Tom is a beautiful cat, and he's a charmer. Every place I take him, be it the vet's offices or the kennel, he wins them over. Honestly. If I see someone from Orchard Grove Veterinary Office when I'm out and about, their first question is always about HT. The woman at the kennel went on for a good three or four minutes about what a lovely, exquisitely mannered and adorably playful kitty Tom is. And, apparently, he was an absolute dream when they bathed him. Still, he's a bit of a handful at home. He never, never attacks any of the girls. He's not an aggressive boy at all. In fact, in the past few days I've found him pushed away from his food bowl, sitting and watching as Jilly noms with a will. It's just that he's so freakin' playful. He wants to bounce around and race as fast as he can, and he wants the girls to do that, too. I can ameliorate this somewhat by playing with him as much as possible. Recently, he's learned that things moving underneath the bedding are fair game for pouncing (and when a nearly fifteen pound, solidly muscled cat arrows his energy down into one tiny spot (ie, your foot), it'll wake you out of a sound sleep.
Today, Handsome Tom experienced a whole new kind of fun: gift wrapping! Now, I've had cats all of my life. I've had them chase after ribbons or crumpled bits of paper. Tom, however, wanted in on every level. I rolled out a spool of paper; he batted the cardboard tube. I cut along the length of wrap; he chased the scissors. I folded paper around a pair of socks; he pounced at the folds. When I turned away from a box to get some ribbon, he was sitting atop that box when I turned back. No stray ribbon was left unchased. No tags were left unchewed. It got to the point where, if I knew I had to tie a bow or cut a bit of paper, I'd crumple up a scrap and send him running after it as I executed my task with superhuman speed. But he had a lovely time. About an hour in, he fell asleep atop the wrapping paper box, his paw tucked over his nose. Adorable.
And speaking of HT adorable, last night he heaved himself up from his fluffy cushion at the foot of our bed, came up between Don and I, and wriggled beneath the covers between us. He lay there for a few minutes, then turned himself around so his head came out underneath the covers - just like ours - and snuggled up against my spine. He stayed there, chin on paws, for a good forty-five minutes, purring all the while. I make note of this because however much I stew and worry over whether I did the right thing in bringing Tom inside, there are moments that tell me my choice was right. He's safe. He's warm. He's fed and loved. There is always a lap or a bit of string to chase or a warm fire by which to get all melty.
Better or worse, he's our boy now. And -by Shan's Mercy! - all may yet be very well.