Don Bauder 8:30 a.m., Dec. 11
Cats can make a little stability go a long way. Take Shady, for example. She's the 11-year-old feline featured in this installment of OB in HD.
About six weeks ago, we began feeding Shady regularly. We had noticed that she'd been begging around our complex on OB's Brighton Avenue for at least 10 days - and that, each day, she was looking significantly worse for wear. Her coat was growing mangier, and she was getting visibly thinner.
Eventually, with the help of a few neighbors, we learned that Shady had lived a few houses down our street, with a woman who had to move to Las Vegas. Upon moving, the woman arranged for a neighbor to care for Shady - but something didn't work out, and Shady basically ended up on the street.
Shady eventually established a begging routine at our complex, meowing at residents as they would exit or enter their apartments. I think she chose our complex because its small fence keeps dogs out. A competing theory - espoused by a neighbor - holds that, several years ago, Shady and her owner actually used to live in one of the complex's units, and that Shady has made her way back using long-lasting cat memory.
Whatever her origins, Shady seemed to have set up shop in our complex. She even slept on our porch each night - in a sitting position, through cold February and March nights.
My wife and I agreed that, while we would not let Shady come in our apartment (I'm allergic to cats), we would purchase a small "cat cave" and place it on the porch. Shady immediately began using the cat cave as a shelter, and continues to sleep there each night.
Shady is my name for her, by the way. She's a black cat. I think it works.
Shady has now enjoyed six weeks of steady food. We provide dry cat food twice a day, and our neighbor supplies canned food, or tuna, or Vienna sausage - whichever has most recently been on special at the 99-cent store. Over the course of the six weeks, Shady's coat has regained a healthy shine, and a calm contentedness has returned to her demeanor.
Overall, Shady seems happy with her new routine - and a few of us other residents are enjoying it, too.