Slinky Malinki: Life in the Blue Zone

slinky looking leery

Slinky looking a bit world-weary

Our little Slinky has a sordid past. We don’t know the details, but she arrived on our front steps a few years ago with fear in her eyes, looking for a meal. I reached down to pet her and she lashed out, biting and clawing my hand. Boy did that hurt.

My family quickly learned to keep our hands to ourselves. Slinky visited our deck every few days and we offered her food and water on her visits. She started rubbing up against our legs with a nervous purr, but any attempt to pet her sent her scrambling, biting or both. This went on for months. Then one day, my son simply bent down and picked her up and carried her into the house. She froze in his hands, clearly terrified, but I rejoiced knowing we could get our hands on her. In November of 2010 I lifted her into a cat carrier and took her to our vet.

contemplation

Contemplation

I warned our vet about Slinky’s propensity to bite and claw, but they countered that she was a sweetie. Clearly they’ve seen it all. Her health checked out, I paid for boosters and an exam and came home.

We kept Slinky indoors that first night, but with a small house, two boys and at the time, four other cats, she was under great duress. The eventual compromise was to create an outdoor enclosure in our back, side yard. This kept her safe from the dangers of the street, including cars and cat fights, but we still dreamed of having her inside.

Slinky Today

We’ve come a long way since those early years. About two and a half years ago, and on her own terms, Slinky moved indoors. She sleeps on the back of my desk and keeps the other cats in line. She’s the smallest and the oldest and hearing-impaired, but Lindy and Mouse know to give her a wide berth. Slinky likes to dart outside for ‘fresh’ water, then quickly returns to her chosen spot on my desk.

Until this summer.

When we cleaned out the side yard earlier this year, we tossed the decaying bench. I bought small blue cushions for the bench, and used to sit there to keep her company and to give her treats. The blue bench cushions were still in good shape, so I planned to use them on the back steps. As I tossed the cushions on the patio Slinky seemed to recognize them. She headed straight for them with purpose and intent. I wonder if she has fond memories of sitting on those cushions in her side-yard domain? Whatever it is, she’s spent most of her summer in this area of the patio known as the blue zone.

Life in the Blue Zone

Slinky wants to go out on the porch around 6 am.

slinky takes a drink

A long, cool drink at the bowl

She has a long drink of water from her blue bowl, which is really a ceramic tray used to catch water under a plant. She spends the rest of the day on her blue cushions.

slinky grooming

8:42 Grooming

slinky grooming

9:04 Planning her day

slinky naps

9:12 The first of several naps

On really hot days, she slips off the sides on to the cool stones, but by day’s end she’s back up on her cushions.

slinky slides off the cushions

Another nap, resting her head on the cool stone

slinky on blue cushions

Another nap

At dusk she comes inside and sits on the arm of the couch for a bit of TLC. She purrs and head butts and looks for affection, but we’re still a bit leery. One false move and the claws come out. A quick hiss follows, from a place of fear. Slinky recovers and things return to normal. Eventually we’re all off to bed until Slinky sounds the alarm the following day. She can’t hear so she dials up the volume to an impossible-to-ignore cry: GET UP! IT’S TIME TO RETURN TO THE BLUE ZONE!

Slinky patrols the blue zone

Slinky patrols the Blue Zone

Slinky is loud-mouthed, quick to temper and at times a bit of a bully.

Sometimes you just can’t explain love.

A bit more about Slinky and the origins of her name

2012: Slinky in the Garden

2013: All’s Well with Slinky

Penguin Books: Slinky Malinki by Dame Lynley Dodd

slinky turning grey

My old, graying Slinky. On a recent visit, my vet described her as “an old woman with really good teeth.”

 

28 thoughts on “Slinky Malinki: Life in the Blue Zone

  1. An old woman with really good teeth. Hmm. Not a bad thing to be. You are really kind. It’s hard not to help an animal, but goodness, several years later and much kindness, she’s still freaking out…Good for you and good for Slinky. She’s found herself the best place!

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    • I wish I had her good teeth. Ha!

      Lisa, when I discussed her behavior with the vet he said she had probably survived on the streets that way and it worked for her so she continues. Her progress has been huge, just not where I wish I could be. My boys are afraid of her and rightly so, though they both have learned how to approach and pet her.

      Once I realized she was almost completely deaf it also explained a lot. Once she was living indoors, I kept accidentally surprising her and that was when I realized she couldn’t hear.

      But when she leans in with her soft little face, purring quietly and giving me a head butt I know she’s come a long, long, long way. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay for the old woman with really good teeth!! Slinky’s story has much in common with my late departed Moofy with whom Orlando shared his first year of life. The feral, bad tempered bit πŸ™‚ I wept buckets the day she slipped peacefully away while I held her in my arms, explaining to the vet through my dripping tears that she had been so hard to like most of the time………. Funny how you can sometimes ‘not like’, but still love!

    I love the images of Slinky on ‘her’ blue cushions. And the son who wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and scooped her up in the first place. Does she have a special soft spot for him I wonder….. Beautiful images Alys ❀

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    • LOL! Yes, old women with good teeth so we can continue to eat and chat and ‘chew the fat’ I’ve always laughed at that expression.

      I read your comment twice, Pauline, and I got teary both times. I love the name Moofy. You’ve named it perfectly.

      I think of all Slinky has probably been through, and marvel that she’s grown to trust us this far. It’s painful when I see the fear in her eyes. Sometimes I simply hide my hands and we rub faces.

      Both my boys are quite good with animals.They make me happy and proud.

      Thank you, Pauline.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You saved little Slinky’s life and I know that’s not the first lucky soul to wander into your world hon. How fun to see how your love change his life. It’s funny, he doesn’t look old. That’s what we need, fur. Hides the wrinkles, snort. Petals and Slinky are about the same size I think. Petals loves being carried around like royalty, so it’s good that she’s little. I wonder if I’d sleep like a cat if I didn’t drink coffee? Oh well, I guess we’ll never know…meow purrrrr oxxo ❀

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  4. What a lovely tale – how kind of your family to take her into your hearts and, eventually, into your home. Cats only stay if they’re happy so, despite the odd lash-out, Slinky must be content or she’d leave. I think you’re lucky to have each other:)

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    • You are so sweet. In her own way, she knows life here is good. She would prefer it if we asked all the other cats to move out, but otherwise, food and water are steady, the blue zone is well maintained, and she can have all the love she wants. We’re here for the asking. xox

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  5. Oh, she’s a beauty! A lucky beauty. I have a special love for stray and abandoned cats–they have such difficult lives, through no fault of their own. That feeling for strays has led to a superfluity of cats around here! You and your family are so kind . . .

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    • And you and your family are kind as well. Strays seem to find homes like yours and mine. We had six cats at one point, all strays or simply un-cared for at home. What’s your current count at the cat bowls?

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      • I have never, here at WP, stated the number of cats we have–I hate how judgmental people can be about that. I’m pondering a “coming-out”post on the subject . . . maybe I’ll fess up there.

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  6. O but she is a real beauty. I Like her, I mean, really like her. I’m partial to a cat with attitude. She seems to be enjoying her life now Alys… all thanks to you! Bless you for looking out for her when she needed it.
    Blue is the perfect colour for mellowing her fiery temperament….. methinks she may know this! πŸ™‚

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  7. There is nothing in the world like a good solid head butt from a cat. I’ve gotten them a thousand times from my sheep, but those big bruisers were not showing me any affection, they were telling me to get my tuchus to the grain bin and fill up their breakfast bowl.
    Sheep can be mean.
    Slinky’s story would make a wonderful children’s tale, Alys. Our pets’ temperaments are just as wild and unpredictable as some of our relatives–like the batty old aunt who dyes her hair black, insists on showing you her bra of the day, and takes her teeth out after every meal to make sure she’s not got food stuck in her dentures.
    Slinky will never need dentures apparently.
    xox

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  8. I’m going backwards again. I somehow missed this post but glad I found it finally. I sometimes think animals have a radar for a soft heart. That’s how they find you. You are a good mom to everything. πŸ™‚

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    • You are a sweetheart, Marlene.

      I often think of street cats (and occasionally dogs too) as having a secret underground. They send each other to the homes they know will care for them. We’ve taken in a number of stray dogs over the years too, but in all cases, they had homes and were returned with happy hearts.

      You always make me feel wonderful. It’s a gift…one of many.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for that sweet comment, Alys. I was looking in my bag of gifts and wondered what was in there. You see it better than I did. πŸ™‚ I know I listen and always want to make things better but have learned there is a line that should not be crossed. I am the appreciator of all things wonderful. Those are gifts, right? πŸ™‚

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        • You have many gifts indeed, including the ability to know when not to cross the line. Life’s a challenge. If we remain open, we learn every day. Some never learn and it’s sad to see the struggle.

          Here’s to lives lived and a happy future as wonderfully adjusted and informed souls. πŸ˜‰

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