54: Home Invasion

54: Home Invasion

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat

Home Invasion

Fun fact: In general, a cat that approaches complete strangers is most likely a stray or abandoned domesticated cat, not a feral.

One might consider “Mousey” a strange name for a cat, perhaps even an insult. I consider the name appropriate for the way our cat became a member of our family. My son and I were watching television one night with a friend when I noticed something moving by my friend’s chair. Upset because I thought I’d seen a mouse, I sat up straight and stared down to see what had caught my eye. A young gray cat sat looking at me, uncertain whether to stay or run.

“Where did that cat come from?” I asked suspiciously, looking at my son for confirmation of his guilt. He had been asking for a cat for years and I had been unrelenting in turning him down. We had already been through too many pets and wildlife rescues.

“Cat?” he asked.

“What?” asked my friend.

Both males looked in the direction I pointed, with equally surprised looks on their faces.

I stood up. The cat backed up. I walked forward. The cat turned, ran into the laundry room, and out the pet door.

The pet door wasn’t new. It, and the one in the outer garage door, came with the house. I’d never known them to be used. Evidently, the scent of our chicken dinner, the sound of talking, and the chilly temperatures outside had encouraged the cat to chance entering.

I felt sure she wouldn’t be back, and she wasn’t… that night. The next night, however, a gray shadow once again peeked from around my friend’s recliner.

“Outside, cat. You’re not staying,” I insisted. My statement, meant to sound emphatic and made more for the benefit of the males in the room than the cat, might have been a little louder than necessary, but I was going to win this war.

“Mom, it’s cold, and the cat looks hungry. Can’t we give her something to eat and let her sleep in the laundry room for the night?”

“Not a chance. It’s not happening! That cat can find food elsewhere and sleep in the garage.” I wasn’t giving in, although I had to admit my conscience bothered me at the thought of sending a poor little creature outside in the cold without food.

“I’ll take her out,” my son volunteered.

I thought I saw him grab a piece of chicken as he walked through the kitchen, but I wasn’t sure and, like I said, my conscience was bothering me.

The cat didn’t come back that night. Score round two for me. The next evening, I found myself keeping an eye on the corner of the recliner, prepared for an ambush. No cat. I gave up and became engaged in the movie. Suddenly, as quiet as a mouse, a gray ball of fur landed on the footrest of my chair. I nearly jumped out of my skin! My friend chuckled and my son laughed out loud. The cat curled up and snuggled down by my leg, pretending to be oblivious to her surroundings.

The ball was in my court. I reached down to stroke her soft gray fur. The purring of the cat sounded loud, despite the volume of the television. The cat had adopted a family for herself, and she knew it. I never had a chance.

~Rita Durrett

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