Speaking of cats, I drove to PetSmart today to pet the cats. I'm not allowed to have any pets while I'm at home, and sometimes you just really need to pet a cat, you know?
|One of the cats I spent time with today. You can tell he really enjoyed my company.|
I grew up in a house in a meadow surrounded by woods outside of a small town. (Right now you're thinking, "Wow, the subject changed really quickly." But it's all gonna come together, I promise.) I'd never experienced having neighbors until I moved to Philly at the age of twenty, when suddenly I had several thousand on the same block at me. Unless you count cats as neighbors, that is.
My family had many cats, although I'm not sure you could technically call them ours. I don't even know how many we ever had or where they all came from. They were barn cats, even though there wasn't a barn. It's a concept my Philly friends never understood when I tried explaining it. Somewhere along the way, a cat popped up at our house and then some other cats popped up and somehow we always had between five and ten cats my whole life. My mom was never a fan, but my dad continued to feed and take care of them, so they stuck around.
Although not all were named, I remember a few that were--Buddy, MJ, Meeko, Fluffy. (We were really good with names.) But one stood out. Pumpkin. She wasn't pumpkin-colored at all, but black and white and quite furry. (So maybe more like a rotting pumpkin a few weeks after Halloween.) Me and a friend kidnapped her from my friend's neighbor who was mistreating her, and brought her to the cat plantation at my house. I told my parents she followed me home. Our house was in walking distance from exactly nothing, but my parents didn't question how Pumpkin had apparently chased after my car for several miles out of town.
I used to sit on the porch steps and Pumpkin would crawl onto my lap. I'd feed her special little treats and tell her stories and buy her toys that she would carry off and hide. The other cats belonged to the woods, but Pumpkin was the only cat that was ever really mine--or as much as a human can own a cat.
Pumpkin passed away right before I moved to Philadelphia, but I like to think her lasts years were pretty great, and she probably lived a lot longer than she would've at her old, abusive home. When I moved back to Arkansas, the cats had thinned out at the old house and, soon after, my family moved to a house in a neighborhood and my life surrounded by cats was over.
I'd like to have another cat someday, but for now PetSmart petting trips will have to do. Most of the felines at the store today seemed sad or indifferent as they lounged around in their cages, but I got to pet one very friendly younger cat who seemed to love the attention. My time with her (or him? I don't know) was short, though, because I wasn't feeling very good and had to leave. The last thing I need right now is to faint in a pile of cats. Or maybe that's exactly what I need.
|I took a photo of this bird, too. I don't know why. I don't like birds.|