I started this story in Jan. 2014, a month after we got Hazel. I didn’t realize I never published it! So, here it is:
I was a bit worried when Hazel continued to be skittish when we approached her. Sometimes she was playing “hard to get” but other times it was clear that she was just scared. A friend of mine got a new dog about 6 months ago, and she said it took him 2 months to get used to her household of 3 people and 3 other dogs. He wouldn’t bark – just make a barking gesture. But then one day, they heard him bark for the first time.
Although she purrs a lot when we pet her, Hazel doesn’t vocalize the way my other cats did. Maybe she doesn’t feel confident about meowing yet.I read that Manx cats are known for vocalizing, so maybe that’s not what other cats do.
But Hazel isn’t like any other cat: that’s what makes her delightful and a source of surprise for us!
For example, she likes belly rubs. Most cats I know will turn over to expose their underside when I pet them, so I think they want to have their belly rubbed. But – it happens every time – within a second or two they are trying to bite me! Not Hazel – she really does like it when we pet her belly and will enjoy it for half a minute or so.
Another thing she does is sit by the dining room table when we’re eating and look up at us like a beggar, just like a dog! The difference is that when we offer her a tiny scrap, she sniffs it but doesn’t eat it. After examining it, she resumes the beggar look!
Hazel likes to be near us, just not necessarily with us. She wants to know what we’re doing but doesn’t want us to call the shots. She’s got “cat-titude” as those who know “torties” claim. At night she sleeps near the foot of the bed, but jumps off the bed and leaves after awhile. Eventually she comes back and finds a bent leg to lie next to.
She also runs back and forth a lot more than I remember my other cats doing. They all did some of this – they needed the exercise. But she seemed to be set off by one of us approaching her. In fact, when we read her papers that the shelter gave to us, it was recorded that she HAD been adopted before – last April, but she was returned because she was “too active.” Is this what they meant?
Then a couple of weeks ago I was at a family wedding, and talked to a cousin I rarely see. She’s had many cats in her lifetime, as well as dogs. She currently has two or more cats. I told her about how Hazel runs away from us, then seeks us out, then runs away again.
“Cats, just like dogs, like to play chase,” she said. I had never known that! Most likely, she’s trying to get us to chase her. So I play along with her – sometimes. I tire of this game far sooner than she does. But if she’s still feeling frisky, she’ll play with one of her catnip toys.
She’s starting to vocalize more and more! At the beginning, we never heard her meow. When she wanted something from us, she’d just sit there and stare at us. She still does that but she is now meowing – a very small one – when she wants food or wants us to play chase.
This morning was the first time she meowed to get us to play chase. After breakfast, we were upstairs again and she appeared at the top of the stairs and meowed that small meow of hers. As I made a gesture to approach her, she took off down the stairs and when I got down the stairway, she was hiding under a table! When she saw me, she took off again, this time into the sun room. I couldn’t find her because she had hidden behind a stack of bins, or at least I think that’s where she was.
This, and the fact that she crawled up and slept next to my chest early this morning, make me believe she is really acclimated to the house and trusts us now. She has been spending more time sleeping with us, but that is probably also because the weather is extremely cold here now.
Last night she even let me take a video of her while she was on my lap and Dale was petting her.
She is a source of entertainment and comfort for us and it’s great to have a cat in the house again! It’s been too long!