Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cats I've almost had

I haven't actually owned a cat (my family did when I grew up), but cats seem to think I need one.

Years ago in my first apartment there was a little black cat that lived in the apartment behind me. One morning as I headed out the door, the cat headed in. Having grown up with another little black cat, my first instinct when I saw a cat heading for the door was to move my feet out of its way. Then I had the "Wait a minute..." moment after it ran inside.

From that point on it liked to come visit me from time to time. I usually didn't let it in (except when it was really cold out), but it would come by and say hello. It eventually moved away, and I think the owner went with it.

A few years later I heard a cat hollering out in the hallway on a cold night and found no one home where it lived, so of course I let it come in with me. It had a grand time sniffing and exploring everything in my apartment until I heard the lady next door come home. I went to let her know I had her cat. Now the cat of course heard her too; he knew she was home now, but he had no interest in leaving off a good explore, so I had to go retrieve him. Of course, as soon as we got to the door and he knew she could see him in there, he started wiggling mightily, I'm sure telling her "Help! Help! I didn't want to be in there! He made me! Save me!" Of course, she was a cat owner, so she didn't buy this for a minute.

I've been remembering some of these because I've had cats in my new neighborhood trying to invite themselves in. There's a big white one that's been hanging around for a while and who seems quite interested in coming inside, if I'd be agreeable. If not, I could just spend some time petting her while she rolls around on the ground, if I'd like.

I thought she might belong to the older lady who lived next door, since I saw her lounging in the front window once. Apparently she was just less cautious about her sneaking in than I was 'though, because the lady moved out almost a month ago and the cat is still hanging around. (She apparently belongs one more house over.)

More recently, I found this little black and brown one outside on a cold night, trying desperately to come inside.

I felt sorry for him but didn't want to let him in my apartment for the night, so I put a box lined with a bunch of towels out on the porch for him. (I peeked out the window later and saw him curled up in the box with his head poking up.) But not letting him inside was a real challenge. This has been the most aggressive cat I've ever found about trying to come inside. We spent some time with him trying to dodge around my hands and feet and make it inside. As a last ditch effort he poked his paw through the last crack of open door to keep me from closing it and then tried to wedge his nose through it. I kept telling him, "You don't live here," and I think he kept responding "I know. I don't care. It's cold out here."

Since then, he's proven to be just as aggressive, but incredibly sweet. If he sees me coming out, he'll come dashing up, collar jingling wildly, and try to get in my apartment. Once that's failed, he'll take all the petting I'll provide for as long as I'll sit with him. He gets very excited and starts poking his head under any hand of mine which is not currently in use. This morning when I finally stood up to leave, he stood up on his hind legs and grabbed my hand with his paws. "Hey, get back down here! I'm ever so cute!"

So far, I've avoided actually ending up with a cat, but I know I have the "Sucker" sign printed on my forehead (which animals in need can always read), so I assume it's just a matter of time.

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