Photo Comments Age: 6 Years Sex: Male Weight: 15 lbs.
Leave a treat for Gandalf
Catster stats for Gandalf
fuzzy-butt, mr. pointy hat
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December 6th 2011
Gray and White
lounging in bed, playing with Gigi, snuggling with mommy, and being the only cat who gets along with everyone
when Gigi and Sebastian fight, when anyone gets more attention than him
Favorite Nap Spot:
bed (mine, not his)
purina one indoor formula
gandalf ihas crazy diplomatic skills, acting as the peace maker when Gigi and Sebastian have their stand-offs
Shortly after the yardwork became a regular pass-time, and Gigi started coming around more for the attention than the food, a mysterious visitor began gracing us with his presence. Every now and then Gigi and I would hear a noise, or sometimes just sense that we were being watched. If we managed to look up in time, we would see a shaggy gray kitty lurking at the edge of the woods. But as soon as we noticed him, he would vanish back into the underbrush. This happened once or twice a week at first. Eventually, the handsome stranger stopped bolting the moment he was noticed, and began coming around more frequently. He never set paw in the yard, just sat at the edge of the woods and watched us. And watched and watched ... but never came any closer than the edge of the woods. After a good couple of months, he began to join Gigi for meals occasionally, but if he so much as suspected that I was watching him eat from the window - he was gone. After what seemed like ages, he would tolerate my presence out on the deck while he was eating. But if I made any sudden movements, or even thought too hard about trying to touch him, he would slink away. Eventually, we got to the point where he could be at one end of the food dish, eating, and I could be at the other end of the food dish, watching - so long as the aforementiond rules about sudden movements and contact attempts were strictly followed.
He was always quite suspicious of my left hand, which every so often could no longer resist the urge to pet, comfort, and calm the fuzzy bundle with the incredibly sad, un-kitty-like eyes. He ate with one eye on said hand at all times. So one day I decided that it was time to be slightly less respectful of Gandalf's strict rules about touching, and show him that whatever his past experiences may have been, contact was not always a bad thing. When he came around for the typical afternoon snack, I took up my usual position at the other end of the food bowl: crouched frog-style with my hands on my knees. After the munching commenced, I moved the ever-watched left hand off to the side drumming my fingers on the deck to get Gandalf's attention. After he paused to suspiciously track the moving hand, I blindsided him with the other hand, landing a good solid ear scratch and head pat. I'm not sure which one of us was more surprised that it worked, but it was definitely a huge success! As I pulled back, fully expecting him to retreat, I was positively FLOORED when he walked right over to the offending hand and headbutted it, looking for even more affection! Gandalf has been a big fat pushover for love ever since.
Conclusion to the collective story of Gandalf and Gigi:
All through the fall, Gandalf and Gigi remained outside, enjoying the woods by day, and nesting on/around/under the deck at night. They came to my rescue one night towards the end of October, when I mistakenly thought I heard them out at night, only to find that there was a trio of raccoons usurping the leftover kitty foods. After that incident, I decided it was time for the kitties to begin coming in for the night. Gandalf was more than happy to comply: at dinnertime, I had only to hold open the door and in he darted (after being carried in the first time). Gigi on the other hand was not happy about coming in at night. She avoided coming up to the deck at the usual dinner time, and I would have to go out and find her or wait for her to sneak up later on at night, and she always had to be picked up and carried into the house. Both kitties were more than happy to be let back out in the morning though. Meanwhile, Sebastian was not at all happy about sharing her house and her people with foreign dignitaries. She spent most of the nights hiding behind the couch, and if she did venture out, it was marked by excessive hissing and growling (usually at nothing, since Gandalf & Gigi were perfectly happy to stay close to us when in the house).
Then it happened: the Monday before Thnksgiving, I let the kitties out for the day and everything went as usual - they hung around the woods and the yard, frequently coming up to the deck to request some attention - but when dinner time arrived, it brought Gigi but no Gandalf! At first, I thought it was odd but didn't worry too much - they always came back for breakfast regardless of their nighttime whereabouts. But morning and breakfast time came and went and still no Gandalf. Now I was worried. I posted pictures on facebook, hoping maybe someone had seen him, or knew that he was ok. I was torn between wanting him to come back to us, and hoping maybe someone else had taken him in (although with his generally untrusting, skittish behavior, I was a bit skeptical about that). Either way I just wanted to know that he was safe. Thankfully, he came wandering back of his own accord the Saturday after Thanksgiving, seemingly no worse for wear, but most definitely glad to be back home. While he had been gone, I went and got breakaway collars for him and Gigi with my phone number on them, in case something like this ever happened again. (Incidentally, Gigi lost hers within the week.) But in that week, I managed to get the ok from my other half to bring the kitties in permanently! They became indoor kitties on December 6, 2011. Gandalf has never once ventured out again (in fact he immediately bolts in the other direction when the door opens, as if he's afraid he'll be forced back outside). Gigi has escaped on 2 occasions, but never for more than a night, and her last foray out was more than a year ago.
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