When my cat Prince AKA Pinky died, we thought we’d wait for another cat to find us. That was how I’d gotten Pinky. He lived two doors down and although he wasn’t abused he was living outside and pretty much ignored. He was 12 years old. He had a great deal to say about the inconvenience of rain and eventually, after a close encounter with a car, he came to live with me. For two good years.
When Polly, Lefty, Sophie, Pinky and I moved to our new house we learned there was a cat who was a regular visitor. The previous owner said she was a shy stray, and wouldn’t go to anyone but him. And then when he moved he couldn’t find her. He said he’d come and get her even though he didn’t really have a place for her. Wait until you have a house, I said, and I promised to leave food on the kitchen table—the dog and cat door is in the kitchen—and she came in pretty much every night to eat. We caught one quick glimpse of her in six months.
So when Pinky left us we hoped she’d decide that we’d paid our way and would agree to get to know us better. Didn’t happen.
Then friends living out on semi-rural Peterson Road, on the other side of Petaluma, told us they had a little visitor, too. He’d been sneaking in for the last few nights to eat. He was sweet and friendly but they couldn’t keep him. Please, they begged. Okay, so he hadn’t found us, but this was the next best thing, wasn’t it? They sent an irresistible cellphone video. Pathetic mewing. Beautiful gray and white coat.
I worried a little. Lefty the springer spaniel was very casual about cats but my cockapoo Sophie isn’t casual about anything. I was afraid she’d harass him, chase him because she didn’t know him. And then there were all the usual cat worries. Terrible illnesses, huge vet bills, adopting someone who had to be quarantined for life.
Our friends begged and pressed—they loved him, couldn’t bear to cart him off to a rescue group.
Irrepressible memories of my sweet pit mix Annie, found starving on the street, taken in by two women who couldn’t keep her, hours way from being killed at the San Francisco shelter. She was my honey for 18 years.
So we went to see the cat they called Buddy.
He came bouncing into their house on gigantic white paws. A gorgeous long-legged youngster. Adolescent for sure. A handsome narrow face with more hair than we really wanted puffing out from his cheeks and tail. His mewing was not pathetic. That was his sound
They fed us dinner and handed us a carrier.
In love but apprehensive, we took him home.
Hello cat, nice to meet you, Lefty said. Yawn.
Hi, cat! Sophie said, smiling. Will you hurt me? Want to play? Gee you’re nice! Can I kiss you on the nose?
Okay, said Buddy.
About a week later, after $500 in vet bills for blood and other tests, shots, and neutering, we know these things about him. He’s healthy, friendly, funny, smart, and somewhere between six months and a year old. The cat we think we’ve been feeding is coming around more, so we’re guessing he’s nice to other cats, too.
And he likes to follow me around the garden and help inspect the beans and tomatoes.
It’s so good to have a cat again.