Monday, February 08, 2010

The Prodigal Cat

We have been adopted by the neighbor's cat (our own cat is fairly pissed about this, and smacks us when we let it in, but then again she smacks us if we walk too close to her or don't give her the treats quickly enough).
This cat thinks it's a dog.

It eats Thai curry off our plates when we're not looking. Hot Thai curry, I mean. Even the vegetables.

It also follows us on walks.

(I should probably explain the "it" - the neighbors have given it a girly name, and presumably think it's a girl. However, from its spraying habit, laid-back attitude towards other (esp female) cats, and wide-ranging territory, Bad Cohen and I think it's probably a neutered male. So the cat is an it. Per Betan custom.)

Yesterday morning woke up feeling good, energetic, and it wasn't raining, so I decided to go on a walk. Unfortunately, the toddler wanted to go too. This generally means a slower walk, punctuated by short intense periods of panicked running when he decides to sprint towards an intersection.

But he wouldn't be deterred, so we donned shoes and coats and headed out... as did the ambiguously gendered cat.

Half a block into the walk we noticed it was following us. The toddler was delighted - this was a novel experience for him.

I was not. This meant I'd have to keep track of TWO unpredictable creatures, without letting either one get run over or lost. (Have I ever mentioned how glad I am that I've only got one child to keep track of?)

So, the darn thing followed us 1 block north, 3 blocks east, then 3 blocks south, until we neared the elementary school. It had done fine to that point, only making us pause every couple houses while it sniffed things, then padding along fast as it could after us, mewing.

Finally, it stopped. And hid. Under somebody's car.

The toddler kept going.

'Stop!' He stopped. For about 3 seconds. Then kept going.

'No, Stop! Stay there! I have to get the cat!'

He turned around and came back, quickly, and loudly. I think he was screeching something about Bob the Builder. I was crouched by the car, making "here kitty kitty" noises.

That's when the curtain over the house's door twitched. A young woman looked out, perplexed. I waved.

("Can we build it? YES WE CAN!")

Back to the "here, kitty kitty," now anxiously turning from the cat, to the toddler, sitting on the sidewalk behind another parked car, singing VERY loudly and freaking out the cat, to the still twitching curtain (she went back inside, presumably to get the shotgun).

I coaxed the cat out, and we continued around the corner, at which point some very inconsiderate man decided to walk his dog on the other side of the street (the nerve!) and the cat freaked out and ran back the way we had come.

The heck with that, I thought. We're 5 blocks from home, she'll find her own way back. (Somehow when I'm cranky with the cat it becomes female.)

So, we went on to play at the school playground, troop home via many a mud puddle, and get into dry clothes.

Lunchtime comes and goes - no cat.

Midafternoon, toddler temper tantrums - no cat.

We went out in the late afternoon and didn't return until after dark. My heart sank as I realized there was no furry little ball sitting on the railing waiting to come in.

5 blocks, cat! Come on! It's not that far!

By bedtime, our indoor cat was fairly preening with self-satisfaction at being the only feline in residence. I had retraced our route with flashlight in hand, gone down several dark and muddy alleys, and found no trace of it.

It was a cold night, too.

Luckily, this morning, when I opened the door to go get the paper, in it came, heading right for the food bowl and purring. My other cat smacked me repeatedly until we left for work.

4 Comments:

Blogger Samantha Wilde said...

Next time, may I suggest you bring a leash. And use it. That's the best thing to do with those dog-cats!!

2/11/2010 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

That post left me exhausted. Maybe a real dog to herd the cats?

2/11/2010 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Minnesota Mamaleh said...

you are hilarious! thank you for a lovely, well written post! it's nice to hear that everyone elses days are sometimes like roller coasters, too! mama karma says tomorrow will be better!

2/11/2010 10:40 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Maybe there is a nice Vietnamese restaurant nearby. ;)

2/12/2010 8:05 PM  

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