Zoey, Part 7: “Give Her Back to Us!”

I thought of pretending I wasn’t home, because I knew why my neighbors were pounding at my door. But I knew I’d have to face them eventually. So I mustered up as much courage as possible and stepped onto the front stoop.

“So, you think it’s okay to take someone else’s cat?” Jake was belligerent.

I measured my words carefully. Another neighbor had told me a few days before that the kitten “really doesn’t belong to anyone anymore,” indicating that Jake and Clarissa had abandoned her. I believed the neighbor, since I saw Zoey outside all the time. I’d tried to catch Jake and Clarissa to ask them if it was still their kitten, but they were never around. Now it had come to this: a confrontation.

“She was hurt,” I said. “I had to get her to the vet. I haven’t seen you around. I didn’t think you wanted her anymore.”

“We’re around. We just don’t come out of out apartment a lot.” Jake was doing all the talking, while Clarissa hung back and played with her phone.

escher effect
Composite sketch of “Jake and Clarissa”

 

“She’s too little to be outside all the time,” I said, trying not to sound argumentative. “She could get hit by a car or mauled by a dog.” I immediately wondered whether I should have included that last part, recalling that the couple owned a pair of pit bulls. (Which, unlike the kitten, they kept in the house.)

“You can’t control a cat if it wants to go outside,” Jake scoffed.

“Yeah.” Clarissa finally spoke up. “Whenever I open the door, she scoots right past my legs before I can stop her.”

“Can I keep her while she heals, at least?” I was losing this argument and losing hope.

“No!”

“Well… if I give her back, will YOU keep her indoors until she gets better?”

“No! She’s going right back outdoors, where she wants to be.” Joe stomped away. “I’m gonna call the law!”

“Wait!” I cried. “I’ll go get her.”

This shut them up.

With the heaviest of hearts, I went upstairs, where Zoey was resting on the bed, unaware of the drama that was transpiring one floor below.

 

fuzzy wuzzy kitty
How can such a tiny kitty cause so much commotion?

 

I scooped up the tiny kitten and brought her outside, where Jake and Clarissa were waiting. I knew they were right. Even though I disagreed with the way they were raising the cat, it was their animal. Just because I’d gotten Zoey veterinary care didn’t give me any legal rights to her.

I held my breath as I handed the kitty over to Jake, wondering what would happen next…

To be continued.

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Zoey, Part Two: A Cat Named Snowflake

It was Snowy who brought The Deejling to my porch. Snowy, or Snowflake, is my neighbor’s cat. Fluffy, gorgeous, and affectionate, Snowy has led all sorts of felines to my doorstep. Most, it turned out, belonged to other neighbors. The funny thing is, all of the cats had initially been too timid and skittish for me to get near them… until Snowy brought them to me. It was like he told them in Cat Language that I was a safe person. Or, more importantly, a source of food!

snowy tail
Snowflake the neighbor kitty

I was so thrilled when the mini Deej first appeared with Snowy on my doorstep. I was in awe. I took pics and sent them to my ex. He agreed that the kitten was a dead ringer for Deej.

After a few visits, the little guy (or gal?) let me pet it while it was eating. I was so happy! But I shouldn’t be, I thought to myself. I have two cats already. I don’t need a third!

I wasn’t prepared for what would happen next.

zoey snowy
Snowflake watching the Deejling eat

 

 

I’ve Created a Monster

I’m feeling just a little bit guilty.

I’ve noticed that my sweet black cat, Jinx, has been stressed out lately.

And I feel like… It’s. All. My. Fault.

If you read my previous post, The Stray Cat That Wasn’t, you know of the neighbor cat, Snowflake, AKA Toby. If you missed it, Snowflake was a cat that just showed up on my doorstep. Assuming he had been abandoned, I started feeding him and posted pics of the handsome cat. Came to find out he belongs to my new neighbors. Apparently, Toby/ Snowflake puts on his pathetic “starving stray cat” act for as many as five different households, according to his humans.

Even after I learned of his deception, I couldn’t help doting on Snowflake. His distinctive, hoarse “meow” and his refined pandering techniques were too cute for me to resist. I continued to feed him and make a fuss over him. I sometimes sat outside in my camping chair, with a book, with Toby/ Snowflake at my feet. I called him my “Reading Buddy.”

flakey boy
“Nom! Nom! Nom! I’m starving! I haven’t eaten in, like, two hours!”

Meanwhile, Jinx had been observing our budding friendship  from her perch on the living room windowsill. She seemed unaffected at first, like she couldn’t care less about this shaggy imposter. But one day, she started vocalizing her disapproval, letting out a series of forlorn meows through the window screen as she watched me play with Snowflake/ Toby on the porch. It wasn’t a jealous vibe that I picked up; it was more of an “Aren’t I good enough for you?” meow, as though her feelings had been hurt. When I found her crouched atop the kitchen cabinets (she NEVER gets up that high!) I knew things had to change.

jinx-is-high
“I am making a statement… Now help me down.”

Naturally, I felt like a Very Bad Mom. I decided to cut back on the attention I gave to the neighbor’s cat.

Easier said than done. That cat is seemingly ALWAYS here, croaking in his weird little voice on my doorstep. Jinx is perpetually stationed on the windowsill, staring out at him, her eyes as large and round as frisbees. Sometimes the loitering cat will stand up on his hind legs so that he’s almost nose-to-nose level with Jinx through the window screen. She doesn’t hiss or recoil, nor does she return his affections. She just stares at him.

The other day, Snowby (haha– get it? Combo of Snowflake and Toby!) actually rushed into my living room when I opened the front door. This was a first. Jinx remained where she was, again regarding him with that blank stare.

Milo, on the other hand, did not like this intrusion whatsoever. He leapt up on a table and hissed at Snowby. I scooped up the uninvited guest and quickly escorted him back outside. Milo had been within seconds of launching himself at Snowby, which would NOT have been pretty. He continued to hiss for a full minute after the  trespasser was gone.

milo-now
“This is my Domain. My. Domain. Mine.”

The neighbors who own Snowflake say “he just keeps running out.” I personally think they are overwhelmed with two toddlers, a newborn, a dog, and a cat. I feel sorry for Snow, even though he’s annoying. If only Milo wasn’t such a bully, I’d just let him in sometimes. I’m worried he might get hit by a car, the way he runs amok in the neighborhood.

Stay tuned for another installment of “As the Litterbox Turns,” coming soon.

snowby-poser
“You know you can’t resist me.”