How We Met. A story of kitties, cars and good friends.
I have been reluctantly absent from the blog a few days. I do have material to put up, but haven’t had the time nor the motivation to put it together.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon sitting in the emergency room at the veterinarian hospital waiting to see if our friend Tratten was going to be coming home with us or be buried under the rose bushes at the garden lot belonging to The Man’s parents. Tratten was presumably hit by a car last week. He came home early in the morning and woke us up with a bloody face and a lot of sad meowing. He has been at the vet’s for the past week while they try and stabilize his broken jaw and alleviate his pain. It looked rather grim yesterday, but with further x-rays they think he still has a fighting chance. Thus he is now high on methadone awaiting results after the latest procedure. So fingers crossed he will begin to make his recovery.
How we met.
I first met Tratten in the parking lot at ICA Tuna in Lund. He and his friend were sitting on a brick wall. Tratten in particular caught my eye. He had this look of pure curious, joy written all over him as he leaned over the wall surveying the scene. I put my groceries in the car, then walked over to strike up a conversation. I must say their reaction to my forwardness was fairly reserved. They also looked a bit hungry. After a bit of inner debate I decided to buy them dinner. They accepted the meal with eagerness and a couple hops, skips and jumps. The next day I found myself compelled to return to the parking lot to see if my new friends might be hanging about again. Looking something of an idiot to the crowd of students walking by I called out to them with no luck at all. I decided to wait. Eventually they showed up slightly less resistant to my conversation. Feeling generous I invited them for another meal.
Eventually this turned into a pattern that would last all of the fall and a good portion of the winter. These two little furry creatures began to come running at the sound of my car and were sitting at my door long before the engine was off. Of the two kittens Tratten was the friendliest. He had big round eyes, a light brown tabby fur and a meow that grated on the nerves that he used relentlessly. His sibling looked like a Jersey cow, said very little and kept his distance except to eat.
My hope was to gain enough trust from these two little cats so that I could take them in and find them a home with lots of love and care. Thus, I spent almost every evening patiently feeding them small nibbles at a time hoping that I might be able to bring them closer to me. It worked with varying success. Sometimes they would let me stand right next to them at other times they would dart back and forth. Eventually I was able to put my hand in front of the food forcing them to push my hand out of the way to get to it. The hope was they would get used to my touch. This allowed me to sneak the odd pet into the mix. While the Jersey cat wasn’t at all pleased Tratten was. It got to the point where if Tratten just saw me he would roll around on the ground in ecstasy as if he were being petted by an invisible hand. If I tried to reach down and really pet him he would scoot away.
Tratten started to follow me to the car when it was time for me to leave as if he wanted to go with me, but didn’t know really what to do. On one particular occasion he did the strangest thing I have even seen a cat do before or after. Senstive viewers be advised. He followed me back to the car as usual, the driver’s door parallel to a hedge. He sat there and yowled for a few minutes. I left the door open hoping against all odds he might just hop in. But, no such luck. Tratten proceeded to dig himself a hole and promptly began to defecate while keeping his eyes locked on me, meowing away during the whole process. He wasn’t necessarily the discreetest cat or the smartest, but he was definitely a character.
Not long after this, with the help of my boyfriend at the time, Stoffe, we eventually managed to get our hands on Tratten and take him home. His friend however, was not having any of it. I continued to return to the parking lot to feed and persuade the Jersey cat to come home with me. Eventually he stopped coming altogether. For several months I didn’t see him. While I felt bad about my lack of success and worried more than I should of, wondering how I could have done things differently, I told myself if it were meant to be it would have been. Then out of the blue a cat came running out of the bushes on three legs, yowling in distress. Jersey cat had a very broken front leg. Presumably he was hit by a car. He came to me, but he wouldn’t let me near him no matter what I tried. At the very least I wanted to put him out of his misery. In the end I had to satisfy myself with sitting on the sidewalk with him sitting alongside me at a good safe, unreachable distance. We would sit like this until the cold got the better of me.
I brought him food which he would eat, but again eventually he stopped coming out. I assumed dead or very close. It was a very sad ending for me and the Jersey cat. What could I have done different? Why did he seek me out after all of those months? I just kept coming back to that he was a wild spirit and that he lived the life he chose and all I can do is respect his choice.
Tratten on the other hand came home to a house already filled with one already large feline personality and three humans all ready to love him until he popped. Decker the reigning cat was not at all cool with the turn of events and in retrospect we probably didn’t handle his situation with the respect it deserved.
Our friend Willy was staying with us at the time. Being an animal lover himself he became Tratten’s truest fan. I would often come home to find Willy’s butt sticking out from under the desk while he patiently worked on Tratten’s reserve. It didn’t take much time at all before our new kitty found his sea legs and was running around the house at break neck speed chasing whatever caught his eye. Turning over in your sleep soon became a hazard. As well as sleeping on your back with your face showing.
Being that his first physical contact was pushing past my hand to get to his food he developed a love for having his forehead petted. If you were not awake to do this for him he would head butt your face or nose, not just to wake you up but to show his affection, and continues to do so to this day only less frequently.
Tratten is well known for two things his stature and his propensity to go on walk-about for weeks at a time and both are affected by the other. He was a large cat to start with. When I took him to the vet to have him neutered I received a phone call letting me know that my very large kitten was not the six month old we presumed, but a three month old with baby teeth. I was also told that he was indeed not a female, but a male. I knew this already, but my boyfriend insisted I was wrong and demanded he be called Zoe.
With a new gender and no name we spent weeks trying to find something suitable to call him. In the end it was his best friend Willy who christened him Tratten. You see he was very, very cute with the protective cone on his head that was there to prevent him from licking his newly altered nether regions. Being impatient when hungry and unable to get a human to feed him by hand as often as he would like, he would scoop food up in his cone, throw it in the air and hope some of it would fall in his mouth. Thus, he just became known as Tratten. One needs to know that Tratt in Swedish means funnel or cone. Thus his name literally translates to The Cone.
Tratten has been apart of our lives for 8 years now. He spends his winters dually depressed, as we all do in the Swedish winter, laying on the couch gaining his traditional 8 kilos. Then Spring arrives and he loses those excess kilos on his walk-abouts that can last anything from days to weeks, returning home a lean, mean mice killing machine. Decker while still pretending to be the disgruntled step brother is often found giving Tratten’s forehead little baths. That these sessions usually end with Decker sinking his teeth into his neck when he is done, to remind him who is boss, is another matter. As is enforcing the house rule, wherever you lay it’s mine and I will have it back upon my demand or fur will fly chunky. But all in all they are devoted companions.
Decker’s usual nonchalant, some what joyful,reaction to Tratten being on walk-about is not to be seen at the moment. Upon Tratten’s recent absence he has become restless and is constantly in our faces looking for reassurance. Some how Decker knows that his friend, though irritating at times, is in a bad place and it worries him.
So we are all hoping, Decker included, that our little Tratten will survive another round with a Tratt on his head. If this is not to be the outcome, as we don’t want to put him through too much suffering, we have been very lucky souls to have made his acquaintance and to have shared our lives with him.