Feline Friends

IMG_0232“Cats know how to obtain food without labor, shelter without confinement, and love without penalties.”—Walter Lionel George

I grew up having dogs and cats and when my children were little, the house was always full of dogs and cats. I enjoyed having them around and, as most parents realize, it was lovely to have creatures in the house who did not argue with everything I said. But, as time went by, the dogs and cats passed away and were not replaced with new pets.

In this phase of my life, I do not own any pets. I come and go as I please and my schedule does not lend itself to having a pet. There are too many days I leave my home early in the morning and I don’t get home until late in the evening. It just doesn’t seem kind to bring a dependent into my life when I’m in no position to care for them the way they deserve.

Lucky for me, I live in an area of town that is known for the number of stray cats in the neighborhood. There are two that hang out in my apartment parking lot who occasionally wander into my place and make themselves at home. These cats may be the absolute perfect pets for me.

I don’t have to worry about feeding them or keeping them healthy. They both appear to be well fed and cared for. I am sure they have “owners” who take care of them, but they are social animals, and like to come visit occasionally. When they are in the mood, they like to come hang out.

The first to come visiting was a little female calico I have nicknamed Biddy. When she visits she walks in the door meowing and does not shut up the whole time she stays. I tried feeding her and while she’d take a taste or two, that definitely was not what she was asking for. I finally tried picking her up and cuddling her despite her wiggling. That did the trick. As long as she is getting my undivided attention, she is fine. She also doesn’t mind being talked to while I do things around the apartment. I am still waiting for her to respond back, but in the meantime, her visits have started to be more companionable.

My other visitor is a male tabby I nicknamed PLK, short for Parking Lot Kitty. He is much more relaxed and likes to come chill. Last fall he spent the night with me and it was really nice to have a warm body in bed with me. Of course, the next morning he got up, rushed out the door and I didn’t see him again for two weeks. Evidently, even males of the feline persuasion have issues with commitment.

The two cats share space in the parking lot, but there is no doubt who is the alpha feline. I have frequently seen the male cat try to back away from the little female only for her to follow him, meowing and batting at him. Once, they both came running into my apartment at the same time and the pattern persisted in my apartment. No matter where PLK tried to hide, Biddy was right in his face. In the confusion I accidentally stepped between them and had both cats hissing at me. At that point, I picked them both up and un-ceremoniously dumped them out the door. I didn’t see either cat for a while after that.

Neither cat is consistent in visiting and I assume they have a number of vacation spots in the neighborhood. I have wondered how they pick whose apartment they are going to invade on any given day. There have been many mornings when I have opened the back door to check the temperature outside only to have a kitty practically fall into the kitchen. It amuses me to picture them with their little noses pressed up against the door, much like a nosy neighbor who’s trying to find out what’s going on inside.

Having these cats come and go has made me think seriously about actually adopting a kitten. It would be nice to have someone consistently waiting for me, maybe even happy to see me. My mind is filled with visions of companionable evenings reading or watching tv with a cat curled up beside me, both of us filled with contentment.

Then, thankfully, I start to think about finding someone to feed it when I go out of town; or having to take it to the vet for shots; or the cost of cat food; or any number of inconveniences that are part of cat ownership. I remember how bad a litter box can smell and how insects are attracted to pet food. It comes back to me that cats don’t always want to come and go at times that are convenient for me and that the middle of the night is not off limits for a cat’s wandering instinct.

That’s when I remember: a couple of parking lot kitties are exactly the kind of pets I want.

What are your thoughts?