The Stray Cat and My Cold Heart

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Recently, a friend of mine has been posting videos of a stray cat that has been coming regularly into her yard. A little history about me: I love animals. I grown to tolerate cats.

Something about them has always made my hair stand on end. Maybe it’s the way they quietly creep around a house and pop up behind me on the sofa back with a furry tail tickling my neck. I’ve almost spilled my drink on a friend’s couch on more than one occasion. I don’t understand why they can’t just announce themselves.

Maybe it’s the way their eyes glow in the corner of some darkened room. In college, I worked at this car dealership. Fancy cars, fancy people. I was young and not fancy. I had been there only a few months and was still proving myself. So one night, as a handful of customers and salesmen dotted the sales floor, I was asked to run some cash into the upstairs safe. I had been told months earlier when I started that there were a couple of cats that lived in the offices upstairs, but I had never been interested enough to see them and soon forgot about them.

So this night, I go upstairs, fumbling around in the dark for a light switch, and as I scan, I perceive a set of eyes staring at me from across the room. These eyes are attached to the silhouetted and unmoving body of a cat on a windowsill. This cat is huge. Well fed. My hair stands on end, I scream to high heaven, and I hurl myself down the stairs in pure panic. I had totally forgotten that I wasn’t alone in the building. By the time I make it halfway down the stairs, a group of men are making their way up to rescue me from whatever crisis I’ve found myself in.

Imagine how embarrassing it was to say, while breathlessly heaving, that a cat had frightened me. As the only woman there that night standing in front of a bunch of men, I felt absolutely that I had let down the feminist movement. No amount of apologizing to the concerned men there, or the women throughout history who fought for women to be taken seriously could have, in my view, repaired the damage. I also want to mention that I got laughed at pretty hard.

Fast forward to the present. My friend has this cat that keeps coming by. It’s starting to make itself at home. She feeds her little leftovers. “Wait,” I say, as she is telling me the story. “You’ve been feeding it?”

You see, there’s this cat that’s been hanging out around my house every night. Always in the same little corner. He’s black and white, not very big. I’ve been catching him there for weeks. Sometimes when I come out at night and he’s not hidden, he’ll run off.

So when my friend starts telling me how she’s been feeding her visitor, my heart shakes a little. I realize that I’ve never once set out any food for mine, or tried to rescue it. Only when she mentioned feeding her stray did I think, “Maybe I should put some food out.” What does this say about me?

It says that I was raised in a culture where strays are feared, and rabies is a monster that trudges through the darkness of night to find you. No one wanted to pay for a doctor, so we stayed away from strays. We certainly didn’t encourage them. Except that one time as a kid, we heard this crying outside. We opened the door to see the tiniest little kitten, wet with rain, crying in our driveway. We had to take it in. He didn’t stay more than a week, though. My parents are the most anti-cat people I’ve ever met. When it comes to cats, they’ve got that shriveled up little Grinch heart. And I fear that I may have inherited it.

And yet. And yet, I’ve attempted the rescue of at least 6 dogs in the past year. I’ve chased them down the street, brought them home and fed them, gotten to work late, twice I sneaked one into work because I had to be there and had nowhere to leave the dog. I got caught the second time and reprimanded, but I didn’t regret it. Once, me and a friend spent half an hour trying to coax a hefty pit bull into my car to get him to the local animal shelter. That dog HATED cars. By the time I got to the place, it was closed. I wasn’t mad at him. I kept him an extra day and tried again. So maybe it’s just cats. It’s well recorded that I’ve never been a fan of them.

My son, by some accident of birth, absolutely adores them. And since we lost our dog, he has been regularly asking for a pet cat.

A couple of days ago, I was at my friend’s house and the cat that I’d been seeing on her videos showed up. It’s orange and beautifully stripped like a tiger. I like tigers. It’s got stunning green pools of eyes. I love stunning eyes and green is my favorite color. She’s too skinny to really impress, but that didn’t stop her from trying. She approached me and lay her body down, rolling in the sun and purring with perfect poetic timing; she checked me out. Honestly, she’s beautiful and interesting to study. Damn it.

My interest didn’t escape my friend, who offered to house train her and fatten her up to present as a gift to my children. Damn it. I threw out every objection that I could think of. I needed to be sold. Give myself justification for always having to check my clothes for cat hair. And isn’t, like, everybody allergic to cats? Isn’t it going to pee on my furniture? Isn’t the litter box going to make my house smell like cat? Won’t I have to feed it and be responsible? Won’t it need shots and shit? I needed to be sold, I say.

Then a funny thing happened. I started to sell it to myself. Isn’t there this thing about writers and cats? Haven’t most great writers owned a cat? Think I read that somewhere. I’ve been quite the hermit lately. Maybe a little quiet companion will be just what I need to stay in touch with life outside myself. It would be great to not have to walk her or let her out to use the bathroom when it’s raining. Maybe she’ll liven up my mind and inspire my writing. I could use a sweet furry thing to be rubbing on as I write this. Kids need pets. It’s my firm belief. They need a life to care for. It’ll grow their hearts. My son has been keeping a millipede as a pet for over a month. The kid is obviously desperate.

If this cat could hear me now, she’d be pissed off at the amount of pressure I’m already putting on her. She’s only about a year old, after all.

My friend is now in the process of making this thing presentable for my evaluation, and I’m thinking of how to lure the cat that’s been lurking around my own house. I think it needs some affection and a good home. Damn it.

Please don’t tell me that this is the cat lady stage beginning. I’m already writing in my underwear.

26 comments on “The Stray Cat and My Cold Heart”

  1. What a fantastic piece of writing (: I have two cats that I had to leave at home when I moved out cause we couldn’t afford to bring them along. Luckily, my sweetheart of a father volunteered to care for them while we’re gone. I love those two gray babies to death- they’re the sweetest boys and I miss them so much already. I’m very excited for you to have yours soon and I can’t wait to see pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m technically undecided, though I think I’m really just lying to myself and it’s mine now. Thank you for my first welcome into the cat world. I’m scared as hell. This cat is going to sneak up on me and scare the shit out of me at night. I just know it!

      It’s so good to have lovely parents who step up for us. I do hope that you get your babies back soon. I’m sure they are missing you as well. Cats aren’t as cold-hearted as everyone says they are, right? She says the one she got for me is moderately affectionate.

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      1. You’ll get used to them sneaking up on you (: so much so that you’ll learn to sneak up on them! They’re really sweet animals, but I think they know when certain people don’t like them. Mine are big fat cuddlebugs and they love to talk (the more you talk to them- the more they meow back) it’s super cute

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  2. Hun, you need to get both cats. The one from your friend and rescue the stray. The kids will be delighted and pets bring so much joy to a home and family. Of course you need to be ready and consider a few things. First, if you can afford them. They need vaccines, internal and external parasite meds, food, special food if they have any fur, fur balls or digestive issues, you need to castrate them, unless you want to have 16 cats by next year, they need a litter box and you need to always buy sand and clean it, they ruin a few things too. I’m just telling you this because I’m your friend and people just usually say, “Get them, they are so cute” and don’t talk about the difficult part. I wish someone would had told me some things when I adopted Rosa. Not that I wouldn’t do it I would just have liked to be more prepared. Now, off with the negativity. They are loyal and cuddly and your kids you love them and they’re company for when you are alone. Also, this might me bull but my mom says they give you positive energy and that when they rub your legs they are getting your bad energy away and giving you good vibes. I’m sure you’ll make the best decision, love. xx

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    1. Goodness, I really appreciate your input and sharing your knowledge. We had a dog up until recently and I did have to spend quite a bit of money on all of his medical stuff. I love pets, but I deeply hate responsibility! I have a lot to think about. When I got our dog, he was a stray puppy and I had shell shock with all the expense and responsibility. That’s why I’ve been putting off having to do it again.

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      1. I had no idea puppies are so hard to train. I didn’t even now that girl dogs have their periods for a whole month. How could I have not known this?? A whole month of bleeding on my floors, rugs, you name it

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        1. Women’s anatomies are often regulated to a secondary discussion. I didn’t know either until recently. I guess it makes perfect sense. And since they have more babies, it probably takes them longer for their bodies to rid itself of the lining. I’m assuming.

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  3. Hahaha hello there cat lady, it might not be such a bad idea after all if you are doing the hard-sell for the self. I foresee moments of purring and cuddling up together. Look at the wonderful side, at least you know it can clean itself without being dragged around for baths as a dog would xx

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    1. Oh yes, I’ve done plenty of dragging a dog around for a bath and then him running through the yard shaking off water and rolling in the grass and dirt while we try to capture him. I’m getting too old for all of that, haha. Austin is totally ready to relax with purring instead.

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            1. I sure am ready for a more independent creature! But I’m still really nervous about making this decision. You all will be hear for it. You know I’m going to write about how all of this goes 🙄

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  4. So good and rings true for me. I adore doggies and am heartbroken from losing my precious husky last year, and shed a tear every time I realise my little one didnt get the chance to befriend him.
    I am, however, violently allergic to cats- this has never stopped them from taking a liking to me though, oddly enough . Growing up in Cyprus I can totally relate to the culture mentality you’re talking about; you never feed the strays (said EVERY Cypriot grandma ever) you don’t know what they’ve got and they’ll never leave!
    You’re not questionable here- I get it. But we all change in surprising ways so, you may yet end up with a feline friend. Just try and keep it to one (thus avoiding the “cat lady” epithet! )

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    1. I don’t think I’ve met anyone from Cyprus before, so it’s extra nice to meet you. I really hope that my home won’t become the allergy wing of our friendship house. My friend is still fattening her up and I haven’t told the kids yet. Going to leave it as a surprise. I’m even surprising myself for taking her in!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh thank you, it’s great to meet you, too. Hope it all goes well with the cat- you definitely have to write an update post! Will be reading through more of your posts when I scrounge some more time out of my toddler filled days! X

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay… ultimate cat lady here lol this was so interesting, loving and even funny to read. I even rubbed my cat after reading it all, she’s laying right next to me💛
    I can’t help but to feed stray cats that linger around, especially if they look too thin or hurt. I’ve never heard that about writers so that’s interesting too because I’ve always loved writing and cats. I think she is already yours and will be warming and stealing your heart away soon☺️😻

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    1. I’m glad you liked this. I was trying to convey a lot of different ideas in it, so it was a challenge to stay focused and make it all flow smoothly. So I really appreciate you telling me what you think and what you liked about it.

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  6. I fear for you in this cycle. I do believe it is the cat lady stage. I have the same aversion to cats and my mom is now thinking of having knee surgery and recovering at my house. My mom comes with a cat. Hmmm. It is a bit of a dilemma. Funny funny post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, I fear for myself too! I went for a visit the other day and when she stroked the cat so much fur went flying in the air 😒 It’s giving me panic. I don’t want that all over my house! You are definitely about to have a cat creeping about your house. He’s coming. Maybe you can downward spiral with me!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah that’s a big one. I’m aiming for indoor and outdoor training. Let her go inside only when it’s raining… if that’s even possible 😒 my friend says it is. Me and you are probably just screwed, let’s face it.

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