Your 12 Days of Holiday Clickbait, Day Three: Scaredy cats

Samantha, left; Harriet, right. In August.

Samantha, left; Harriet, right. In August, peering out from the basement.

NORWALK, Conn. — On this, Day Three of vamping to fill space while we enjoy the holiday season, we bring you Samantha and Harriet, a seasonal tail sure to warm your heart with good tidings.

(Yes, we know we said tail.)

It turned out in August, when I took the above photo, that I had a lot in common with these cats, then nine months old. We were all plopped down in the home of John Levin and Diane Keefe, unable to believe that the good news was all true…. “Can this be real????”

John and Diane have a great house. I was staying there a few days a week to keep NoN going while I figured out what to do, having suddenly been made a widow, and wondering where I’d make a home.

Back to the cats, who are sisters. They were feral in Bridgeport, rescued by TAILS and eventually adopted by Diane and John, away from the crazy cat lady who was teaching them to like humans and into the spacious confines of Hotel Levin/Keefe.

Unfortunately, they escaped from their acclimation facility (a small room in the house) and disappeared. “This is so funny,” John said, explaining that he and Diane had invisible pets.

They spent all day hiding in the basement and sneak out when the coast was clear, after dark. So, at night, when you came in to the empty house they’d say, “OMG, humans!” and run for the safety of the basement, which unfortunately is right near the door the humans were entering. They were running right toward you. They’d dash across the hard wood kitchen floor, skidding uncontrollably at just the wrong moment, desperately trying to get their footing and away from danger.

Everything was hunky dory and then I came along. Imagine how surprised they were to have a human roaming the halls at 2 a.m., like a zombie.

So, I sat on the floor, talking to them. That is how we got the picture above.

Turns out it’s not too hard to bribe a cat. All I did was throw them cat treats and their minds opened. Well, not very much. It took weeks.

Harriet in September, surprised to find a houseguest but willing to give it a go.

Harriet in September, surprised to find a houseguest but willing to give it a go.

Harriet, the black one, was so brave. Samantha watched from the safety of the basement stairs, incredulous, as Harriet inched closer and then dashed away at the slightest wrong move. But Harriet got the treats and Samantha was unlucky. Then a few weeks later, somehow it became all Samantha!

I came back and it was Samantha who was in my face looking for treats. It’s been that way ever since. Harriet who? She hangs back and Samantha is in charge. Go figure.

Anyway, that’s Samantha and Harriet. From rags to riches, a great story for this time of year, if only I had a photo of them sitting in wrapping paper or something.

I don’t see them so much, now that I have my own home.

John said I could borrow them whenever I want and I think he might mean it! But I don’t think the landlord would like that much. Or my Daisy. Allegra would go nuts.

The pair on Thursday. Samantha's the boss.

The pair on Thursday. Samantha’s the boss.


John Levin December 24, 2016 at 1:41 pm

More backstory: we had a really bad mouse problem. Really bad. Harriet and Samantha did a great job, and the mice are gone.

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