The Persephone Saga

A couple months ago, not long after our last remaining kitty, Ororo, died, we were visited by a gorgeous cat with the most alluring green eyes I'd seen, surrounded by strikingly beautiful fur. She was so pretty, I took a picture of her.

We're oft visited by indoor/outdoor kitties. There's a tuxedo who lives nearby and every now 'n' again an orange tabby comes by. They don't interact with us at all—they stick to the yard and scatter as soon as I appear at the sliding glass door.

Persephone Not pissed—listening to something behind her

But this kitty was different in that she came up to the door and clearly wanted attention. Since she had visited us a few times, I figured she needed a name for reference. The name Persephone just popped into my head.

Visits continued. Persephone came the day after, skipped a day, then came the next. Each time she wasn't hungry or thirsty and seemed cared for. I say that because her fur was smooth and wasn't covered in nature like I'd expect from a stray, was very friendly and comfortable around people, at least me, so I assumed she was indoor/outdoor and was merely out and about in the neighborhood.

But cared for by malicious or incompetent humans who didn't put a collar on their indoor/outdoor pet. Holy shit, who does that?

However, I began to wonder if she might be a stray, whether she could, in fact, be a replacement kitty for Ororo. But then she stopped coming altogether, weeks went by, and I went so far as to delete her picture believing I'd never see her again. Even Tuxedo and Tabby don't go as long without visiting.

Development

Persephone hears OMG did you hear that?!

She came back—and she was dramatically thinner. To the point that the only way I could recognize her was by her green eyes and the shape of her long white whiskers. It was actually alarming. If she was indoor/outdoor, what the Hell had happened? Had she been abandoned? Had she'd gone this whole time hungry? Was she actually starving?

When she left I was wracked with worry. It made my heart ache out of concern for her. I even went so far as to walk all around the neighborhood looking for her, carrying food with me just in case. I never found her.

But she came back a few days later.

Questions continued. When I offered her food and water, why didn't she take any—despite the fact that she was perfectly comfortable around me, easily came up to me, and let me pet her thoroughly? How could she be a stray and not hungry or thirsty, even opportunistically so? She'd sniff the food, lick her lips, but not give it any more regard and concentrate on getting my attention and on relaxing around the patio.

Given her fitness and cleanliness though, I stuck with "indoor/outdoor" and, well, the weight loss was simply a mystery.

Later, it was suggested that perhaps she'd had kittens. Oh! Capital theory, that. I went with that—until another asked more detailed questions about how she was carrying the weight she'd lost, and a new theory emerged: She'd lost her winter coat. Kittens are centralized, this "weight loss" was all around and was, well, yeah, now that you mention it, a general loss of poof that I very well might have confused with winter/summer coat.

In/Out Challenged

The theory that she was indoor/outdoor was fine until she started to come by during the evening. In fact, at all hours. You see, I understood her coming by during the day—her humans would be at work. But both early and late evening as well? That's human time, when she should be in the indoor portion of her indoor/outdoor life.

So…if she wasn't indoor/outdoor, she was a stray?

I thought perhaps I'd scoop her up to take her to the vet to see if she was chipped so she could be returned to her humans and, mayhaps, chastise them into getting her a collar.

But I wasn't fully committed to it and Julia wasn't either. Taking a cat in to see if it's chipped is tantamount to "I want to adopt this kitty." We weren't at that point.

Persephone lioness pose We call this a "lioness pose."

Meanwhile

Her visits became more frequent. Much more. She would come not only every day but, as I write this, comes by multiple times during the day, staying for longer periods each time. I can get her to come to me semi-reliably by calling her name. And she loves to play hide-and-seek. She eats most times she comes by as well.

Yesterday, we had a special time. I went out into the yard and sat down in the sun and she came up to me, as always. Her fur warmed instantly in the sun, practically drinking it in. I brushed her with a strong metal brush and she emitted the most gorgeously luxurious warbly gurgly purrs I've ever heard a cat utter in my whole life. She was beyond happy at that moment, she was purely rapturous. For a brief moment, she rested her length against my leg, her chin on my ankle, squinted, and was utterly content. After that, we played with a stick and I noticed she has the longest claws of any animal, ever. So long they don't look like they've been trimmed in her lifetime. (Again with the stray/not stray question. If she was cared for, wouldn't her claws be shorter?)

I carefully inspected the fur I brushed up. Unfortunately, I wasn't qualified to look at what I was looking at, for I saw dander—but is that dander actually flea eggs or tapeworm casings or something more horrible? When I went back inside I immediately stripped and washed those clothes and took a shower. Can't be too careful.

As an aside, if she has fleas, wouldn't she be scratchy? In all the time I've seen her, I've never seen her scratch anything—not even her ears. So, if she doesn't have fleas, then that means she's not a stray, right? Because don't all strays invariably have fleas?

And if she has not fleas or mites—then she's been treated and is not a stray…right? It's physically impossible for a stray outdoor-only cat to not be somehow afflicted with some parasite, correct?

Persephone, Fred, Sorbet The three cats regarding each other carefully

A decision

The vet is closed today but when Persephone comes back on a weekday I'm putting her in a carrier and taking her to see if she has a chip. If she doesn't, then we're adopting her. If she is indoor/outdoor, but not chipped or collared, her humans suck. If she's a stray, she seems to like it here and she'll be loved and live a long time. If she is chipped and, at least on paper, cared for, then we'll stop feeding her and just say hey when she comes by, but not go out of our way to sit with her and pet her. We don't want to encourage her to become attached to us if she really does have humans who love her somewhere.

If we do take her in, there are worrisome questions, like was she ever in a home? Is she litter trained? Will she get along OK with the other cats? Will she regret becoming an indoor-only cat for the rest of her life?

Every time she comes by, she wants to come inside and be with us, it's crystal clear. I'm going to put a carrier outside and keep her quarantined from the other cats until she's examined. There are a hundred and one things that could be ruinous if exposure to the other cats was too profound.

Maybe she'll be our third and final kitty! If not, then she's been a very beautiful, fun, and loving (if fly-by-night) friend and I was very happy to meet her!