I started seeing a beautiful gray-and-white cat around the first of the year. It was big and fluffy, and always sat on the neighbors’ porch railing across the way, looking at the day ahead. When the neighbors moved, I assumed they took their striking kitty with them, and I didn’t think any more about it.
Fast-forward to earlier this month. We were leaving the house to run some errands when out from underneath a car emerged a frail, skinny, and sick gray-and-white cat! It was crying — well, more like yelling — as it walked toward me. I had to stop, of course.
My first concern was this poor cat was starving and thirsty, and her tail appeared to have some kind of infection at the base. It was like she had been on the wrong side of a bad fight. Another cat in our complex terrorizes cats around here, and I’d seen it being cruel to the gray-and-white cat before.
What else could I do? I went into the house and brought a water and some food back out for her. That made this cat very happy. She just seemed to want sustenance — and some love. All of which I could totally provide.
We live in North Texas, where this time of year we are getting temperatures of at least 100 degrees. This means I have to go outside many times a day to fill the water bowl with some ice, so this sweet kitty always has cool water. She comes to our front door for food and cold water about 3:30 every afternoon, so that’s when I put out fresh food.
This cat looked like a female to us, though we had not been able to look closely enough. We still started calling her “Miss Kitty.” Not very original, I know, but my thinking was, if we didn’t give her a “real” name, then I wouldn’t get so attached. Like Dr. Phil says, “How’s that working for you?” Well, Dr. Phil, not very well.
Miss Kitty started coming around more and more. She would hide in the bushes and wait for me to come outside to put ice in the water bowl. She was getting more and more comfortable with us, too.
Let me tell you who is NOT comfortable with it: Morris, Maddie, and Mae, our own three cats. Whenever we go out the front door to check on, feed, water, or love on Miss Kitty, they get up in the kitchen window, cry, and freak out, especially Mae, the youngest. She is an unhappy camper; the poor thing gets so stressed out and miserable to see us caring for an unknown cat. After we come back in and wash our hands (to keep any strange kitty scent and potential strange kitty illnesses away from our cats), we just love on them. We try to explain that Kitty doesn’t have a good Mommy or Daddy like they do and needs our help! We’re not sure if that works, but giving them treats surely does.
Miss Kitty has been coming around more and allowed us to get closer, and we’ve discovered that Miss Kitty is actually a Mr. Kitty! He is doing really great right now, eating and drinking more, filling out, and his tail no longer looks infected. Now when I go out the front door to put ice water or food out, he comes running and screaming toward me. Which I eat up, of course; it’s like someone you haven’t seen in a while come running toward you with open arms. He’s so happy to see me, and I’m so happy that these small things I do for him can make his life so much better.
I have always wanted to volunteer at our local shelter. However, my husband thinks I will come home with too many animals. Plus, it is a kill shelter, and I am too much of a softy. Right now, though, I don’t need to go to the shelter to help animals, what with Mr. Kitty always coming around. This is not the first time that I’ve helped an animal in need, nor will it be the last. Despite how my cats might feel about it.
Laura lives in Mesquite, Texas, with her husband and three cats. She has three stepchildren and two step-grandchildren.