Actually, Athena is settling out is more accurate. Athena, it turns out, is not who we were told she is. Her original name was not Athena, it was Sweetie or Sweetie Pea – it is hard to tell which because her original papers say Sweetie Pea with the Pea crossed out – and she is not – as billed - a sweet, loving, animal. That is not to say that she doesn't have her charms. She does; but cuddly is not one of them.
Athena, or Precious Mae – as I sometimes call her for no known reason – likes to be outside. Really likes to be outside. The wild is strong in this one. A typical day starts at about seven when I let her out. She then comes in once or twice to feed and goes back out. She has a couple of nests – or stakeout positions – in different places. One is under the front deck, another is crouched down by an agave, and a third is about 75 feet from the house under a butterfly bush (Buddleia globosa). I know there are more.
If we go out and call her, about 50% of the time she will come over – usually on the run – and if we are out in the garden, gardening -say – she is delighted and will run over to rub our legs or get a pet. Anytime she comes in the house after eight at night, we close the door, trapping her – so to speak – with us. I used to have a theory on training cats: when you want them to come in, call them several times and if they don't come in, close the door and turn off the lights; they soon learn to come in at last call. Not Athena, it turned out that she was thrilled to stay out all night.
The morning after her all nighter, she came in to eat as soon as I opened the door, ate, and bolted. Perhaps afraid she might miss some important outside event or not be ready when called to a Kitty mission. But she is not stupid, when it was raining on Sunday, she took one look out the open door – didn't even bother to step outside – and then spent the afternoon on the bed.
When the rain stopped, she was back out. When we first got her, she was very skittish ducking and running with any sudden movement. We would tisk tisk and knowingly say that she must have been abused. Now she is much calmer which we atribute to her being outside and our staggeringly good cat skills. After the usual eight PM trapping, she will lay around the house, occasionally come over for a pet or belly rub, sleep on the bed with us – off and on – and spend the rest of the time looking, longingly, out the window.