When we first took him in, he didn't like confining spaces and wouldn't go in the garage at all. But as it got colder (and last winter was really cold), he threw caution to the wind and decided to venture into the garage and found he really liked the bed I made for him, a Rubbermaid tub with a pillow in it - his own little man-cave. As the winter wore on, he even came into the house, where he was restricted to the kitchen. But for some reason, he wouldn't go into the office, a small room at the back of the garage. That changed sometime this fall when we took the sheetrock off the wall between garage and office and his curiosity got the better of him. After we moved the wall and put the sheetrock back up, he came into the office and would stay in there as long as the door to the garage remained open, but he was quick to run out into the garage if something startled him.
Now Hubby claims that this is my cat, but if he is in the office with the door closed between the garage, the cat will paw the door until Hubby opens it, and then Hubby will leave the door open even though it lets a cold breeze through. Not his cat, yeah, right.
And then the cat discovered how to play.
Other than batting at a string or a toy mouse for a few seconds, we have never seen the cat play with anything. I guess staying alive out in the wild leaves no time for play. After I bought the little squeaky mouse, he pounced on it a couple of times, and then decided it wasn't worth any more of his attention. But after he got over his fear of the office, he noticed a little rug inside the door. The rug has a rubber backing, but over time it hardened to the point that it might as well be teflon. At first the cat avoided the rug because it sometimes slips underfoot. But one day he took a long run at it, dug his claws in, and wrestled it around until he had rolled himself up in it. Then he calmly walked out from under the jumbled rug and went to his bed.
So Hubby straightened the rug and put it in front of the door again. The cat sat in the doorway pondering the situation and then made another run at the rug. When he had it sufficiently wadded up, he again calmly walked away from it and over to Hubby's chair and then meowed as if to say he had done Hubby a big favor by getting the danger away from the door. His reward was a Dorito, which he sniffed and then rejected disdainfully. Not the reward for conquering heroes he had in mind.
There's another rug on the garage side of the door, but it is bigger and it's rubber keeps it from sliding. It's no fun at all.
After that, it has become a daily ritual for Hubby to straighten the rug so the cat can roll himself up in it, push it around, or crawl under it. The other day Hubby said the cat began running from the far side of the garage, grabbed the rug and skidded across the floor with his back feet flailing wildly as he tried to stop before hitting the refrigerator. Thud!
Since he has started playing with the rug, we've also seen him playing with the squeaky mouse by himself, and bits of wood scraps. I've tried to catch it on video, but when the cat sees me, he usually quits. This is the best I've been able to get. (Warning, the radio was on when I recorded this.)
Even though it obviously annoys the cat, sometimes I pick him up and carry him around. I know he doesn't like it because he pushes a leg against me to get as far away as possible and refuses to look at me. But I discovered one day that he likes to be bounced like when holding a baby, and he started purring. He will sometimes even turn his face to mine and touch nose to nose. When I sit on the floor, he likes to sit in my lap, but I haven't been sitting on the floor since it got cold. He's never liked sitting in my lap while in a chair, but the other day he walked into the office, went over to Hubby, and put both paws on Hubby's knee and meowed. He acted like he wanted to jump into Hubby's lap and since he can't seem to understand not to use claws when jumping onto anything, Hubby picked him up instead. The cat couldn't find a "lap" and finally stretched out on one of Hubby's leg's with his tail in Hubby's face and his head hanging off of Hubby's knee. Not the best arrangement for Hubby, but the cat seemed happy with the arrangement.
Hubby's usual morning routine is to go out to the office to make his coffee. We've been locking the cat in the garage at night and Hubby lets him out in the morning to do his roaming. He usually doesn't go far, and when it's cold, he might not even go out at all. Then, when Hubby leaves for work, he opens one of the garage doors just enough for the cat to get in and out, but not enough for roaming dogs to get in. Sometimes Hubby doesn't open it enough and the cat can't get out. Or, like the other morning when he opened it just enough for the cat to get stuck.
When I opened the blinds in the kitchen, I saw the cat on his perch, and he saw me. I saw him stand up, stretch, and jump down so I knew he would be coming to the back door. I thought the garage door looked a little low, but the cat stuck his head under it, and wiggled his front two feet and shoulders under it, and then stopped. He tried to wriggle forward and then tried to wriggle backward. Then he just stopped and yowled. Even though I had a controller in the house, I couldn't punch the button or it would close on him even more. While I was trying to decide whether I should try to go out and push or pull him (I still bear the mark of the beast from elbow to wrist from the last time he was startled), he managed to wiggle on through the opening. He ran over to the kitchen door, and when I let him in, he followed me around meowing insistently. I'm pretty sure he was griping about the garage door opening.
Now we have another cat visiting. Hubby and I were in the house watching tv and we heard a sound that could only be described as a dying water buffalo, if I knew what a dying water buffalo sounded like. We muted the tv and listened, and sure enough, the sound was coming from the driveway beside that room. We rushed out, certain that something horrible had happened to the cat, only to find him sitting by the car warbling like that and another cat sitting in the driveway. Our cat was NOT happy and the other cat would NOT leave. I tried to shoo it off, and it just sat there watching me. Finally, I got a broom and it ran off. We don't know if it is a male or female cat, but it wants to be here with the cat. Hubby heard the wailing again a few days later when he was in the office. The cat was on his perch, and the other cat was outside looking at him. Hubby had to get aggressive to get the other cat to leave. It doesn't have the characteristics of a feral cat, or at least not like our cat had when he was feral. I think it would like to stay here too, but our cat has made it clear that he does not want to be part of a two cat family.
I was going to end this by saying that the cat doesn't bother anything in the garage when he is shut up in there. That was, until I was out today and saw these marks on my car door.
Bad Puddy Cat.
So there you have it. The cat rules.