A cat has appeared at our house. We first noticed it, or I should say Daisy, the princess in a basset hound suit, first noticed it on our back patio one evening. Her first enthusiastic Wooooooooof scared the poor thing off. It was back the next evening, and continues to make appearances.

I always had cats until I married. At least one cat. As a child, we had two most of the time. One was our family cat, appropriately named, Puff. Puff was a long-haired, beautiful mult-colored cat. Very ladylike, she would cross her front paws when lounging. Though Puff was with us for 23 years, her companions came and went. They were typically gray and black tabbies who would wander into our sphere and stay – some for prolonged periods of time, some for shorter stints. From their examples I learned that you don’t adopt a cat. A cat adopts you.

Therefore, after my last cat, Kahlua, passed away about two years into my marriage, I decided to wait and see what would happen next. My husband is almost violently anti-cat. He put up with Kahlua for my sake, but never could get past the litter box issue. Meanwhile, over the next six years, Austin, Derek and I would occasionally loft the “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a cat” balloon into our family atmosphere, only to watch as it was shot down vehemently by Robert.

But our time may be at hand. The universe has delivered a cat into our backyard, and I’m trying to figure out how to make certain it remains. I considered putting food out on the back patio every evening, but alas, we also appear to have a possum who shows signs of wanting to belong to us as well, and I feel putting food out would only create a potentially dangerous situation for our feline acquaintance. Desperate to provide some sort of comfort on a recent cold evening, I put a box outside, lined with newspaper and some old bedding. The kitty hotel remained unoccupied, much to my annoyance.

Really, considering the noisy dog, stray possum, and lack of nourishment, I have no idea what it sees in us – unless it has a death wish. I just FEEL it wants to belong to us. So what do I do now? I’m not sure how this worked as a kid. I just know we’d end up with a stray cat, take it to the vet, get it fixed and “voila!” it slept nights in my bed.

Yesterday morning I looked out the kitchen window and was greeted with this:

Now, that is a cute cat. Plus, his or her coloring goes really well with Daisy’s. Pet color coordination is underrated.

I’m getting desperate. I wake up in the middle of the night when I hear it growling a warning at the invading possum. I tear through the house, flash the back porch light on and race outside to scare the combatants apart.  Two nights ago we awoke to the metal clanking of our skewers and various barbecue paraphernalia as they hit the ground. Apparently something had tried to get under the grill covering, or been disturbed during the night.

I don’t recall Fluffy, or Midas, or Hobie-cat ever being this much trouble to “rescue.”

Maybe I should plant some catnip, get the little guy or gal stoned and snag it. Of course, I have visions of a wild, feral cat racing in circles through the house with Daisy hot on its trail. And I’ve had the misfortune of seeing a cat circle the walls before. Literally, ON THE WALLS. Someone once brought a feral cat into the vet’s office where I worked.  I can still see it swooping around the room, half way up the wall, using centrifugal force like those rides at the amusement park, screeching, spraying urine and hissing like a demented dervish. At the time you wouldn’t have had to convince me that had it a mind to, it could have taken all of us out.

Maybe I’ll try putting some food out. Or some milk. Milk is calming, right?

Milk for the cat. Scotch for Robert. It’s a plan.

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