One night in the fall of 1999 a small grey and white kitten hesitantly approached me when I got out of my car in the dark. It was nervous and I could not get close to it as it kept a safe distance between us. I went in the house, but by the time I returned with some food he was gone.
The following spring Pokey cat, who never missed a meal, did not come in when I called her for dinner. I grew increasingly worried as the evening wore on. She finally showed up at the back door about 10:30. I brought her in and closed the door. A few minutes later there was a meowing in the back yard and when I looked out the door a grey streak disappeared over the fence. I went back to the other room and this sequence repeated until I eventually went to bed. Starting the next day there were certain unmistakable signs in my house when I came home from work that only a male cat can leave behind… It occurred to me that the logical solution was to capture this stray, get him fixed and at least have him as a polite neighbor, if a wild one. Well, the capture was no easy thing to accomplish. It took 6 weeks!
Everyday I would put food outside the back door, at first sitting quietly out of sight in the other room and gradually getting closer, letting him see me, sitting on the floor inside while he ate just outside the door. Finally I was able to touch him before he would bolt. I discovered the softest silkiest fur that any cat has ever had. Finally the day came when I snatched him up, put him in a box, tossed the box in the back of the car and went straight to the vet where they snipped him into submission. I’ll teach you to trust me, cat! The vet said he had a heart condition and as I later learned asthma due to nerves. He was not expected to have a long cat life. I had no intention of keeping him, anyway; he was bound for a no kill shelter perhaps or just to live out his life in the wilds of West Hollywood.
When the winter turned cold he took to demanding entry to the house at night and when one night I woke to find him sleeping on my feet I knew the die was cast. When I next moved I packed him up along with the 2 girls and off we went together to our next home. One middle-aged woman with 3 cats qualifies as crazy cat lady, so I justified it by saying that I had Pokey and Mao; Pokey had Willie. That’s way less crazy, don’t you think?
Pokey died in early 2011 and Mao, never separated from her, followed later that year. Willie, who has undergone a true personality transformation – from the cat that no one could touch to the one that wanders into neighbors houses, climbs into laps and is loving and true, took his last trip to the vet today. He ate some smelly liver cat food and got into the cat carrier practically on his own. It’s the Day of the Dead; the veil is thin. Maybe Pokey and Mao are waiting. If they are, Mao has a freshly caught mouse for Will to enjoy.