Personal entry follows.
I am facing a cat-related dilemma right about now.
There's a cat here at [the eco-institute] that's been coming into my tent for over a month now. There are small, folded openings on either side of the front door of the tent, and she has found a way to slide herself through them. Prima facie, this is not a problem. Actually, I enjoy having a cat come and visit me up here. She snuggles with me at night, ostensibly absorbing my warmth as she sleeps between my legs. When we wake up in the morning, I'll pet her and she'll lick my fingers, and meow at me in a kind of conversation. It's a nice way to start the day, for sure.
I conclude she's been coming up here to sleep at night because she does not get along with the other cats, for whatever reason. She particularly despises the males. So she can't huddle up with the other cats at night until she learns to socialize, and that may be a long time coming, if ever.
Some of her behaviour is odd or unconventional. However I can deal effectively with most of it. For example, she'll lick my feet at nearly every opportunity. I can push her away or somehow avoid her most of the time. If it becomes insufferable, then I wear socks and she's no longer interested. I understand this is some kind of either dominance or - more likely - affectionate behaviour, so in a way she's unable to change that and it's just what a cat does.
Practically speaking, I value her visits. For one thing, I've wanted a cat to hang with me for years now, since I'd not kept pets in many years. This cat is an excellent hunter, and I can rest assured that she will address any rodent issues with admirable quickness and enthusiasm. However it's also with this point that I am having some issues.
She brings her kills into the tent.
I'm not squeamish and that's not what this is about. Seeing a dead bird or ground squirrel or whatever is not the issue. I've even donned my gloves to pick up a corpse she's presently eating and then dropped it outside the tent. In some cases, repeatedly (and in progressively smaller and smaller chunks...). The only thing I dislike about this is the possibility of transmitting disease or parasites or something like that.
This is primarily a sanitation and health issue. I have no health insurance and do not want to contract some uncommon, hard-to-eliminate disease because I've been exposed to dead animals. It's true that she's quick and consistent in eating her kills, and I often find out about it only after the fact: like discovering a scattered pile of bird feathers inside.
So, a cat wants to live with me, and does. I suppose my wish has been granted. Does this mean that I ought to just take this in stride and simply be diligent about any needed clean-up? I don't want to put her out for this, especially because she's an outcast among the other cats. However it's inevitable that with the approach of the winter, I'll be moving into a cabin anyway and she's definitely not permitted in any buildings. But months later, when I return to my tent, can I expect it to be filled with dried gore and animal bones?
lestrel.diary [at] tutanota.com