The Widening World of Wills’

Published 10:33 am Thursday, March 2, 2023

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Paul calls it, ‘The Widening World of Wills’ as we continue our affectionate journey with the ginger feral cat we took in (also nicknamed, ‘Spare’) a couple of months ago.


William has been on antibiotics for a solid two months at this writing, in various different strengths, to beat down the virus which nearly took his life. This final round seems to be doing the trick: the wheezing with each breath has gone, he is far more alert, even slightly flirtatious, and has put on a great deal of weight.

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When the rest of our cats were boosted, Wills was brought into the house and quarantined in the downstairs bathroom. This, he loved. The linen cabinet was placed in front of a window, looking out into the woods, with the heating grate directly next to it. For a little cat whom we both feared had frozen to death when we found him, Wills decided that lying on top of the cabinet, and staring outside with wonder while cozily warm was the life for him and he refused to budge. Weeks went by…we left the door to the bathroom open, and fed him regularly, but as he remained in recovery mode, he simply slept and ate and periodically used his litter box.


Realizing that Wills is the sort of cat that would rather not make his presence known, but instead, blend into his surroundings, Paul carefully carried him into the guest bedroom. This suited Wills even more. He had an entire bed on which to luxuriate and, with the exception of rising to greet us next to his water bowl in anticipation of food, has not budged.


“It’s happening again,” I said to Paul. “Just like the bathroom. He’s never going to leave.”


Funnily enough, he’s also repeating a particular behavior of staring at us through the reflection of a mirror. This began in the bathroom when he would stare at the vanity mirror at me whenever I came in to check on him. He would sit up, stare, and then jump out of his skin when I would reach out and touch him, not putting together that the image in the mirror wasn’t what was actually happening. After the initial shock, he became very receptive to all kinds of petting and cuddling.


Now in the bedroom, he gazes at the mirror on the wall to the side of the bed, 99% of the time. I have to make a little noise to get him to turn his head and realize my physical presence.


“Maybe he doesn’t have great vision,” said Paul.


“Or lives in a sort of feline, parallel universe,” I suggested.


And then, in a very big move indeed, while I had taken the dogs outside, Paul carried Wills from the bedroom and put him on the ‘chair-and-a-half’ (or, as I like to call it, the ‘chair with two dogs wedged in it’), and there he sat, as bold as brass, as I opened the front door and the dogs came tumbling in. They didn’t startle him. He sat staring at them with a slightly bemused expression: through the reflection of the glass in the front door.