Last week Ashley and I were adopted by a black and white kitten. We were sitting out on Ashley’s front stoop around 10:30 in the evening when I pointed to the right and said, “Ashley, look at the cat!” Up the sidewalk she came, black with white paws and a white belly, bright, wide eyes that looked right at us. The cat walked past us at first, but I reached out my hand and called to her, “Here, kitty.” She stopped, turned around and studied my hand for a moment, then walked right over to me andipm mnmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
I beg your pardon; she just walked across the keyboard.
We took her in that night, figuring it was going to be cold and we weren’t sure where she’d come from. She had no collar, no tags. She resisted coming in at first. She scratched at me and jumped out of my arms and trotted off down the sidewalk. I followed her up to the corner by the ballet school and picked her up again. This time when I carried her into Ashley’s place, she offered no struggle. We fed her a can of tuna and left out a bowl of water for her, and kept her in the bathroom that night after we went to bed, just in case she made a mess.
The next morning, after Ashley went to work, I let the cat outside. She seemed satisfied to sniff around Ashley’s back door. I told myself if she was still there around one in the afternoon, I’d let her back in for good. I went to the door at one to look for her, and she was gone. I spent the rest of the day looking out the back and front doors every few minutes, but she was never there. I wrote Ashley an email at work, told her I felt bad for letting her go, but that hopefully she’d gone back to her home and was warm and safe with someone who loved her. Later, before Ashley got home, I went for a walk around town, but I didn’t see her. Ashley returned from work and the two of us took a walk also, but nothing. Cats at the cat house around the corner, but none of them our cat.
That night a little before 10:30 I happened to peek through the blinds on Ashley’s front door and there she was, making her way along the sidewalk, sniffing the tires of my truck. “Ashley! She’s outside!” I opened the door and knelt down, reaching out my hand. The cat came right to me and I brought her inside. It was a moment of undiluted joy. We gathered around the cat, petting her, telling her how happy we were that she had come back. A stray cat returning to people who had fed her the night before – imagine that. But we were so happy to be together again. It was ridiculous. It was sublime.
I ran out to Food Lion twenty minutes before it closed and bought some litter and cat food. The next day after Ashley came home from work, we drove to Wal-Mart and bought her a proper litter box and a few toys (she likes tennis balls, but her favorite prey is an old fabric strap that Ashley cut off one of her purses). Ashley named her Ottie, after one of her great-grandmothers. We’re taking her to the vet soon to make sure she has her shots and is healthy, and hopefully find out how old she is. From the size of her, going by one of the cat books she’s been bringing home from the library, Ashley guesses about six months.
For her part, Ottie is settling in nicely. She shits and pisses in her litter box, sleeps most of the day and makes surprisingly little trouble by herself in the apartment at night. From the first night she had an eye for the fish. She sits on the floor in front of the fish tank, watching them swim, occasionally reaching up to paw at the glass as they pass by. I bet fat orange Mr. Belvedere must look like the ideal snack to a mighty hunter like our Ottie. She jumps up on top of the tank, a habit I’d like to break her of, but when I turn off the tank light before bed she no longer pays them any attention. The fish, it seems, are safe.
When I started writing this, she was asleep on the couch. Then she joined me here in the office, jumped up on the keyboard and sat in front of the monitor as I typed. Proofreading, perhaps? Now she lays curled up in the crook of my arm, still watching me as I tap the keys, her eyes moving from my fingers to the screen and back again. Sometimes she turns and looks up at me. I’ll have to disturb her a little when I post this, but I’ll wait a few minutes before I do that. I have all day, and she looks so comfortable where she is.