I was at the doctor’s office last week and there was this little black cat looking at me. We have a big feral cat problem in some neighborhoods, it skyrocketed when the economy took a spill in 2008. People were dumping cats because they either couldn’t find shelter space or because, well…it’s sad when an animal is abandoned, for whatever reason.
Right before we moved into the house we’re in right now, years before the economic downturn, I got a call from our realtor about some loose ends. One of these “loose” ends was about “our new cat.” Yeah, take that in for a hot second. “What?” was my response. I don’t remember signing up for that. While I’m a huge animal lover, I like to love cats from afar. I’m allergic, sometimes so badly that I lose my voice and my eyes swell–sneezing, watering eyes, coughing (I’m sounding like an advert, now). It’s pretty, I promise. In a B-horror movie sort of way. The bottom line was, the former owners were allegedly feeding a “stray” cat and now said cat “thinks” it lives there. MmmHmm. I’d raise my one eyebrow if I could, but I can’t.
We didn’t move into the house immediately. We slowly moved things in until the house we were living in at the time sold–houses in that neighbor didn’t sell empty. I say lack of imagination, but that’s me being speculative and, perhaps, rude. But I digress. Some evenings, we’d drive over and fix up some things in our new house. One night we were in the kitchen doing something with our backs to the doors. I could feel something. When I looked at the French doors and saw this little black cat looking at me. I nudge Chief and pointed. “See? We have to feed her.” He looked at me skeptically. We’d been having this conversation off and on since I spoke with the realtor. I looked back at him and said, “Add cat food and bowls to the list. We’re going tonight.” I won that disagreement because he’s too kind-hearted to really disagree. He might try to discourage me, but who can ignore a cute little animal staring at you through the glass doors? Pfftt. Doesn’t matter, I can’t.
That cat hung around our house for years and then one day she didn’t come back. I’ve always wondered about her. She clearly was domesticated, but did she belong to the former owners or someone else? Either way, I’m pretty sure she was making the rounds–she wasn’t scrawny by any means. She even stayed despite our dog, who wasn’t a cat fan. They eventually came to an agreement where they, for the most part, ignored each other. Although, one winter they were sleeping on either side of one of those kitchen doors she initially peered through at us–Mrs. B on the outside and Duchess on the inside, both leaning against the door as if they were snuggling. That wasn’t an isolated event, either. When Duchess died, Mrs. B even came into the house for a brief stroll or look-see in the kitchen once or twice. That’s when chief knew we needed to get another dog–I was allowing our cat/not-our-cat a lot of liberties that my allergies would soon tell me about, then rail against me for.
Despite my initial dismay at someone dumping a cat on us, I really loved that little black cat. I’d like to think she loved me, too. She brought me a mouse and talked to me. She even let me hold her and pet her–although to avoid said B-movie star status I had to run in immediately after and wash my hands–and definitely no touching of the face (I actually think of that when people talk about washing hands and not touching your face coupled with Covid). When I saw this stray outside the doctors office, I took a pic. Just because.