Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The cats of Agriana

Before there was Roux, there was Gracie Lou.  I found her at a shelter in Baton Rouge and immediately knew I had to take her home.  I struggled with a name, and finally came up with Gracie . . . she is gray and white . . . yeah, I know, not that creative.  As she got used to her surroundings that first week, she woke me up during the night to "talk".  I was particularly frustrated one of those nights and gave her my best chastising voice . . . "Graaacieeeee . . . " and at that moment I had a flashback to my childhood . . .

I was always just "Karen" growing up . . . unless I was in trouble or aggravating my parents . . . then I became "Karen Sue".  Using my middle name made me perk up and pay attention.  Plus it's a good Southern thing to do.

So as I drawled out "Graaacieeeee . . . " something in my brain told me I had to use her middle name.  She didn't have one, and "Gracie . . . Lou" just came out.  I think maybe I was thinking about that Sandra Bullock movie.  Anyway, it stuck and she was Gracie Lou after that.

This is Gracie Lou that first week at home.  This was about a month or so before Jeff and I started dating.

For the next four years, Gracie Lou made weekend trips to Agriana with us.  She didn't like the car ride so much.

The white towel in the picture was for when she got car sick.  Happened almost every time.  After four years, we moved up here and she hasn't been in a car since then.  Yes, she is very happy about that.

After we moved here, we had to send a piece of equipment to Monroe for repair.  When the machine came back, it had a cat in it.  It took me six months to get her to come within a foot of me, and eventually I was able to pet her.

We had her checked out at the vet and then spayed (catching her required an inventive scheme a la Jeff), and she has become our "Outdoor Kitty".  She is a great predator and definitely keeps the field mice in check.  One of my friends gently suggested that maybe referring to her as "Outdoor Kitty" wasn't appropriate and I should name her.  Coming up with another name is easier said than done.  We finally settled on Jamie, after the man (James) that owned the repair shop in Monroe.  He is a cat lover, too.

So Gracie Lou is in the house with us, and Jamie is all alone outside . . . and I decided she needed a friend.  I put a note on my facebook page, asking if anyone had a feral cat that needed a new home.  Jamie was still very skittish around humans.

A high school friend answered the call and gave me Purdy.  Kristen is much better at names than I am . . . she named Purdy after a brand of paint brushes because her coat color reminded her of soft paint brush bristles.

Purdy and Jamie became fast friends, and Jamie would even hang around the porch with all of us.  I think Purdy taught her to be more social and less afraid of humans.

Then we got Roux . . . and it all changed.

Purdy decided she likes the dog door and hangs around inside more than outside.  Jamie is scared of Roux and prefers to hang out at the shop these days.  Gracie Lou doesn't like Roux and prefers to stay on her high window perch.  Roux has definitely changed the cat dynamics around here.  Ah, but those are stories for another time.