I love cats. We’ve had at least one back home.
At least one?
Well, we couldn’t have enough. I remember how my sister and I would pick up strays from school, from the swimming pool and from around the neighborhood and bring them home, clean them up and love them for as long as they live. A tradition carried on by our younger siblings until today. This is apart from the litters of cuteness brought forth into the world by our regal matriarch cat, Snowball, an outdoor cat. God bless her furry old soul.
But with myself and The Husband moving around, pets are not yet in the very near future, especially cats. Though they are a lot easier to take care of versus dogs, cats will not be part of our wee family mainly because The Husband has not crossed over to the cat side of things yet.
Then, one late evening with The Husband fast asleep, to our apartment patio came a cat black as the night, lost and hungry. A tiny bell strung around his equally black collar, tinkled as he moved. His coat felt as smooth as silk as it rubbed its body against my calves.
“Meow.” it said, batting its beautiful green eyes at me and swishing its majestic tail in the air as it circled me. I opened the door into the apartment and I called it in. It sashayed in without any hesitation.
It knew it was more than welcome. Maybe it could sense my longing for cat companionship, I thought.
It sniffed around the apartment, restless: around the living area and the kitchen, rubbing its sides against the dining table legs, the bar stool legs and the kitchen counter. Then, occasionally, stopping to roll on the floor, lick its paws and share a smoldering gaze with me.
The black cat had magnificent large head, so I guessed that it was a he. And he was handsome. And I definitely smitten.
Night after night, he came. He ate on our patio, licked his white styrofoam bowl clean. He came in. He walked and rolled around the apartment. I ran my hands on his back. My fingers tickled that sweet spot below his chin. I held him in my arms. I nuzzled my nose on his neck.
We had a blossoming pet romance going on. There was definitely chemistry there.
Before midnight, night after night, he sat in front of the patio door and brushed his paws on the window blinds, a signal that he wanted to go out. I would then open the door, with much reluctance, and he went on his way.
I decided to name him: Midnight. Appropriately so. And he was my part-time cat.
I reveled in the perks of having a furry friend without the responsibilities of paying pet rent and insurance (as you do in America…or in Texas at least), scooping up the poop, deodorizing the kitty litter, sweeping up inanimate victims of the kitty high jumps, picking up hairy regurgitations and brushing of fur shed off the couch and the bed.
The Husband, on the other hand, was not exactly happy with Midnight. I remembered the first night Midnight came, how groping in pitch black darkness, calling me to come to bed, he felt an unidentified brush of fur against his legs and let out a blood curling scream. He turned jumpy whenever the cat approached him for some innocent good ol’ leg rubbing.
But somehow, night after night, I’ve seen The Husband show signs of change. He even let Midnight enter our bedroom, which he did not allow. Midnight, the gentleman cat that he is, showed how he deserved the welcome by not jumping in bed, keeping at a comfortable distance – far enough to keep The Husband happy and curious, yet near enough to get a nice belly rub from me.
All was going really well in our unusual furry family set-up. We were getting there.
Until one night, Midnight did not come. I thought it was just a fluke. Maybe he came by too late and we were already asleep. But the next night, he did not come by. His white styrofoam bowl of food remained untouched.
I was worried sick. Where did my Midnight go?!? Oh wait, he wasn’t even mine.
Maybe he’d come by in the morning as he did one time, but he didn’t. Was he taken in by another family? He was known to hop from apartment to apartment. But even being the sweet cat the he is, he couldn’t bear to be in competition for attention with other cats, so I knew that neighbors who had cats cannot take him in.
Then came a post on the complex community online billboard: FOUND CAT – ear tipped, bell on collar and very friendly. Midnight!
I knew it. Someone else took him in. At least I knew that someone was taking care of him, feeding him and giving him those rubs that he craved.
Serious thoughts of adoption crossed my mind as I peeped through our patio blinds, hoping that Midnight would visit again. The next day, I contacted the neighbors, who fostered Midnight, in the hope that nobody owned him, that I could be the next owner.
But my heart was broken by their answer.
They took Midnight to the vet and discovered he was microchipped (i.e. a small microchip, which provided details of the pet’s owner, planted on the shoulder of pets). Midnight is now finally reunited with his real owners, who live 4 miles (6.44 KM) away from our apartment complex. It was quite a journey for the cat to have gone that far.
I know I should be happy for the cat, but I still am recovering from part-time pet cat separation anxiety. But I do hope he is happy and settled even if I still not-so secretly wish that he’d come to “meow” at our patio door, circle the patio, swishing his tail, and come inside our home.
Thank you for coming into my life. ‘Twas too short and indeed sweet.