Last night, I almost stole somebody’s pet cat. I guess it was actually more of a kitten, or a teenage cat, and it’s not completely my fault (ok, it’s totally my fault).
It was dark, and I was out walking to get our mail. After collecting my mix of magazines, ads, and two letters addressed to former inhabitants reminding them of their upcoming 45th high school reunion, I heard a rustle in the leaves, something darted in front of me, and then it found refuge half hidden on top of a neighbor’s fence. Usually, I ignore these happenings, as they tend to be the braver sort of raccoon. However, this time, for some reason, I paused to look.
Sitting meekly, with its big eyes staring at me, was a cat: a teenage cat, quite thin, with an almost squeaky meow. I approached the non-raccoon on the neighbor’s fence. He seemed weary of my advances, but also curious, as cats wont to be. We hung out for a bit. Me, standing awkwardly in the shrubbery by my neighbors fence, the cat, sitting awkwardly, trying not to fall off.
I was recently at a party where someone told me that when you pick a cat up by the scruff of its neck, there’s some sort of chemical released that calms them. Because, you know, at parties, it’s cool to talk about random cat facts. Apparently, this comes from when cats are kittens, and out in the wild, their mothers pick them up when predators are coming and they need their baby cats to be quiet. The friend telling me this fact said that he tried it with his cat, and it had an immediate calming and quieting effect. After petting my new teenage cat acquaintance, I tried to pick it up by its scruff. Immediately he started purring, and we became friends.
In the next few moments, I thought to myself “he looks like he needs a home, maybe I should take him to mine”. Not wanting to be completely overt, lest he be somebody’s pet, I tried to get him to follow me. If anyone has ever tried to get a cat to do something, they will know that I found little success in this venture. Still, imagine happening upon a 30 year old, in sweats, holding mail, attempting to convince a cat to follow her home, in the dark. I hope none of my neighbors saw.
When I got back into my house (sans cat), I immediately told Peter and convinced him to go back out with me. After all, I had to write “not at this address” on the class reunion letters and put them back in the box so that the class of ’68 could get a hold of the people who used to live in our place. “I’d hate for them to miss out on what promises to be an exciting reunion” I told Peter, hoping that he would join in my possible cat robbing venture.
At this point, I had convinced myself that the cat was homeless, or maybe a run away, and it was up to us to save it from the coyotes, owls*, and other crazy night animals, until its owners could be found (or we became said owners). We walked back to the mail box, I put the letters in the mail slot, and led Peter to the site where I saw the cat. He peered over the fence, and brought something to my attention.
“A homeless cat?” He asked.
“Yes, I am pretty sure it was”.
“So, he was sitting on this fence, in the yard where there’s an open patio door, through which you can see a carpeted cat climbing platform, a bowl of cat food, and a litter box?”
“hm. I seemed to have missed that before”
There you go. I almost stole my neighbor’s cat. It’s probably better that I didn’t.
*we think our other neighbor’s cat got eaten by an owl. His name was Lance. His real name was actually Gemma, and he was a girl, but he used to hang out on our patio during the day, and we named him Lance. We didn’t find out that he was a) our neighbor’s cat or b) a girl until we saw the “missing” fliers. He was a great cat, and I hope that we are wrong and the appearance of a big owl hanging out in the trees behind our house is purely a coincidence. Maybe Lance found a new family, and is living happily ever after, up in the mountains somewhere.