Since these footprints showed up in the snow in January, I’ve been seeing the interloper on a fairly regular basis (Psst… I’ve added a bunch of links below if you’re new to the interloper saga).
He shows up at just about the same time just about every morning to get some breakfast. On the coldest of days, when I wonder about his welfare the most, I don’t see him. Following the clues, I’m pretty certain he’s made a home behind my neighbour’s shed. From the looks of his thick fur and bigger build, he’s managing all right.
And so am I.
The rawness I felt when we had our “misunderstanding” is healed. I feel content that he knows this is a safe spot, a nourishing spot. When I open the door, he gets interested. When I start to move outside, he moves away gently. We’re getting more comfortable with one another and I know not to push.
It reminds me of our Bascha.
When I brought Bascha home, she was a flea-bitten stray that the Humane Society had tagged “no more care”. She was fierce and skinny and beautiful. When you’d pet her, she’d purr but then she’d nip. She didn’t like to be picked up. At all.
Then I read some advice that recommended picking her up but then always putting her down before she squirmed, even if that meant holding her for just a second or two. I did this repeatedly and more and more she felt at home, more and more she trusted. Eventually she came to teach me what it means to trust utterly and relax completely as she would literally melt into my arms.
And so it is with this little one. I put the food out but don’t hang at the door, waiting expectantly. I join him outside for a little bit but go inside before he heads out. I let it be normal. I let it feel light. I’m not clinging or pushing or worrying. At least for now, I’m just enjoying his visits like I enjoy the clear blue sky.
(If you’re just joining the journey now, here are my adventures with the interloper: Adventures with the Interloper or How to Befriend a Stray Cat, Relationship Building, Sharing a Meal with a Stray, Endings & Forever Homes, A Little Update, Guess Who Came for Breakfast, Returned. Plus I share occasional updates on Twitter and Facebook.