Oh lordy, here I go again.
The mewing started late on Memorial Day — Monday; a sound exactly like my melodious Mr. Ferguson, except that it seemed to be coming from down by the cellar windows, where he emphatically was not, being shut upstairs at the time.
Torvald, he of the fluffy thundercloud-colored coat and rumbustious disposition, was on top of a bookcase, gazing with alacrity out of the cellar windows. I went outside to look at what he was looking at and found this winsome, thick-tailed creature rolling in the grass.
She was still there the next morning. And the next evening. A note circulated to the local mailing list elicited some genius admonitions not to feed “stray cats” and one lost cat notice from about three weeks back, which moved me to go out, snatch the little creature and bring her inside. But I found that the lost cat of the notice had come home.
By now she was already named Agatha, because her tortie coat reminds me of an agate and because the celebrated Agatha Christie once went walkabout in the course of a marital upheaval. I don’t know about marital, exactly, but Agatha’s sustained writhing on the ground (or carpet) and plaintive yowling suggested an attack of early puberty. She seemed convinced my two neutered boys had the stuff for what ailed her, judging from passionate gazes through window glass and porch doors; at the very least, I figured, I was preventing a teenage pregnancy by keeping her in my sun porch.
Thursday morning, as I was about to leave to have her checked at the vet, a call came in from “Angelica,” who spoke the halting Spanish-accented English that is the brow-knuckling, pencil-snapping, napkin-twisting bane of my existence in these parts. I had put out posters with Agatha’s picture and my phone number, and Angelica saw one, and would come right over to get her, it was only across the street… my heart sinks at moments like this. I had to steal, in the end, my immortal bad boy Taffy the Terrible from next-door neighbors who were immigrants from Salvador and seemed to think of cats as warm furniture who needed nothing more than a dish of cheap kibble, water and to be let out to pee. Neutering? Too much trouble and money! We don’t let the gringos tell us to take our cat’s balls off! Bring him in at midnight when it’s twelve degrees out? We’re going to bed! The Abduction Of Taffy, when we finally moved, was a James Bond story for another time. And here I was again with Agatha, and Angelica.
Angelica showed up with about a three year old kid in tow — to be fair, he wasn’t too bratty — and, while she spoke competent simple English, really didn’t want to consider my idea of coming along with me to see the vet. I have to call my husband. (Because god forbid you should make a decision without calling some goddam man.) What will it cost. (Never mind that I said I’d help, or that her story of getting the cat from an uncle whose unspayed female had overrun his house with kittens was a glaring object lesson. These people don’t bother to control their own reproduction, never mind their pets’.) In the end, short of refusing to relinquish the cat, I had no option but to donate a cheap carrier and offer some quickly printed Web pages from the local shelter and the nearest vet. Keep her inside, I said, she wants a boy friend and if she gets out she’ll be right back over here meowing for love.
It only took thirty-six hours. She’s on the porch now.
Did I mention we have a tornado watch and a flash flood warning tonight?
So, do I take her back over in the morning and give them one more chance to do it right, or say Fuck It and bugger off to the vet’s at the first opportunity? Torvald is perishing for a buddy, and unlike my home team, Agatha seems to like him.