Sunday, March 01, 2009

Snow Leopards of Atlanta

A major snowstorm has hit the Eastern U.S., and this time it hasn't spared Georgia. In Atlanta, it started snowing at about noon and continued until the late afternoon. The picture out my front door was taken around 1 pm. Most of the snow melted soon after falling, but freezing temperatures tonight threaten to make the roads icy in the morning.

For what it's worth, the City of Atlanta doesn't own even a single snowplow. The strategy here is to just wait until it melts, which in most cases works within 24 hours.

Snow is not the norm in Atlanta, although it does tend to snow here about once a year. However, snow in March is more unusual. I can already hear the neo-cons at my office saying that this unseasonal weather is proof that global warming is bunk, although even a sixth grader knows the difference between "weather" and "climate."

But the big news here in the Shokai residence is the new arrival of a cat. A couple weeks ago, when I returned from my Sunday trip up to Chattanooga, a cat was on my porch, sitting on the mat in front of my door. As I approached, it ran away but the next morning, as I left for work, it was back again - we were both a little startled to encounter each other when I opened the door.

As you might have guessed, when I came home from work on Monday, it was still there. Although I tried to call it to me, it still ran away any time I got near. But every day, it was back again on my porch.

Eventually, I put a bowl of food out for it and saw it eating from the bowl several times (it looked a little skinny). Although apparently appreciated, the food offering didn't make it any less afraid of me - it still ran at the first sight of me. This went on for about two weeks, and I finally stopped putting the food out last Friday after I saw a raccoon devouring the meal.

Alert readers might recall that I rescued a raccoon from starving at the bottom of my garbage bin last summer. I would like to think the now fat raccoon eating the cat food was the same animal, but there's no way of telling for sure. In any event, the local raccoons have benefited from my kindness.

Anyhow, while I was taking the picture above during Atlanta's unseasonal snowfall, the cat darted past me and into the house. Despite its fear of me, it must have been more dismayed by the weather. I just so happened to have kitty litter and a box left over from a former cat, now off living with an ex, so I set up a little area for the cat including a bowl of food, water and a litter box, and figured we'd ride out the snowstorm together.

It hid under the bed for an hour or so, but I didn't disturb it. It came out a few times but darted right back under the bed at the first sight of me. However, I eventually found it sleeping up on top of my bed and, approaching slowly, began to stroke it. As I demonstrated my lack of meanness, the cat slowly came to accept me.

Now it's following me every step around the house, almost tripping me as it's beneath my feet. He (I determined it's a male by his big fuzzy balls) won't be in a room without me. He seems generally healthy and free of parasites, and I can't tell if he's someone's lost pet or a true stray. I opened the door several times to let him outside, but after he had a look at the weather, he opted to stay in the house. I really can't blame him - it's cold and wet out there.

So it seems that now I have a cat, or, more accurately, it seems that a cat has adopted me. He's an orange and white tabby, with leopard spots on his sides and tiger stripes on his flanks and tail. I'm still working on a name - I've already named cats "Karma" and "Joshu," so I'm open to new suggestions. So far, though, I'm leaning toward "Elliott."


GreenSmile said...

Or perhaps just "T.S."

It it interesting to read tales wherein a choice, deliberated or not, to act upon a moral impulse either must be made. I too would take in a cat.

Donna said...

I love the name Elliot. It's better than Amos or Andy! You posted a wonderful personal experience and I loved reading it!!