On Sunday, my Patient Husband heard Kiddo#1 call for help and went upstairs. I heard him laughing, and when he came back down, he said, “We have a cat.”
I pointed out that I knew we had a cat — actually, we have three — because of all the trouble I went through to catch it.
He said, “No, the new one. She’s remembered she’s a cat.”
After nine days of huddling beneath Kiddo#1’s desk, she had suddenly come out, was exploring, and wanted to get out of the room. She was meowing and asking to be petted. When my Patient Husband had gone into the room, she was sitting on the furniture looking out the window.
Literally overnight, she’s decided she trusts us. And with that out of the way, she’s turned back into a cat.
We have a name for her. It took a while, and we suggested silly names like Lucky, Newbie, and Tripod. I wanted a female form of Jeremiah, and I settled on Jerina. No one liked it at first, but (to be blunt) I didn’t care. She’s got a name now. (Jeremiah for a few reasons, starting with I tricked her, and she let herself be tricked. And also those flame-like marks on her face. Jeremiah, tell me ’bout the fire.)
Last week, before she turned back into a cat, I brought Jerina some food and sat while she ate. I laid on my stomach and watched her. She purred while eating, and she let me pet her head. After a while, she stopped eating and flopped over, and then she had her eyes closed and her neck flexed all the way back. She rolled so she laid on her back, paws in the air, belly exposed, my fingers on her throat, and I gave her as much petting as she wanted.
She got to her feet and got under my arms and chest while I lay there, and pressed her face under my neck, then pushed herself totally under my arms, purring so hard it shook her body. Out in the wild, who pets a cat? How long had it been?
Then she looked up and looked me in the face, and I swear, she looked betrayed.
She stopped purring and walked back to her food and ate. She didn’t want me to touch her again.
My father says she just got overstimulated. But I know what I saw, and in her eyes, I read shock. I wasn’t the person she expected to see. She was remembering someone else who had loved her, someone else who had petted her, and in her heart, she was back there in that person’s arms right up until the moment she opened her eyes and realized it wasn’t.
My loyal cat. Our injured abandoned loyal cat.