The days after Polka Dot disappeared were dark and cold for me. But I wasn’t the only one. Moonbeam was by herself in the barn. More than once I would go out just to make sure the heating pad was working in her ‘warming house’. It was more important now that there was no other cat for her to snuggle up with. The temperature had dropped to 10 degrees and would probably be below 0 before this cold snap was through with us. When it was this cold I didn’t see her very often. She stuck close to the barn.
But she was alone. All the time now. I know it has ben said that that cats are by nature solitary, but I don't believe it. Little Moonbeam with only one eye was vulnerable with her gregarious sister no longer helping her.
So after mulling it over in my mind I casually mentioned to John that if it got down to 0 degrees I would have to see if I could bring her in the house. ( I knew it would not be just for a visit) I knew I could probably pick her up and carry her in a carrier. I had been able to pick her up in the barn to doctor her once but if it didn’t work it would be hard get her to come in again. She had actually come into the house a few times on her own, poked her head around and then run right back out.
So I planned this elaborate plan where I would bring her into the house in a carrier and let her out while I kept the other cats in another room She very graciously went into the carrier where I had placed some treats. I closed the door and picked her up. I didn’t hear a sound. I got her to the house and let her out and she sat hunched over for a minute and then started slinking across the kitchen, belly to the floor.
That first time she was comfortable for only a minute and then loud protesting meows came out of her small body. When I opened the sliding door she darted out and headed for the barn. She found her own way. Over the next few days as the temperature dropped more I brought her in several times. Only now she would follow me to the house from the barn. No need for a carrier. After a while she stopped protesting and was able to explore the rest of the house quietly.
The day came when it was time for her to come into the house. I set up a wire kennel in the walk-in closet so she would have a relatively small area to observe her suroundingd. I kept a towel over the cage too, for the same reason.
The first night I kept her in the kennel all night. She quit meowing after a while. In the morning I let the other cats into the room. It was mostly a non-event for Cookie and Lily. They walked by with hardly a notice. But Taffy, the laid back, more social kitty walked up to the kennel and gave it a good sniffing over. No hisses or growls. And then the next thing I saw was Taffy lying down beside the cage. She was Moonbeam’s first friend. I added a nick-name to her, it was Mookie, and since it sounded so much like her old name she responded to it instantly. She had taken the first step well, we would see how the rest would go. And even I was starting to feel better.