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Kitty Friend

Sometimes watching Simon is like watching my soul walk around untethered from my body.  I think once before I said he was a bit like Phillip Pullman’s daemon familiar to me, and that thought still holds true.

Friday evening, the two of us were playing chase in the yard. Up the driveway, around to the front walkway, down the front walk-way, then back around to the drive way. Half the time I’d chase him; half the time he’d chase me. I think my job was to be the Baron proxy.  After one of these circuits, a little kitty ran up to approach. This cat was youngish, black with white on his paws, very dirty, and had a wound on his ear and another on the top of his head. The presence of a flea collar told me someone owned him. His rather rough looking condition told me he might not be taken care of the way he deserves.

He ran up to us, brushed up against our legs, flopped on the sidewalk in front of us, meowed in greeting, and then followed us around as we played. “Was this Che?” Simon asked. No, not Che. “Was it the neighbor’s cat Mr. Rally?” I wondered out loud. No, not Mr. Rally confirmed a different neighbor. Does anyone recognize him? No, not me, not Matt, not neighbor Greg. Meanwhile, while Greg’s daughter seemed a bit nervous around this strange cat, Simon showed no hesitation at all. He petted him, ran after him, and declared him “my best friend.”

About an hour later, I had to tell Simon it was time to say goodnight to “our kitty friend” and go inside. Kitty Friend followed us. Simon asked if Kitty Friend could come inside. I had to demur, and did so by saying Kitty Friend needed to go find his own family. He might be lost.

Big Mistake.

“Will he find his family? Who is his family? Where’s his house? Is Kitty Friend lost? Can we find Kitty Friend?”

The barrage was ceaseless. It also mirrored my own inner state. If I knew for sure Kitty Friend was (a) neglected and/or lost and (b) disease free, he would have come in Friday night. In fact, could I have simply verified option (a), he would have spent the night in my basement and gone to the vet Saturday. It was only after serious discussions with Matt that I opted to not put a bowl of food and a cat bed on the back deck. (Matt wanted to wait 24 hours before taking control to allow Kitty Friend to find his home.)

When I took Simon to bed Friday night, Kitty Friend was sitting on my deck looking in my back door. He and Percy had a very nice conversation through the glass. He and Tristan had a less nice but surprisingly OK one. When I went to bed, Kitty Friend had moved on. But I still worried about him. And to be honest, I was hoping to see him again Saturday. When I didn’t, I was a bit sad.

And here’s where Simon comes in. When he woke up Saturday morning, the first words out of his mouth after “Good morning, Mommy” were:

“Is Kitty Friend home? Did he find his family? I love Kitty Friend. Can we find Kitty Friend? Kitty Friend is my best friend.”

Kitty friend finally showed back up—minus his collar but looking much better—last night and again this morning. He loves us, it’s mutual, and I wish I knew who he belonged to so I could verify that he’s well fed, has a place to sleep, and is generally OK. While I await answers that likely aren’t coming, others have arrived unbidden, namely:

  1. Simon is a sweet-heart;
  2. If we’re not careful, we’re likely to go broke taking care of all the other kitty friends that cross our paths in the future, because;
  3. The only thing more irresistible than a sweet and friendly cat in need of TLC is a sweet and friendly three-year-old who is eager to dispense it.

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