The Cat Came Back
I find it really hard to live without a cat, and so I’ve been spending far more time than would seem necessary gazing into the little webcam that shows me how Beppo and Zazou are faring during their “vacation” at the cat hotel in the south of France. But this morning a persistent meowing awakened me to the sight of a cat on the deck outside the bedroom. It’s a second story deck, so I thought I might still be dreaming, but the rising sun was in my eyes and I felt wide awake and happy to see some cat, any cat. Five minutes later the meowing came again, this time from the hallway outside the bedroom door. It was Kofi.
Kofi is a cat that I rescued several years ago from a family with three Jack Russell terriers, whose main purpose in life was evidently to terrorize the household cats. I brought him home, we installed him in our then-pet family of two cats and one huge and hugely gentle dog, and we were endlessly captivated by his extravagant beauty. He spent a lot of time relaxing and getting over his past, mulling over his future.
He seemed to be good at making himself at home, but however much we cuddled and snuggled him, he never purred. We decided that having spent his youth being beset by Jack Russells he had developed his own ideas about the proper life for a cat. Once freed from the pesky terriers, he apparently got the notion that life as an only pet might be the best thing ever, and so, little by little, he moved in with our neighbors, who were petless at the time and welcomed him gladly. End of story, we thought, for a few months a beautiful cat lived with us, and then he didn’t.
We saw him every so often, out in the driveway, up on the hill, and were always glad to see him looking well. Once or twice he came to be petted. But today, he apparently got up onto our roof, jumped from there down to the deck, found the open door and walked through the sleeping house, to meow outside our bedroom door. He wanted to be petted although he still didn’t purr, he wanted to be fed although the spuma di tonno I offered him wasn’t his favorite, he hung out with us for a couple of hours as if he enjoyed our company, and then he walked calmly out the door.
He’s his own cat, and he’s figured out how to have life on his own terms, which is a special skill that not all of us have. To know what you want, where to find it and how to get it, to go after it, enjoy it, and leave when you’re ready, now isn’t that the life? We can only hope that he includes us in his plans for the rest of the summer. But don’t worry Beppo and Zazou, we’re not cheating on you. It doesn’t count if the cat doesn’t purr.
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