I met a kitty on my way to the farmer's market this afternoon. She had brown, white, and silver splotches, mostly brown on top and white on the bottom. She was hanging out nervously outside the Greek restaurant mid-way up my block.

Anytime someone approached she would skitter away and watch them suspiciously, either from a stoop or one of the little alcoves between front doors, the kind that lead to basement apartments. I walked up quietly and paused about six feet away, squatted down, and rubbed my index and middle fingers together rapidly, the universal human-kitty sign for "Come over here and I'll give you a proper scratching."

After a few seconds she approached, sniffed my fingers, and then submitted to a nice petting. Somebody came out of the Greek restaurant and she dashed off to a nearby stoop. I approached again and, after she was sure the interloper was a safe distance away, she came back for more petting. The scenario repeated itself a couple of times. Eventually she took an odd interest in the underside of a car and went to investigate. A couple of minute later she returned.

After about fifteen minutes of this she spotted a pigeon in the road. She left me and quietly snuck up on it. She got quite close and then pounced, but the pigeon managed to get away. A passerby who saw asked if it was my cat. I replied that it wasn't, I'd just found her here, and I didn't know if anyone owned her or not. He said he couldn't help me.

I spent most of the time quietly contemplating what, if anything, I should do about the cat. I really, really wanted to take her home with me. I couldn't decide if she was feral or not. On the one hand, she seemed relatively friendly, at least towards me. On the other, she was so skittish when people approached that it made me wonder. Back on the first hand, she seemed fairly muscular and well-fed. At the same time, one of her ears was missing the tip, and the other had a small chunk torn out of it. Her fur had a lot of grit in it, but that isn't decisive; if she was any sort of outdoor cat, of course she'd have a lot of schmutz on her. Needless to say she didn't have a collar, or else there wouldn't even be a question.

I thought about taking her home and putting up signs to see if anyone had lost her. Then, if noone replied, I could keep her secretly in my apartment, in violation of the "No Pets" clause in my lease. I need to move out at the end of next year, anyway; in the worst-case scenario my landlord would find out and I'd have to move a bit earlier. A hassle, certainly, but an inevitable one. My roommate's moving out by the end of the month, so I needn't have worried about his potential objections. Still, my apartment really isn't ready for a cat right now. I've got stuff everywhere, I've no cat food, no litter box, no toys for it. And, if it was feral, I'm not sure it'd be too pleased with the arrangement. Being friendly enough to come over for a petting is one thing. Being tolerant of getting hauled into an apartment and confined there is something entirely different.

I had just about decided that it would be best to leave her there when a crack of thunder caused her to race into the Greek restaurant. This confirmed my suspicion that she was the restaurant's cat; I first saw her in front of the restaurant, and I noticed that she tended to favor the restaurant's alcove when strangers walked by. I sighed and kept walking to the farmer's market, where I got some rhubarb to theoretically turn into a pie.

I still wish that I had a cat. Stupid "No Pets" clause.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on May 20, 2007 5:26 PM.

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