I’m in the bath… Silent house, dark but for moonlight and suddenly the hairs on my arm prickle up. I hold my breath, thinking I’ve seen a shadow… Boom boom boom… My pulse in my head… “Catty?” I say… I make three little kiss sounds… and his naughty grey & white face appears around the bathroom door.
I breathe a sigh of relief. I haven’t seen the little jerk since December. It’s almost May.
Last January a friend of my sisters found a litter of newborn kittens, no mother in sight she took them in and set about finding homes for the nine of them. A single mother, lonely when my children are at their Dad’s, I thought why not? We could all use a little companionship, a little responsibility & I was potentially saving a four legged life. Right?
I brought him home in the cup holder of my car. The children immediately adored him. I did all the right things, worming, immunisations, spaying, the best food I could afford, a micro-chip, a collar with my mobile number… I named him Owen Wilson because of his eye colour… My kids didn’t get the reference.. They called him Catty.
He’s cute & friendly, he does what he is supposed to… Where he is supposed to & only scratches or bites in self defence. We move house and he comes along, taking well enough to the larger space & freedom of his older months… Then he just stops coming home. At first I am worried, fearing the traffic…the children cry – I walk the streets calling his name.
Weeks go by, then months…
I hear a shriek from outside. It’s my daughter saying, “Catty!! Catty!” Then she’s crying because he has run back off as quickly as he popped in for a visit. He’s okay! I wonder where he’s been? Why doesn’t he eat the food I leave out for him? Fucking cats. I should have listened to all my friends.
The doorbell rings, it’s a lady I’ve never laid eyes on. “Are you Owen’s Mother?” She asks… “Ahhh…well he’s my cat if that’s what you mean? Is he okay? I’ve not seen him for months.”… “Oh I just wanted you to know he sort of sleeps on my bed at night time now because I can’t refuse his sweet little face at the door when I tinkle at 1am… I pull the prickles out from his paws and bottom… He’s eating the good food from the Vet & he is safe, I don’t mind… I’d have all the cats in the neighbourhood… It’s his choice you know? … Not to go home…”
Wtf do I say to that?
“She’s claimed him.” States a friend who has owned cats for years.
“Hmmm she’s keeping him.” Says another…
but what can I do? She’s right… It’s his choice to come home or not… How can I say I own him if he was free & there were no papers signed… A microchip means nothing to the Cat himself… Who am I to decide where this nocturnal little jerko resides? We have a deck, four noisy children & a bed for him in the garage. She offers lush grass filled with bugs to chase, no children, two other cats, her bed to sleep on AND the best cat food money can buy.
I’ve not got a leg to stand on.
Do I have a right to be upset? I don’t think so.
Do my kids? Perhaps.
Can I do jack about it? No.
I’m not going to force an animal who prefers to roam – to sleep in the garage and eat the cat food a broke single mother can provide.
I walk across the bedroom floor leaving a trail of drips behind me and usher him outside with my foot. I wind all the windows back in to less-than-an-inch open & get back in my bath.
My Dad says I dodged a bullet. My Cat-liking friends say lets make a plan to get him back! My allergic ex-boyfriend says the cat was an asshole anyway.
I am a human. He is a cat. What right do I have to do anything other than have a rant about it online then sink down below the bubbles?