It isn’t really my cat. She just thinks she is. Four weeks ago, about Christmas time, she appeared. She just appeared at our back patio door. She let us know right then that she was there and she really should be on the inside of the door rather than the outside.
Well, I did the unthinkable. I went outside and fed her. We don’t have cats so we shouldn’t have had cat food but I had helped our daughter move into their new home. When they had all the important things loaded and ready to move; I told her I would clean up around their old home. She said, “Keep anything that you see that you might want.” I had told them I would take everything to the refuge center so that it would be ready for the new owners. That is when I found it, a half-full plastic container of cat food. I knew we didn’t have a cat but I can’t throw away anything that is still good or could be useful to someone. So, I had cat food tucked away in our garage.
When I went out on the patio, the cat came right over and jumped up on a table we have along the wall against the garage. She thought she ought to be fed. I looked at her and could agree. She was really thin. She didn’t have a collar on to indicate that she belonged to anyone but I am certain she had belonged to someone by the way she acted around the patio door and the way she just Jumped up on the table expecting something to eat. I thought someone in the neighborhood might have gone on a vacation and forgot to get someone to take care of her but I didn’t know of anyone in the area who had moved recently.
While she was standing there on the table just crying for something to eat, she let me pet her and even pick her up. I just knew she was a family pet from somewhere but since the owners must be lost, I went into the garage and brought out the half full plastic container of (by this time) very old cat food. I poured a portion into a small plastic pan (the black container of a frozen dinner I had previously eaten). One smell of that food and she dove right in. It seemed like she couldn’t eat it fast enough. This again proved that it had been some time since she had eaten.
Where were the owners? The family must be missing her and should be trying to locate her. Now with a little food in her stomach, maybe she would go back to her home waiting for her owners to come back home.
Nice thinking. Want to think again?
The cat never did leave. At night she found a place to sleep somewhere around the patio. She was there again early the next morning by the patio door where she would begin her begging for a bite to eat. (She knew there had to be more from where the ﬁrst meal came.) I knew that God didn’t want anyone to mistreat animals so I was duty bound to go out and feed her. As soon as I appeared at the garage door that opens up to the patio, up she jumped onto the table where she had ﬁrst got fed. I guess this was now going to be her place to eat. I poured another portion of the old cat food into the black plastic dish and she went right to eating. She seemed about as hungry as the day before. Throughout the day, from time to time, she would appear at the patio door and again let out her mournful meow to let us know that she was hungry again. It wasn’t long and I knew I would not have any food left for that hungry cat.
So the next day while shopping, I picked up a large package of similar looking cat food, hoping it would taste as good and the old food seemed to taste. Now I could continue feeding her until the owners found her or she went back home.
Guess what? She never left. In fact, she didn’t seem to have any intention of leaving. I had discouraged her from staying by not letting her into the house. (That was orders from my wife. I really love her (my wife that is). But this had not helped her to leave.
Soon she found that it would jump up onto a small shelf by the back patio door, then jump over to a nearby window ﬂower box she could then jump onto the window air conditioner. From their she could look into the kitchen and see what was going on. From this position she would let out her familiar meow asking to come in. No one had ever let her in yet.
Remember she isn’t ours; she is just waiting around until her owners come back for her. I knew that the meows were petitions to be let into the house because from time to time I will go outside to check on her food bowl. There was still food in it so I knew she was not meowing for food. I would humor her a little, though, and put a little more food in her dish. Sometimes she would eat just a bite to humor me. She knew I knew she wanted inside the house. She showed this by even trying to sneak into the garage when I would go outside to see what she was meowing about.
Anyway, this is where we are with the (my cat). I can tell by the way she acts that she belonged to a loving family. She liked to be petted and held. She would jump on my lap when I went out to the shop and sit in a chair to work. I thought, “She belongs to someone. She should go home if the owners are back”. But —-, there was that sneaking suspicion, though, that maybe the owners were tired of owning the cat. Or they might have really moved and could not ﬁnd their cat when they left.
If the owners moved but hadn’t found the cat before they left, they knew their cat was adaptable. They can scrounge around for food. They will locate a supply and know when they are well off and stay as long as the food supply lasts. If the owners got tired of being the owners, they still knew that cats are adaptable. Owners can “relocate” their cat by driving some distance from their home and “dropping them off” close to their new supply of food. This place will be wherever the cat ﬁnds a handout.
We have been using the word adaptable to describe this cat’s abilities. I now prefer to use another word and that word is “adoptable”. Cats can easily “adopt” a new owner especially someone who will provide a daily ration of food together with some kindness shown towards it.
What am I saying? I am saying, I think I have been adopted by this cat. I think I am her new owner. She now belongs to me. It is my responsible to feed her and pet her from time to time. Even though the adoption has taken place she still has to “train” her new owners. She has to let the new owners know when the meow means “I am hungry” and when the meow means “let me in the house”. So far the new owners only know the meow meaning “I am hungry”. The new adopted owners are old and it may be sometime before this owner learns anything new about what the other cat’s meows may mean.
Written in the spring of 2015 or 2016.
Larry E. Whittington