There were an interesting few hours here, recently, at Chez Moeller (pronounced kinda like “Mewlay”).
For portions of two days recently, I was host to one of the largest cats I’ve seen short of a lion.
It happened like this: my cat Sam and I were messing around in the flower beds that inhabit two sides of our palatial (another word for “really old”) mobile home.
I was engaged in digging up as many rocks as I could find lodged between the flowers and shrubs inhabiting the meager space that surrounds our castle moat while Sam, ever the helper, was chasing after each large rock I heaved toward an ever-growing pile of stones.
Most of us “locals” are familiar with the fact that the south boundary of Centralia is also the south end of the last glacier that once covered our area, which accounts for the numerous smoothly rounded rocks of all sizes that do tend to dull the edges of any of our digging equipment.
I was crawling underneath one of the two rhododendron shrubs that grace the front of the palace. As soon as they are through blooming, the smaller of the two will be replaced by a newly purchased fragrant lilac shrub. There, underneath the designated sacrificial “rhody,” I came eye-to-eye with a very large cat, which was wearing a harness but had no leader attached.
It seemed to be a cat similar to one that I had read about online being missing recently, so I went into the house to fetch a saucer of food.
He or she (I’ll refer to the animal in the masculine tense from now on) ate it and showed no sign of leaving, so — eventually — I brought him inside, showed him where Sam’s kitty litter box was and fed him again.
I felt I couldn’t toss him back outside, so he was still in the house when I eventually bedded down for the night. First, though, I left a message with the Lewis County Animal Shelter asking whether they had a similar missing cat in their files and, if so, I told them I had found one.
The surprise of a lifetime came during the middle of the night when I was awakened by a common nocturnal urge suffered by old men and found both cats asleep on top of the covers at the foot of my bed!
It was at breakfast the next morning when territorial issues began to come into play.
The new cat was — at the very least — twice the size of Sam. I had a doctor’s appointment that morning and left with Sam in the house. He’s always able to go outside due to a small, easily activated, swinging door that my son installed in the front door for Sam’s — and my — convenience.
So when I left, our guest was put outside on the porch with a small plate of kitty goodies. I figured he was way too big to make it back into the house through Sam’s door. When I returned, the food was gone and so was the cat.
A call to the animal shelter disclosed that he hadn’t been picked up by them and that they had no notice of a missing cat of his description.
So, why was he running free with a sturdy harness still attached? Did he just walk away from his owners or had he been picked up somewhere else and just dumped here? If I had to vote on it, I’d put an “X” beside the latter hypothesis.
But that’s not the end of the story.
As they used to say on the radio back in the old days, “stay tuned for next week.”
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.