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Comfort from an unexpected quarter

my buddy

No, this is not Damien. He’s still AWOL. I’ve been putting off one particular chore — visiting the pound in person — because I expected to be slapped in the face with a yowling slice of pussycat hell. Kitty Auschwitz. Okay, mostly I was bracing to fall in love with every cat in sight and be inconsolable when I couldn’t take them all home.

Instead, it was strangely comforting.

I signed in — name, address and phone number — and they pointed me to the Cat Room. It’s a small room with about 20 cages. Yesterday, there were five cats and one kitten. I was by myself in there. Yeah. It was smoochie time.

For a second, I thought I spotted Damien, but it was a little stripey female with a bit of brown on her coat and a rough, cigarette-y meow. Probably meowed herself hoarse, poor thing. She’d only been there a few days and she had a clear mark where a collar had been. It took me a while to locate the kitten. He was across from the others and coal black. I found him via his progressively angry mew, as in, “hey lady! Kitten being cute over here!”

I’m a hard-core cat watcher. I do my best not to anthropomorphize them or overestimate their intelligence, but I’d love to know exactly what goes on in those little hairy brain pans. There’s no doubt in my mind those cats knew the score. They were auditioning for me, and giving it their best shot (except the kitten, who doesn’t have to try). Not screaming and flailing, but displaying behaviors ten thousand generations of their kind employ to dissolve cat-loving slop-bags such as this writer into puddles of goo.

I know my guess is right, because they behaved very differently today. They recognized me. They were grateful for the ear skritches, but each one waited quietly and patiently for his or her turn.

Oh, yes. I went back today. The manager is a likeable, upbeat guy and very grateful when visitors spend time with the cats. Keeps them sociable and adoptable. And he’s moving them out, too; four got adopted Saturday. The Damien-like little girl was adopted while I was there. The kitten got snapped up later. New cats appeared in their places, of course. There are always more.

Okay. Yes. It’s sad that I have to leave them there. But I know I made those nice moggies feel better and, on balance, that made me happier than it made me sad.

I can’t go every day. They’re only open while I’m at work, it’s fifteen minutes each way and I only theoretically get a half-hour lunch. But I’m going back.

And next time, I’m bringing string.

UPDATE: okay, this is just weird. I was chatting with my neighbors in back, and one of them asked if that was my cat in the flyer, and when I said yes, she said, “but he’s been here all along. I know for sure I saw him Sunday, standing right there.”

From what I understand, there’s a litter of new kittens (or maybe just a gang of young cats) about, and another of my neighbors is feeding them. If he’s warm, fed and amongst friends…yeah, I guess I could see that. He always liked being around other cats, and Charlotte hates him with a flamey hate (and deservedly. He’s always trying to suckle her or steal her food).

If he’s fallen in with a mama cat who will let him nurse, he’s a very dirty boy. A very dirty boy I might not see again for a while.

May 20, 2008 — 2:40 pm
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