced to retire from cats to care for his mother when she became ill with Alzheimer’s disease.

Late last year, Paul was able to return to the show hall and is currently working on rebuilding the Smoke Persian breeding program of Imagine cattery. He remains under 24 hour psychiatric monitoring.

Editor's Note: The Tortie Saga is a work in progress. It records Paul's experiences with a tortoiseshell Persian he purchased...

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