For a few hours last night, Brad and I owned a cat. We're both allergic, so this was less than optimal, but how could one ever say no to a face like this?
We were returning home from the movies, when I saw this beauty perched on a stone wall right at the intersection. Like any animal lover, I decided to make friends while we waited for the lights to change. I scratched behind her ears, and she purred, before leaping down and wrapping himself around my legs, then wandering over to Brad and doing the same. After the light changed colour, we made our way across the street, and I was surprised that the kitty followed us, meowing.
Needing to cut through the parking lot of a school to get home, we decided to stay with the kitty a little while longer, petting her, playing with her, and watching as she rolled in the dirt. Once it seemed like she had her fill of us, we continued on our way to cross the next street, only to look back and see her trotting to catch up with us.
We were growing more concerned, as she had to cross yet another street. Why was she so keen to follow us? Was she super friendly or was she lost? I wrestled with the idea of taking her home. She had a colour, so I knew she had a place to call home, but hadn't seen anything on it identifying where that home was. There was a dog up the street, and she froze, laying down on the sidewalk. I felt bad, clearly she was scared. After we watched her to make sure she was okay, I talked Brad into picking her up. We began weighing the pros and cons of what to do. She had the collar, so we knew that she belonged to someone. Was this normal behaviour for her? Was she a cat that was often let outside for periods of time, or was she lost, and finding some people who were kind to her, wanted our help? It's moments like these where I wish that animals could talk!
After a bit of back and forth, we came to the agreement that what if it was our cat? What would we want someone to do in a similar situation? Well, we'd want them to take her home and then try and find us so that we could be reunited. We'd want them to take her to the vet to get checked out, we'd want them to call the SPCA, we'd want them to post pictures in the area where they'd found her. So, we made the decision to take her home for the night. I would put up posters in the morning, and Brad would make some phone calls.
Needing to cross a few more streets to get to our neighbourhood, Brad carried her, because I kept voicing my concerns that I wouldn't want her to get hurt or lost at this point. How awful if we took her even further from home only to lose her! When we got onto our street, we set her down (as she was fussing more and more), only to encounter our next obstacle - a young male deer.
Our cat friend retreated into the shadows, but we could still see her. The deer got closer and closer, nibbling on some leaves on a tree fairly close to the cat. The deer was about three feet away from me - at this point I thought it was going to come and say hi, and that we would have another animal friend to worry about. But instead, the deer saw the cat and freaked out, running off across the street. Well, that sure was a thing!
Brad and I were having a bit of a moral crisis - what should we do? It was clear our cat friend was scared. Doing the right thing is hard, especially when the creature you want to do the right thing for, can't tell you what they're thinking. We decided that maybe bringing her home wasn't a good idea. What if we took her back to her neighbourhood? Yeah, she'd be fine and find her way home! So Brad picked her up once more, and we headed back toward where we found her. We set her down in the parking lot of the school just across the street from where we'd first encountered her, and while she looked at us longingly a couple of times, she seemed fine! She even began chasing something in the field and trying to get into the garbage.
It wasn't until we were almost back at the end of the parking lot that we could hear insistent meowing. She sounded distressed, upset. I turned around, and sure enough, she was sitting in the parking lot, looking at our retreating backs and meowing her little heart out. As soon as I looked at her she began bounding up to us - I've never seen a cat run toward people like that before. Looks like she'd made the decision for us - she was coming home with us. We would've left her there, if not for the distressed sounding meows. Even though we can't speak the same language, it doesn't take a genius to figure out when an animal needs help. I tried to get her to go into my purse, but she wasn't having any of it. Brad picked her up yet again, and we set off for home.
When we got to our apartment, she seemed quite content. Curious, of course. She explored our kitchen and living room, and followed me into the bedroom when I went to change, and then into the bathroom where I was taking off my makeup. Anything she could climb, she did - our couch, our stairs, and my leg. I gave her a dish of water, and we fashioned a litter box for her out of a cereal box and a plastic bag. She was making herself quite at home, scratching at our furniture and rolling around on the floor. For being somewhere so totally strange, she seemed to be in good spirits, and quite playful! She was very affectionate, clearly this was an animal who was loved and had a lot of love to give.
As I sat on the floor with her, playing and discussing with Brad what we were going to do in the morning, I felt something on her collar. I couldn't quite see it under her mass of fur, so I unclipped it. Marked on a bit of masking tape, were the answers to so many questions! First and foremost, our lady cat friend was actually a gentleman cat friend, named Momo! Secondly, we now knew where he lived - a couple of houses up from where we first found him. Little bugger! Why did you follow us so far from home in the first place?
It was late now, a little after eleven o'clock at night. Brad and I discussed what we should do. Should we keep Momo for the night, and bring him home in the morning, or should we take him home now? We felt bad, knowing where he now lived, and that we'd basically abducted him. I have no doubt in my mind that we had done the right thing, considering how distressed he'd sounded at various points in the night, but I was still feeling a twinge of guilt at having him so far from home, when he'd been so close to start.
We decided that since we knew where he lived, we would take him home. At this point, Momo had resigned himself to the fact that he was going to be picked up, and though he made little noises the entire walk back to his home, he didn't fuss too much. It was kind of adorable. "Oh, you're picking me up again? SIGH. Fine!"
Finding his home, we set him down on the stairs to it, and he seemed to know where he was, casting a look at us once he was back on solid ground. A thank you? Or a "Why the hell did you take me so far!?" I like to think it was the former. Happy that our cat friend was home, we went back to ours, looking very much forward to falling asleep. I kept looking back to make sure that he wasn't following us anymore, and he wasn't, which was a relief - we just wanted him to be safe and sound at his home, where his people were.
Brad and I are both animal lovers, so we were happy to have the time with Momo (even if he made me sniffly, and caused Brad to break out in hives). There are few things that make me happier than being in the presence of animals. We hope that Momo enjoyed his little adventure with us, and that we might cross paths again someday!
Well ... I hope that. Not sure if Brad does. ;)