posted 11-18-2003 02:38 AM PT (US)
See this cat?
I've known that cat for well over a year. Every once in a while, I'll walk out my front door and down my steps and I'll be greeted by this cat. It has no collar, but it seems to be well fed; in fact, the first couple of times I encountered her I thought that she was probably pregnant due to her "round, firm and fully packed" physical state. Instead, the "round" seems to come from getting plenty to eat, while the "firm and fully packed" quality comes from an abundance of exercise that it gets as an outdoor cat. Her fur is always dirty and she has no collar. On a few encounters, I've fed her a can of salmon by opening the can, walking far away from my own home (so it doesn't attach the idea of food quite so solidly to my house), then emptying the contents of the can on the ground where it meets its end in the teeth of a very enthusiastic feline. (Why did I have anything as gross as canned salmon in the first place, you might wonder? Believe it or not, someone gave it to me as a Christmas present.)
I wonder: Does someone own this cat? I think someone owns her, but maybe not; maybe she owns herself and I am one of her many customers. She wanders by, sells her services to me as a cat ready to be petted as she purrs, and I pay her occasionally with food, as would her other customers. I don't know.
But it bugs me. It really bugs me.
I haven't actually seen the cat for weeks, before tonight. I just happened to walk past my window and I saw a cat in the distance cross the street (not a busy street at night, but plenty busy during the day, enough so to warrant the yellow dashed line down the center). I walked outside in hopes that it'd be this familiar cat, something I'd find out quickly because this cat is always in such a hurry to run up and say "Hello" (which it always pronounces with a cat accent that makes it sound suspiciously like, "Meow"). As it ran up, I felt myself feeling very relieved, which made me realize that I'd been worrying about it for weeks.
So, tonight, as every other night, I finally have to walk away - I'm always the one to walk away - leaving it alone, outside, as I close the door behind me wondering if the next time I see her she'll be in a less than attractive position in the middle of the road. But, first, I brought it inside and snapped that photo with my webcam. And looking at it now makes me realize what a wimp I am for worrying about a damned cat, an adult cat, which has apparently had no problem taking care of itself for years.
I can just imagine how I'd handle sending kids off to kindergarten.