Friday, February 19, 2016

Inky Winky

(Reclaimed from Blogjob, where it appeared with the tags Cat SanctuaryPriscilla King’s cat Inkysocial cats.)

Here's Inky, the newest resident of the Cat Sanctuary, looking very typical:
Not a typical cat image at all--the little white patch in the black fur, mirroring the black patch in the white fur, look unique--but this is a typical Inky pose. She doesn't stand still, sit still, or lie down in a normal cat pose. She rolls over and wiggles.
If you're still trying to see the cat face in that picture...note her long white side whiskers. Her face is turned sidewise to her body, and she's basically exposing her throat and upper chest, inviting tickling. That dark blodge that she's snuggling up against is the shadowed side of my own, slightly older kitten Sisawat.
Cats usually cavort like this when they're with people they love and trust, so when Inky first did it with me, I worried. "People say Manx cats bond with just one human for life. I can't be Inky's human. I'm already Heather's human. Inky should find someone else to love."
Inky tried to follow me into town one morning. I thought of a way to cure her of doing that and break up any emotional bond before it formed. I carried Inky into town with me. (I walked all two miles, along the main street of town. Inky cringed when motor vehicles passed by, but she stayed with me, all the way.) We stopped at the home of a nice older woman who has lots of friends and relatives and not much to do besides call and chat with them. I asked this lady to help find Inky a home of her own.
For about the ten minutes I stayed there, Inky was showing off what a cute, affectionate pet she was, snuggling against me, rolling and wiggling, licking my hand and so on. Then after fixing a water dish and litter box, our hostess sat down beside us on the couch. Inky went to her and snuggled, wiggled, rolled, licked, purred and cuddled exactly the same way she did with me.
At the end of the day I stopped--to find out who'd adopted Inky, I hoped. A few of our hostess's friends and relatives were there. Inky was acting as if she were any or all of their pet, too. Nobody had adopted her. Nobody had claimed her. Nobody had fed her. People had been just popping in and out, exclaiming over her unusual face and not taking her home, and apparently Inky had acted as if she'd been their pet, too, all her life.
So I took her home, and ever since then I've seen that it's true. Inky likes people, generally. She'll act as if she'd always been your pet if she sees that you appreciate that; she'll back off and leave you alone, too, if she sees that you prefer that.
I've never heard of a Manx cat being "outgoing." I've never heard of any cat being all that "outgoing." Some of the Cat Sanctuary cats have been friendly and confident with visitors. Some cats do like to go for walks, or for rides in cars, and visit other people's homes. Many cats like to look and sniff at new people, maybe rub against their hands or legs, or even sit on their knees, if encouraged. I've not seen another cat snuggle with brand-new acquaintances. Inky has set a whole new record at the Cat Sanctuary.
Sisawat, the young female cat who outgrew her original classic Siamese look but still has a classic Siamese voice and temper, was the one I was most worried about when Inky was dumped out on us. Would she be angry about a new young female cat--a pregnant one with the cat equivalent of mononucleosis, at that? Jealous? Territorial? Intimidated? It's not the first time I've underestimated my social cats. Sisawat will probably always look half-grown but she's a year older than Inky, and her reaction to Inky was motherly. She wanted to adopt Inky, wash the "winky" watery-eyed look off her face, and snuggle her. She still does, and from the first minute I let them be together, Inky has accepted Sisawat's practice-mothering.
Inky does seem to be more human-oriented than she is truly social with other cats, but she is one cool cat. I'm not worried about breaking her heart, now. I've seen that she really does act as if she were any reasonably friendly human's lifelong devoted pet. She listens to everybody, too--I don't know how many actual words she knows, but I've seen, and others have seen, that you don't have to tell her about a rule twice.
Let's say this to whoever it was that dumped her out on a cold night just because she had this rhinotracheitis: You have lost a once-in-a-lifetime pet. Neither you nor I can even imagine how special this kitten is likely to be.
I still think Inky deserves a lap of her very own to snuggle up on, but I'm willing to put up with any amount of her cuteness until the right person makes an offer.