A couple of years ago when I walked to and from my shop in Carnegie Antiques I’d often get into trouble with my camera, and simple errands that should take 15 minutes would take two hours, and sometimes I would come home with an extra kitty, find out who the kitty belonged to, and meet the neighbor.
On this particular day in late September 2011 I just took photos of kitties, all the neighbor kitties, as I walked up my hill and down the other side. This porch is actually several sets of steps above the sidewalk, but I could see just the tips of his fur and knew a kitty was sleeping in front of the door. I took a few steps up and that was when I met 320 Cat, who I’d never seen anywhere in the neighborhood, and I wondered if he belonged in the house where he was sleeping. No one appeared to be home, and I didn’t know this neighbor, but I knew they had a few dogs.
He awoke when he saw me and seemed startled and I thought he’d run, but instead he stretched and came straight toward me, talking. Then I could see his tail was missing most of its fur, he had patches missing here and there and when I petted him he felt scabby, likely a flea bit dermatitis, poor guy. His face and demeanor reminded me of Mr. Sunshine though his eyes were a lovely dark green. I petted him and we talked for a while.
I was just a few houses from home, but on the opposite side of the street, and I told him I needed to leave but he dutifully followed me and this is always the hard part. I couldn’t take him home, though I’d keep an eye out for him in case he really was a stray who just adopted that house. I really didn’t want him to follow me because I don’t want him to cross the street. I turned and told him, “No! Go back to your porch,” then turned my back on him and did my best not to look back, trying to sense where he was. At two houses away, just before I crossed the street, I turned to see him walking back up the steps to the porch at 320. I’m not convinced he belongs there or anywhere. At the rate rentals turn over in my neighborhood, I often see those left behind and often take them in and find new homes—in fact, many of my rescue stories were told about cats in my neighborhood. I decided I’d talk to the kids the next day because they knew everybody’s pets.
The kids didn’t know him, and I didn’t see him again until the following April when he showed up on my porch, gazingly adoringly at Mewsette as her brothers teased and wrestled with her.
He returned one more time that April, much to a big-eyed Mewsette’s consternation and I followed him back to 320 and met his person. It turns out his name was Gossamer after a character in a Loony Tunes cartoon, and he was 18 years old! The house was a medium-size old Victorian and somehow he’d been escaping now and then—who knew, maybe one of the dogs had dug through to the outside! She did indeed have a few dogs, and in fact had a fledgling pet sitting business for a while and boarded dogs now and then, but Gossamer was never bothered by them, as I could see as she and I talked.
He escaped one more time last autumn as my neighbor’s children from across the street came over to ask for some cat food because they’d found a cat and were tying to hide him in their basement. Their father was not an animal person, but I had the chance to have a conversation with and explain a few things to the two kids, who had grown up petting my cats. As I carried him back up the street I could see he was deteriorating, dehydrated, thin, confused. She shook her head at his ability to escape when he could hardly walk, especially since she knew he didn’t have much time left. She lost him over he winter, at 20 years old. I’m so glad I decided to walk that day, and got to know the old man just a little bit.
And when I posted the top photo—in fact, when I took the top photo—I thought about what nice painting it would be. Guess we’ll see!
(I did! Daily Sketch: 320 Cat)
Other daily photos shared on this date
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click here for the original post.
(Funny, I took a lovely photo of Giuseppe in front of the same mirror today—I’ll feature tomorrow.)
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