On Furry Friends

As my transition enters its final phases, I’ve sat out on this little thing we call a porch and pondered the meaning of life, often while reading a good book or otherwise occupied. As I’ve done so, someone apparently decided he (or she, who really knows?) would like to meet me and I guess maybe feel a bit less alone.

I think you can see my new companion here, blind folks, it’s a cat apparently with his head missing (this is why they will never hire me as a photographer)

Anyhow, this has been happening all week. At first, he would saunter up to me and just brush against my legs, then bounce off to other parts of the porch. Then, he began stopping and sometimes sitting at either of my feet. In the last couple of days, he has attempted to put his paws on my legs, as if asking to be helped into my lap. But then I get the sense he knows he is probably not clean enough to do this, so he will retract the paws and likely sadly slink away.

I can’t help wondering if he was also a victim of this apartment complex’s rapid rent increase, in that maybe someone threw him out? Maybe they, as am I, moved in with some other family member who wouldn’t allow pets and had to make a wrenching choice. I say this, because I would find it surprising to be so rapidly addressed, and apparently trusted, by a stray with little experience dealing with humanity. That cat acted as if it were quite close to someone, in fact. Something of a reminder that these kinds of policy shifts can effect other lifeforms as well.

If I were staying here though, I might actually consider keeping him, knowing that I would have to take him to the vet and have all of that stuff checked and get him cleaned up real good. As it is, I hope maybe someone does find him soon and take care of him.

I don’t know what’s in their minds, of course, but I have always felt like animals have a deep connection to me that forms as soon as I am seen. They have played some role in nearly every major era of my life, as I would guess is the case for most.

Because we were the poor kids we were, our first four kitties came from a cat that had been stolen from my grandma’s neighborhood and transported clear across town. Named Tiger because she looked a lot like one, she gave birth to Ginger, Salt, Pepper, and Cheetah. The first three were seasonings, and the last was just fast! Ginger was the only one to survive that rough and tumble existence for any length of time, living with us until we left that house and began our next chapter in a town home around my teen-age years.

We’d had a dog then named Shannon, but because she hadn’t really been trained and lived out back, I didn’t get to develop any kind of relationship with her. I was afraid of dogs actually, until 2004 when I ventured to Spain and met a shaggy Old English Sheepdog whose only desire was to lick one to death and try to knock them over with his bulk. Then in 05, my cousin acquired a terrier to whom I became very close, cementing my belief that I was far more a dog person than a cat person. I mean dogs understand so much more, it seems. My sister’s little dog got close to me during my brief time in PineBluff in 2012, and now my fiance’s dog enjoys having me around. She seems to know the rule that she should only stop by to say hi when the lady has gotten up to do something else, m which amuses me.

But I am sometimes reminded that cats, aloofness for which they are known and all, can be just as intelligent and friendly. I guess really their personalities can vary as much as any person’s, right? This is what we humans can forget, that these animals do have feelings and probably even realize when they have been neglected. If my story above is true and that one was tossed out by someone, I wish they could have managed to at least turn it in to some sort of agency. I know there are shelters that are set up to handle such things. I also know, of course, that if someone is under stress about all other elements of their life, like where they will eat or stay, this just might not occur to them.

So that’s just a bit of the strangeness that represents the beginning of my summer. I actually hope it’s not a bad omen, as I’ve heard before that cats can be drawn to people when they have some kind of serious condition of which they may not even be aware. But in the end, its presence has had a calming effect during a tumultuous time of my life. In any event, he gives me something other than grad school to write about.

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