One cat too many…

“Why is the cat outside?” my husband asked, peering through the sliding glass door onto our gray-blue deck where, indeed, our cat appeared to be.

“I have no idea,” I said — because I had no idea. I hadn’t noticed our cat even attempting to sneak out the door. Typically, Tori, our cat (affectionately called T-Cat by my husband) escapes to the Great Outdoors in the Florida seasons when I want to escape to the Great Outdoors — not this time of year when the air is sultry at best, in the 90s in both temperature and humidity levels.

But there she appeared, in all her tabby cat glory, and, as we would have expected, she willingly came to the sliding door when called, eager to be back inside.

It wasn’t until she passed by me that I realized she wasn’t our cat.

It was a Sears Optical moment. Raccoon? Strange cat? What’s the difference?

I quickly pursued her before a cat fight ensued, and as I carried her to the door I realized she was a kitten, a younger version of our six-year-old cat.

My husband uncharacteristically offered this little thing a bowl of fresh water and then some food outside our sliding glass door. It lapped the liquid and chomped the cat food hungrily, and then laid down on our porch as if she owned it.

When a thunderstorm approached, this precious little thing disappeared, and my husband and I — who should have been taking a rare Saturday afternoon nap with a backdrop of rain — worried. What followed were little excursions into our wild back yard and wilder garage, nonchalant searches for a wee little kitten who likely couldn’t fend for herself.

Those little excursions let us know she was dry, apparently declawed, and had a voracious appetite as well as a thunderous purr. We fretted over what to do. What about the vicious dogs next door and the owner that routinely yelled “get it!” and the frenzy that followed? What about the storms that approached and burst and faded and were followed by more? What if she were to get hit by a car? Our car?

And so we took this kitten into our house for safekeeping. At first, we closed her in an expansive bathroom with food and water and litter box. Then we expanded her “home” to include the den, all the while trekking the neighborhood in search of “Lost Kitten” signs and attempting to spread the word through our neighbors and via our local Facebook Pet Finders.

She grew claws and a larger appetite.

Our teenager wanted to keep her, of course. I was tempted — at first. But I kept imagining a child crying himself to sleep because his cat was missing… I took the cat to the vet, who found she did have a chip. The chip company told me the organization who purchased the chip. The organization who purchased the chip had no registration information for the owner. No owner registered, no owner seeking a missing cat, no record of the vet who put the chip in the cat.

The presence of this little cat — who has taken to roaming the house and eating from Tori’s bowl and hissing or howling when the cat who belongs approaches (or stalks) her (and I admit Tori is rather intimidating) — is upsetting the balance in our home.

“They’re going to have to work it out,” said my dear husband, who thought they would learn to get along. But we are beginning to think he was wrong. Meanwhile, I keep a water bottle close at hand and squirt screaming kitties as early as 5 a.m. While I am thankful the “fights” mainly comprise hisses, growls, and screams. It isn’t pleasant — and it isn’t getting any better. We think this little cat may become emotionally scarred unless we can find her another home.

We’ve temporarily named this second cat “Trouble” and find ourselves singing Taylor Swift’s lyrics: “I knew you were trouble when you walked in” and “trouble, trouble, trouble….” but with a capital T.

Would anyone like to adopt a sweet little kitten? You can name her anything you want.

ADDENDUM: Just as I put the finishing touches on this post, I sent my husband a text to ask if he wanted me to post a Facebook message to see if someone would take the cat. He replied: “Might be too late for that.” Apparently, the cats had another skirmish, and Trouble timed the door and bolted. He hasn’t seen her since, and I doubt we’ll go looking for Trouble. She was one cat too many for us — or Tori was one cat too many for Trouble.

ANOTHER ADDENDUM: After work yesterday, I noticed Tori wandering the house as if looking for Trouble. In the middle of the night, my husband went to the kitchen, where he found Trouble and Tori nose to nose through the sliding glass door. Thinking they wanted to be with each other, my husband opened the sliding door and let Trouble inside. This morning they had moments of contentment and contention — and we still think Trouble would be better in another home as a solo cat. Do you want Trouble? Contact me. Seriously.

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