Okay, this is more than a one-night sleepover.
This (^that) is Hippo. We tend to pronounce the ‘i’ as a hard ‘double-e’… as in ‘Heepo’.
Hippo was found on a Halloween night approximately fourteen years ago, when a teenaged Mac and I came upon her and her siblings on our way home from our annual trick or treating meet up with dear friends. They were all in the middle of a dark country road when our headlights washed over them
An older cat, we assumed she was their mother, was teaching the kittens about the circle of life. A squirrel, having come out on the losing end of a varmint-automobile face-off, was providing a meaningful (and probably much-needed) meal. Again, in the middle of the road.
Mac and I slowed and watched the cat and kittens race to the roadside and scurry over a crumbling, old stone wall. We did get out and try to coax them to us, but it became very clear they were feral. We’d need something odorous and more than tempting.
We needed tuna.
As smelly as our can of Starkist tuna was, and though each of the little kittens mewed their interest, only a single little one actually came close enough to take the bait.
I scruffed her as soon as she was close enough, and tried to ease her fears. She was spitting and hissing and boxing the air as I brought her to the car, where we had a carrier waiting with a soft towel inside. As soon as we got her into it, shut the door, and took a step back…
She broke out.
And flubbered her furry little patooty all over my car.
We’d managed to close the door just in time, and watched her climb and bounce and tumble all over the place until she had no climb-bounce-tumble left.
And then we took her home.
Her appetite having saved her (though she didn’t know it then).
Our hungry hungry Hippo.
But wait, Lisa, you don’t have cats right now…
Well, thanks for bringing me back to myself. You are so right!
Hippo was Mac’s cat from the time we first brought her home and, when Mac and Jack moved to Connecticut five years ago, she went with them.
I remember something about Marshal Dillon Dingle wanting to snack on her. Seemed a bit of an overreaction to me, but I went with it.
Soon after, they were joined by Miss Ali, a gorgeous and precocious little kitten who – totally telling the truth here – walked out of a back pasture’s tall grass in front of twenty people, a flock of sheep, and a working sheep dog, and loudly demanded food and a home.
This was my kind o’ kitten.
One call to Jack and she became an incredible surprise for Mac (and Hippo got a sister).
Then, two years later, Mac and Jack and Hippo and Miss Ali moved to Seattle for a Great Adventure.
Which brings us to today.
When Mac and Jack and Miss Ali are working their way back across the country, where they will soon live… in Maine.
Oh, I know!
And now John and Blaze and Belle-ah and Hippo and I are hanging out here waiting for them.
But why is Hippo already here?
Well, Miss Ali actually loves a good car ride (and, as is apparent by the pics Mac has been sending back, a good truck ride).
Yeah. Not so much.
So, about a week ago, Mac and Hippo flew out here (Hippo in a carrier that fit under the seat so Mac could comfort her as needed). We got Hippo settled here and Mac flew back to Seattle a couple of days later. A few days after that, Mac and Jack and Miss Ali hopped aboard a U-Haul truck and started their drive to Maine.
We’ve had this cat.
And also two dogs, one of which is far too royal to ever put up with a cat.
Oh sure, Blaze might ‘leave it’ when we ask her to, but that is akin to telling Wyle E. Coyote to leave the roadrunner alone. I have already searched The Inn top to bottom for hidden anvils.
Haven’t found any.
Hippo is spending her time in the potting room, along with the connected back storage area. I am now marketing this space as an ‘Oceanside Feline Condo Unit with Industrial Farmhouse Style’.
In addition to her own countertop, sink, and shelving to perch in and upon, Hippo has a brand new cat tree, and toys, and a lovely dining area. Also, and at great expense, I added an en suite bath (the litter box slides into a nice, private corner). Security is also tight, with canine-proof gates at each entrance.
A visiting grandkitty ought to be spoiled (and safe).
Unlike Blaze, Belle-ah has been showing a lot of non-hunger-satiating interest in Hippo (and she in Belle-ah).
When the dogs are outside, Hippo sits at the french doors of her the Oceanside Feline Condo Unit with Industrial Farmhouse Style and Belle-ah visits. Hippo rubs her head on the glass, and Belle-ah flinches as if Hippo can reach her through the window and do life-threatening things.
Eventually, Belle-ah calms down and just looks a little confused.
I’ve been watching them, thinking they might want to meet.
So, today, I introduced them.
Initially, Belle-ah was curious and did a lot of sniffing while Hippo tried to mark her with ‘Property of Hippo’ scent stuff. I did not tell Belle-ah that Hippo was claiming her with spit because that is gross.
But do you see that up there, that fuzzy thing next to Belle-ah’s right ear?
That is Hippo’s bunny, also marked with spit stuff (I am certain).
Belle-ah must like the smell of it though, because right after this encounter she immediately picked up Hippo’s bunny and hid between my legs while chomping on the rabbit.
Seriously, those are my sneakers, and she is between my legs, chewing on the bunny and taking a step back each time Hippo comes to investigate. In addition to being more than twice as tall as Hippo, Belle-ah outweighs her by at least 45 pounds. I actually think she could take her.
This makes me think that Hippo’s saliva carries with it a message that she has mysterious superpowers and ought to be feared, regardless of her size.
Come to think of it, I think all cats might have that stuff in their spit.
After a while, Hippo realized that she had overachieved her mysteriousness and retreated.
I think she is making her thoughts clear in the following photo…
“That dog is broken. Bring me another.”
Eh, she’ll get over it.
I actually think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
You know, once they figure out custody of the bunny.
Thanks for readin’.
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