Now, for something completely different, the story of how, back in February, my roommates and I accidentally adopted a cat, and it really pissed me off.
Not at the cat, mind you – he’s the most ridiculously friendly, adorable, and likable cat I’ve ever seen, as I’ll get to in a moment – but at his previous owners.
It was a typical day in Minnesota in mid February – a lot of snow on the ground, temperatures in the upper teens (Fahrenheit, natch) during the way, down around zero at night. Coming back from the garage, my roommate found a cat in the backyard. It was skinny as all hell, looked kind of miserable, and meowing a lot, in a really pitiful way. There are a lot of stray cats in this area, and a lot of people in the neighborhood have “outdoor cats” who roam around, so a cat in the backyard isn’t terribly uncommon, and we don’t really mind. (There’s one “outdoor cat” in the area that we refer to as Bob, for no particular reason, who does an excellent job at keeping the local squirrel population in check. Yay, Bob!) This one, though, was a bit different…
You see, he followed my roommate to the side door of the house. And then sat outside the door, meowing at the top of his little kitty lungs, for several minutes, loud enough that it could be heard inside. I went to go see what the commotion was, thinking maybe one of the cats we already had had gotten locked outside, or something. I opened the door… and in walked what would eventually prove to be our newest cat, completely fearless.
He was a little bit skittish around us at first, but let us pick him up and pet him, and certainly didn’t object in the slightest when we gave him some cat food and water. He was in really sorry shape – pretty much skin and bones, and he had some strange-looking wounds on his legs and feet – and with the weather getting worse, we couldn’t in good conscience kick him back outside, so we agreed to keep him overnight, have him looked at by a vet, and then see if anyone we knew wanted a cat.
That was the plan, anyway.
We took him to the vet, who said he’s a roughly two-year-old male, already neutered, and in basically perfect health, all things considered. The wounds on his feet and legs were all too familiar to the vet; they were burns from having hopped up onto the engine of a recently-parked car to stay warm. They were a couple weeks old, and healing without any complications.
Obviously, someone previously owned him (or was owned by him, depending on your point of view regarding cats.) Just as obviously, someone had gotten rid of him and left him to fend for himself in the arctic hell that is Minnesota in winter.
There were no “lost cat” signs anywhere nearby; we checked.
Here’s what really gets me, though: the cat, whom we’ve decided to call Harold (don’t ask), is, pretty seriously, the most friendly, well-behaved, “people person” of a cat. He loves people. Want to pick him up, pet him, scratch his belly? Want to play with him? Want him to cuddle in bed, or on the couch, or just sit on your lap while you’re watching television? He’s more than happy to oblige. Once he recovered from his ordeal outside, he’s become an incredibly friendly, incredibly energetic, incredibly lovable cat with no bad habits whatsoever. (Crap on the floor? Nope. Pee in the corners? Nope. Scratch furniture? Nope… you get the idea.)
The sort of cat, in other words, that you’d have no trouble whatsoever finding a new home for, if you wound up being foreclosed on, or evicted on short notice, or simply decided to move to a new apartment that didn’t allow pets. Anybody would want him. We really didn’t want another cat, but couldn’t resist Harold’s quite evident charms, and wound up keeping him. Everybody who meets him, loves him. (Even our other cats like him, for crying out loud, and they’re the most territorial, anti-social little monsters you ever met.) I think everybody who’s ever met him, has loved him.
Except, obviously, the last people who had him, who left him to fend for himself in Minnesota in winter.
It’s like they say – some bastards are just bastards, but some bastards are bastards…