This won’t turn into a blog about my cat – honest. But a couple people have asked about her, so I decided to use this post to re-introduce the fucking cat.Grey or black? Indoors, outdoors, or both? Timid and sweet, or feral and angry? Well, yes, yes she is all of those things, except an outdoor cat.
First, I’m not an animal person. My dad loved dogs. There was not a time when there was not a dog in my parents’ house, but it was more of a peaceful coexistence than an emotional experience. I just got used to having them around. I’ve never been a cat person. Ever.
About a year and a half ago, I noticed a little gray kitten hanging around my apartment building. She lived under the porch and would dive into the hole when I pulled in the driveway. Then she’d stick her head out and stare at me while I got out of the car. I thought she was cute, but I didn’t pay much attention. My neighbor was feeding her, which was cool with me as long as I didn’t have to deal with it. Each time I’d come home, the cat would take a little longer to run under the porch. Then one day, my neighbor hadn’t put food out by the time I got home from work. The cat followed me inside the building and right up to my door. No. You aren’t coming in. I hate cats. Go away.
The next morning, as I was leaving for work, I noticed that the neighbor still hadn’t fed the little rat. Er, cat. Damn it, you can’t just stop feeding a kitten. Even I know that much! I went back inside, but all I had that was even remotely suitable was half a bag of Fritos. I crunched some into an old bowl, set it out and left. Around lunchtime, I realized that instead of helping the cat, I’d probably half killed her. If nothing else, Fritos are salty and I forgot to leave water out for her. (Hey, I was just a stand-in at that point. I still thought the neighbor wasn’t going to be an ass about it).
My apartment building had an outside door (that was not always closed properly). Someone left it open and when I got home, I found the cat sprawled on the step outside my apartment door. I hate cats. Seriously. Go away. The next morning, the cat was sitting on the porch (outside) looking at me. It was starting to get cold, although it had been a pretty mild winter. So on my way home that evening, I bought some cat food and let her inside. So much for non-involvement.
Intellicat found me at the exact right time in my life. All I did was give her some food and let her into my apartment for the night (right!), but she saved me. She was skittish and scared. She wouldn’t let me touch her. She never hissed at me, but if I tried to touch her, she’d bite me (and hang on my wrist/arm) or she’d try to open a vein with her claws. I would have thought she hated me, except she followed me everywhere, right on my heels. I’d reach down to pick her up, she’d sink her teeth into my hand. And no, these weren’t friendly, playing, kitten bites. They were full-on “My goal is your death” attacks.
I let her outside the first few days – until I came home from work and found a bunch of the neighborhood kids in my driveway and the cat was nowhere to be found. These are the punks who broke my windshield, carved a very nasty word into the trunk of my car with a knife and generally caused mischief and mayhem. After they left, I went outside and Telli came out from under the porch and followed me back inside. I never let her out again. I wasn’t scared she would get hit by a car or eaten by a bigger cat … I was scared those evil fucks would hurt her.
To this day, I have no idea where I found the patience to let her mellow out. It was a full month before I could pet her at all – and then only for 12 seconds at a time. Slowly, very, very slowly, she started to trust me. She is still snarky and she still doesn’t like to be touched – but she still follows me around. She sleeps at the end of my bed, curled up at my feet, and most days she is waiting for me inside the door when I come home from work.
I’m still not a cat person.
And she’s still ‘the fucking cat.’