So this is not about Fred, for once, but Sadie, the original Mojo cat following the demise of our beloved Ratty.
Sadie quickly grew from darling kittenhood to not particularly endearing cathood. There are several factors against poor Sadie. First, she is not incredibly friendly to US, let alone strangers. It is not uncommon, when entering a room, to have Sadie suddenly scurry for her very life OUT of the room, as if we have a daily habit of abusing her or something. The Favorite Husband is especially hurt by this behavior, since he is a very kind man who loves animals and feels slapped in the face when he is not loved back. Not only does Sadie not love him back, she actively pretends like she FEARS HIM and dashes out of the room like her tail's on fire.
It's all some sort of stupid Sadie Game, and she's back inviting attention thirty seconds later. Except HER way of inviting attention is to ask to be pet, but then behave as if your hand is made out of hot lava, to be avoided at all costs. So she scrunches down to avoid the physical contact of being pet, and then goes around rubbing and meowing and wanting you to try again. It is all VERY ANNOYING.
But at least we SEE her on occasion. Should you ever be invited to Mojo's house--and rest assured, that invitation is NOT COMING ANY TIME SOON--you will not see Sadie. She treats US as if we are about to kill her; she views strangers as Definite Cat-Killers. She does not come out of hiding if someone is visiting, period. I don't know where she goes or what she does for nourishment or relief. All I know is, I do not see her. NOBODY sees her.
When she was younger I DID once see a hiding spot. Down in the basement we have a missing cinderblock in the wall behind the furnace. It used to be a clearout trap for the fireplace ash, but at some point in the house's history the iron door fell off and now it's just a hole. I saw a teenaged Sadie once crawl up into that hole and UP INTO THE GAP IN THE WALL ABOVE IT. I worried for a while that she would get stuck and we would either have a dead cat in the wall or a HUGE GAPING RESCUE HOLE, but she eventually grew too big and we have neither. What we DO have is a live cat who disappears SOMEWHERE ELSE when there's company.
All of this would be tolerable except on very rare occasions we have someone SPEND THE NIGHT. This almost never happens, since Mojo has no friends and no real space in the house for guests unless they enjoy sleeping on the floor. Our sole exception is my Favorite Young Friend, who sometimes spends days with us when his cruel, cruel parents decide to abandon him. Or something like that; I wasn't really paying attention.
Anyway, due to other personal issues we have not had anyone over for MONTHS AND MONTHS, and it took some doing before we could negotiate my Favorite Young Friend spending days with us so's he and Fred could bond. Fred is the anti-Sadie. He loves people, he loves us, and he loves Mojo's Favorite Young Friend. So while Sadie was hiding somewhere upstairs, Fred was enjoying attention like he's never had before:
But back to Sadie and her stupidity. After a couple of days of her cowering, I found her upstairs one afternoon and determined she was going to GO DOWNSTAIRS AND EAT AND USE THE LITTERBOX. Thus began a very futile and somewhat violent attempt to catch her. Granted, I was a little stupid myself and jumped the gun when I should have remained calm and not LUNGED at her as I did. What then followed was a rodeo of epic scrambling as I concentrated on catching a cat who was concentrating on not being caught. Sadie won that round, and I eventually gave up with the belief that, if I thought Sadie was psychotically damaged goods before, this attempt to catch her was gonna SCAR HER FOR LIFE.
So imagine my surprise to be woken up at two in the morning to find Sadie purring away, sleeping on my legs. I was the very PICTURE of nonchalance as I eased out from under the cat, got glasses and bathrobe on, and finally CAUGHT THE LITTLE BASTID. I brought her downstairs, into the bathroom where the cat food and litter box are, and LOCKED HER IN FOR THE NIGHT. The Favorite Husband got up the next morning to let her out and reported she was Incredibly Unhappy.
So okay, I think, if the EPIC CATCHING didn't warp her twisted little walnut brain, certainly what I did to her in the middle of the night would be Unforgiveable. But later that morning Sadie hopped up on the bed and asked to be pet. And the very next night, I awoke AGAIN to find her sleeping on my legs. So I dressed, caught her and brought her back down to the bathroom for the night. The next morning I came down with the Favorite Husband, and while the Favorite Young Friend snored away on the couch Sadie waltzed around the room like she owned the place.
At least she's not bearing a grudge. But boy, is she stupid...