Since the temperatures dropped into the 40s the last couple of nights, Pretty and I discussed the plight of our poor stray cat we’d been taking care of for the past month. What on earth could we do to protect her from the cold? We definitely couldn’t bring her into the house for fear that our dogs might eat her and/or I might suffer a life threatening allergic reaction. Hm. Last night Pretty said she would put her mind to solving the problem so I agreed to leave it with her.
When we took off to pick up our granddaughter Ella from preschool yesterday afternoon around 2, we saw Lilibet (Pretty’s name for the cat) in the street in front of our house. Look at that, Pretty exclaimed – it’s our cat in the street. It was the first time either of us had seen the cat away from our carport or driveway in weeks. We didn’t devote more talking about the novel sighting until we came home several hours later to find the cat still in the street in front of our house. That’s very odd, I told Pretty. It’s almost time for her Fancy Feast evening meal. That cat never misses a meal. She positions herself on the top step under the back kitchen door until she’s served.
All of a sudden a large grey male cat who stalks our new cat came running from beneath our truck in the driveway and jumped our cat that had begun to amble home from the street. Pretty sprang into action, started yelling, threw her Rush’s unsweetened ice tea on the big male cat, and I turned around to join the fray by hollering epithets mixed with menacing actions toward the male cat until he ran off. I scared myself.
Our cat was somewhat traumatized by the hullabaloo so she had a delicious meal to calm her nerves.
This morning was another cold one so I left a little later than usual for my morning walk. The cat often greets me in the morning when I leave, but this morning she didn’t come out from her secret hiding place in Pretty’s antique carport jungle nor did she appear from under one of our two vehicles which could also be termed antiques. But I wasn’t worried. I knew I would see her at breakfast.
Forty-five minutes later I was finishing my walk, getting close to our house. To my surprise I saw our cat running on the opposite side of the street toward another house. I looked to see if the large grey male cat was after it again, but no. Nothing chasing it. I called to our cat which by now had settled comfortably into a flower bed at a house which was two doors down from us. Here Kitty, Kitty, I called. I’m on the way home. Breakfast is served.
Lilibets stared at me – but then looked past me. Two doors down they’re laughing and drinking and having a party maybe, or did our new cat have dementia, I wondered to myself. But I assumed she would meet me for breakfast. I was wrong. No cat appearance for Fancy Feast.
Pretty, I said when she pulled the bed off her back around 9 o’clock, our cat didn’t come for breakfast. Actually the cat is looking at our house from a flower bed at the house where you claim you know two other lesbians who live there.
What? Pretty said. I don’t believe it. Then she peered up the street from our bedroom window and said, I see her. I see her.
Pretty and I discussed the cat’s aberrant behavior and decided to take a wait and see approach. Pretty left a couple of hours later to work in her antique empire which meant I was at home alone stewing over our cat. I decided to not wait and see when Pretty was gone.
I started walking up the street toward our cat who jumped out of the flower bed where she had been resting for hours, raced directly across the street and up the driveway of yet another neighbor’s house. I’m doing my Here Kitty routine to a disappearing cat. It was too much for me. What in the world was going on with this feline creature?
I decided to see for myself. I followed the trail up the driveway of this second neighbor’s house and found a startling sight.
Lilibets was sharing a food bowl with another cat about her same size – calmly eating – wait for it – dry food pellets. Alternate reality. I called again with my Here Kitty routine. The look of disdain was cold, unfeeling. She acted like she had never seen me before in her life.
I decided to be proactive and see whether our cat really belonged to this neighbor. I knocked on the door; a smiling man who appeared to be in his late 50s opened the door.
Could this be Lilibet’s forever home?