The two kids and I have had a visitor the last few times we've done our carport camping in the pop-up: our very independent and totally vicious cat Ruby.
A feral kitten by birth, we adopted her in November 2002. In August, she will be eight years old. The Christmas before last, she went missing for 10 days, and we had given up hope, but she returned. She remains an outdoor cat, coming by the house in the mornings and afternoons for food. She hasn't ventured into the house in the nearly four years we've had Corrie the wonder-mutt.
[It wasn't as if she actually lived in the house before Corrie's arrival, but she would sometimes spend the night indoors, on her terms.]
But these last few times of our camping in the driveway, she has joined Daughter, Youngest and me in the trailer at night. The first night, she slept on the opposite side of the camper. The next time, she slept between the two kids. Last night, she slept next to me.
She purrs. She rubs herself against our legs. She kneads our bodies.
And then she bites us.
Because that's what Ruby does.
I put up with it, of course, feeling that raised-Catholic guilt that she's being shortchanged by her life on the street.
She might be a vicious cat and all, but she's our vicious cat.
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