So far this morning, our faithful weather transmitter has reported temperatures of 0.9°F, 0.5°F, and 0.1°F. Brisk, to say the least. Nevertheless, the outside beckoned, and Effie went to the door to heed the call, but then turned away from the door to warm her paws on a heating vent.
Halvor has indoor shelter; we have been letting him in and out of my husband’s boat-building, etc. shop to come in from the worst of the cold. He has a bed full of warm covers, and food, water, and a litter box. I visit him there several times a day, and he greets me with the most grateful face ever to announce grace in the world. He has always enjoyed watching my husband work in his shop, and now he is like co-master of the domain.
The other cats come around: Torvald, Gunther, and a new explorer, a feral grey tabby I call Malkin. I have always fed Torvald and Halvor, but with Halvor now indoors, Torvald has to fend with the ferals. I continue to pet him and let him know he’s welcome. Gunther has been doing a sweet-kitty performance, and now I pet him instead of running him off. Halvor is out of his reach, so Gunther can no longer challenge his turf.
One evening last summer, Gunther introduced himself as the new dominant male. Halvor has been in the neighborhood for years. Gunther challenged him; Halvor ran him off and returned to me as if to say, “All clear, ma’am.” I praised him for teaching the stray what dominance looks like, and he hugged my ankles with his head.
Effie and Halvor are both dominants, and warm toward each other to the point of touching noses and wrapping necks. I wish I could bring Halvor into the house, but his mass is at least twice Effie’s, and the allergen flood would overwhelm my immune system.
Ah, well. The meadowlarks may not return in January this year as they have in the past; but warming and cooling, and all else, are in God’s gracious hand.