|Chester, napping in his heated cat bed at the shop. He likes his new life!|
Chester joined my household and the crew at BIKES@VIENNA just after Thanksgiving of 2022, and most days we're open, you'll find him here, at least until we get to the season where we keep the doors wide open.
So, how did the little guy come to me? Well, that's an interesting story. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I drove up to Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania, to stay in one of their cabins. It's become something of a regular thing for me, a nice escape during the slow season, with simple, comfortable cabins and very few people around. Plus, the park is convenient to the Great Allegheny Passage trail, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, the town of Ohiopyle, and lots of good hiking as well.
|At the edge of my porch.|
Wednesday came, and it was a cold, wet morning, and no sign of my furry friend. I waited until around noon, and then decided I'd get ready for a hike, as the weather was clearing. Just as I was all packed up and ready to go, there he was, at the edge of my porch, eating the tuna.
|Crossing the threshold.|
|In the top bunk.|
Now, at this point, I have to add an interesting twist to the story - exactly one year earlier, at the same park, in the same group of cabins, another cat appeared. So this wasn't my first experience with luring a cat into a cabin with tuna. That cat had a collar and tag, so I was able to reunite her with her family, who drove all the way up from Lynchburg, VA, the moment they got word their Brigita had been found. She'd gone missing on a camping trip Memorial Day weekend, so the dear little girl had been out there for six months! I was so glad to be able to reunite them.
|Brigita at my cabin in 2021.|
So, when I went to the park office, I explained that I was "the guy that found the cat last year" and we chatted briefly about Brigita. I then told them I had yet another cat in my cabin, and they were understandably surprised and amused. They checked for missing cat reports, and came up with nothing, so I asked if they knew where I could take this cat to get scanned for an ID chip. Well, it turns out the park has a scanner, which they loaned me as I headed to a store to get cat food, a litter box, and litter.
When I got back to the cabin, he was tucked into a far corner, where I couldn't easily get to him, and meowed sadly now and then. He came out for food, but then returned to his corner. Since I couldn't get him to come out of his hidey-hole, I finally went to bed after leaving some food out for him.
After that, he clearly decided I was okay, and hopped into my lap at every opportunity. I was concerned he might try to get out, so I was very careful going in and out of the cabin. As it turns out, whenever I went back in, he was comfortably curled up inside, and made it very clear he had no desire to be out in the cold again.
|Hanging out on the cat tower at home.|
|Minding the front counter at work.|
So now Chester commutes with me, and is very mellow about the whole thing. Unlike my other two cats, he does not fuss about getting into the carrier, and seems to genuinely like being at the shop during the day. He and my other cats play and groom each other at home, and Chester gets lots of attention at the store.
Next time you're in the area, why not come by the shop and say hi? He's a very sweet little boy, and generally very friendly with strangers. It might take a minute or two, but he generally warms up quickly.