In last week’s column, I wrote about a chance meeting with a large and seemingly suspicious cat who my own cat, Sam, and I encountered underneath a rhododendron shrub while doing some garden chores.
He was leery, yes, but not afraid. The offer of a free meal may have helped bring him inside. I’m operating under the assumption that the cat in question is a male, if for no other reason than I can’t remember seeing a female cat his size.
Last week I neglected to describe him, so in case someone is missing him, here goes. His hair is barely long enough to comb and he’s mostly black with white feet and a white belly with a small white stripe on his nose.
There was no serious confrontation between Sam and him, as each seemed to be civil enough about the situation. Sam just didn’t want to relinquish his authority of being the head animal on the premises.
As I mentioned last week, I decided to let our guest stay for the night, but he disappeared the next day. I hoped that — if he was lost — he would eventually find someone to provide him with the safety and comfort he appeared willing to accept.
In spite of his absence, I left some food for him on the porch before I went to bed.
Then came the stunner.
In making another customary nocturnal journey, I looked down the hall and spotted what looked like patches of white in the darkness ahead of me. To use a phrase in a song Garrison Keillor used to sing, “the cat came back!”
I could have sworn that it was impossible for any animal of that size to be able to squeeze itself through Sam’s swinging door cat entrance, but there’s no other possible explanation for his being able to be sitting there in that hallway.
He stayed inside for the rest of the night, of course, but not on the bed this time. Oh yes, he had somehow shed his harness.
The next morning, I put out a separate bowl for his food but he was content chowing down on dry pellets while Sam insisted on a canned breakfast, preferably with a salmon taste. There was no shoving as they ate side by side.
I left to attend my first garage sale of the season but first I lured our guest outside with a small saucer of canned food. After finding nothing at the sale that I couldn’t live without, I returned and was walking down the hall to put away the few one dollar bills I always take with me on such excursions.
That’s when I spotted the cat inside again — and again he was sleeping on my bed! How did he sneak in?
I found out later that day.
He stretches as far as he can and becomes nothing short of a torpedo, slender enough to squeeze through Sam’s kitty door! There was no possibility to keep both cats but that problem soon was solved.
The day after last week’s column was printed, I learned from a neighbor who had also cared for him that he had been taken to a good shelter in Seattle. I’m glad of that, but I feel so sorry for him because he apparently lacks one important quality necessary for every living creature, including a cat: he didn’t seem to know how to play.
I can only hope he finds a home where that exists in abundance. I’m just sorry it can’t be this one.
Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.