If it were up to ME, today's entry would have been the story about my new cat.
Unfortunately, OTHER PEOPLE IN MY HOUSE do not subscribe to the "finders keepers also she really, really likes me!" philosophy of pet adoption.
I was watching TV and kept wondering when someone on the show was going to acknowledge the crazy high-pitched meowing happening just offscreen. When it never happened, it dawned on me that OH. That there is a real cat. Who is definitely not MY cat, who is plenty prone to yowling but who has a much deeper voice. But damn, that is some loud-ass meowing.
I got up to investigate, by which I mean I walked confusedly around my house with a dumb baffled look for awhile, because...cat? Hello cat? Are you there? Yes, This Is Dog, etc. And then I discovered a cat pacing in front of our kitchen window. It saw me and amped up its already desperate-sounding meowing. I walked out the front door and it ran right to me, purring and rubbing and sqwinching and in the 15 seconds it took me to pick it up and bring it inside I was already like, "WHELP I GUESS I HAVE A NEW CAT NOW ISN'T THAT JUST THE DARNEDEST THING."
Jason, on the other hand, was not onboard with my version of events. At all. First it took me 10 minutes to convince him that this was, in fact, A CAT, and that I had not just scooped up a baby lynx or mountain lion or pygmy tiger and brought it inside my home.
Then he pointed out that MAYBE it wasn't the best idea to bring a strange cat into a house with three children and another cat and a dog because fleas? Vaccines? Rabies?
But it was obvious that the new love of my life was a very well-cared for cat. it was a girl, and although she had no collar and was thankfully not declawed, her coat and eyes and teeth were all beautiful and healthy. The popping sound of a can of wet cat food brought her running and she scarfed it up, and then daintily moved on to a bowl of kibble. She recognized the word "treat" and offered up her belly for me to rub.
I decided that she was an indoor cat who'd tragically gotten out and lost. Maybe her family had moved. Maybe she'd been abandoned. I decided that I was her savior, who would love her and care for her and put up a few dutiful flyers and then take her to the vet — where we would sadly learn that there was no microchip, alas! — and no one would call about the flyers AND SHE WOULD BE MINE.
(Note that my fantasy world did not deal with the fact that Max [and probably Ceiba as well] would FUH-FREAK the fuck out over this cat — currently the only plan for that involved shutting them in our bedroom upstairs. Not exactly a long-term solution, but the practical part of my brain was not exactly firing on all cylinders in the face of SOFT FUZZY KITTEH BELLEH.)
I put on my shoes so I could run out for a litter box and maybe a collar and a bed and ooohhh some jingle balls and fuzzy mice, like Max used to love before he got all old and crotchedy. Jason put on his shoes so he could go see if anyone was outside looking for their damn cat.
As the hours went by, however, it became increasingly clear that the cat was not down with my vision of our happy, snuggly future together. She wanted back out. She'd had her food and gotten her explores on, and now she was ready to hit the road again. And she was getting increasingly ornery about it. I tried to pick her up again and she sank her teeth into my arm and kicked off my chest with her back claws.
"It's okay!" I said, while running my bleeding wounds under some water. "I understand! It's a lot of love to accept all at once! You've been hurt before! You need some time and your space! WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK I SWEAR I STILL LOOOOOVVVVVVEEE YOU."
Jason coaxed her into a travel crate with some treats and went back out. Two different neighbors finally confirmed what I was starting to accept as the real story: She was definitely a neighborhood cat who liked to be out at night. Despite months of sightings, she remained clean and well-cared for (i.e. not a mangy-looking wild cat or indoor cat with no coping skills). She was notoriously friendly and one neighbor admitted that she thought she was a bit of a con artist when it came to begging for food. She'd shown up at her door, too, and although she didn't let the cat in (LIKE A SUCKER, LIKE MEEEEE) she did put some food and water out.
"I didn't see her around in the winter so I stopped." our neighbor explained. "I think she mostly goes out when the weather is nice. Since she didn't find food here she probably decided to try another house."
We came back home and watched the cat desperately search our house for a means of escape. She howled pathetically at every window and door. Jason told me it was time to admit we had someone's pet and needed to let her back out. I cried and protested that that would be irresponsible since we didn't know for SURE, besides, she was hungry! No collar! Let me keep her overnight and search for the owners in the morning. Maybe she's just looking for a litter box! LET ME GO BUY HER A LITTER BOX I PROMISE NOT TO BUY MOUSIE TOYS OR A COLLAR WITH THE NAME "ROCKY" ON IT BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND IF YOU WANT TO BE INCLUDED IN THE NAME DISCUSSION.
Jason let her out. We followed her for half a block before she crossed a lawn and entered the house through a pet door in the garage.
So in the end, I do not have a new cat. I let Max and Ceiba out of our bedroom and they spent a couple hours running around and determining FOR SURE that whatever animal had been here was definitely gone. I grumbled about collars and pet tags and traffic and tried to get Max to cuddle with me, but I guess I smelled like Other Cat and he wanted nothing to do with me. The whole evening ended up being kind of a bummer.