I only have one cat. I tried having two cats. It ... well, I can't talk about it.
But again, for the record, I only have the one.
Not that it matters. I am a crazy cat lady. I think it's official. Here's why.
This morning, I went out to get my mail when I was distracted by some sad meowing. (Indication #1 that I am a CCL: I could tell that the meowing was sad, as opposed to, erm, not sad.)
I looked about me and found a big, fluffy, filthy cat sitting in the dirt, looking at me out of clear blue eyes. "Hey, kitty," I said, "What's the matter?"
(Indication #2 -- I talk to strange cats. As though they might answer me.)
I began to kneel, mail completely forgotten. The cat began to back up. "Hey, no," I said. "I'm nice. See?" I reached out a hand very, very slowly. The cat approached cautiously, continuing to cry. "Mew, mew." But now it was also purring -- just a little. It bumped its head against my outstretched hand.
A word about this cat. It was not a run of the mill, random breed cat (which is what my cat is. I love her, but she's a mutt). It was an expensive breed. A Fire Point Himalayan. The kind of cat they show in fancy cat food commercials. She (I decided she was a she, but I don't know why) didn't have a collar. Despite the fact that she was now wanting to be near me, she was still skittish and mewing.
"What's the matter, Puss?" I patted her head. (Indication #3 -- I half expected the cat to provide some sort of explanation. Because I am a CCL, obviously.)
I moved to stand. She hid beneath a car.
That was when I thought: This is a bad scene for a cat. She's obviously been outside for a bit -- she's approaching the level of dirty that comes right before a long haired cat begins to get dreadlocks -- and she's not able to keep herself clean, based on the level of dirty and stuff in her fur. And she's hanging out in a busy parking lot.
I was not okay with any of this. Steps must be taken.
I went inside and called animal control to help me catch her. Kathy at animal control said she'd come.
I sat at my desk and tried to get something done in the meantime. Then I thought, "That cat looked hungry."
(Indication #4 -- deciding that you can decode the emotion behind a cat's expression). "And scared." Sniffle. "And lonely!" and now I was weeping. (Indication #5 clearly needs no further elaboration.)
I filled a dish full of catfood and went outside. She was gone.
"Kitty?" I said hopefully. She didn't appear. Then, to my horror, I saw a flash of movement at the far end of the parking lot.
She was in the dumpster.
This was bad. It was also potentially fatal. I haven't figured out the dumpster schedule, but if she is in there when they empty it? Bye bye kitty.
"Kitty!" I said, running over. "You need to come out of there!" (Indication #6 -- thinking a cat might do what you say.)
"Mew," said the cat, sadly. As if to say "My life is so sad that now I'm in a DUMPSTER." (And that would be indication #7...)
(Indication #8 is when I considered climbing INTO the dumpster to get the cat out. Fortunately, the cat food I placed on the ground did the trick.)
She ate ravenously. I talked to her while she did it, "See, that's better right? Poor old girl. Poor kitty," I crooned. I also may have cried a little bit more.
Some people came out and started their car. She startled: "MEW!" she said, and went into the woods.
They looked at me curiously. I shrugged.
"I like cats," I said, and pulled the sleeves of my cardigan down over my hands. (Indication #8. CCLs LOVE cardigans. Duh.)
Kathy came. The cat would not be caught. Kathy said she'd come back and try again. "Poor kitty," she said. "Mew!" said the cat, from the space under the shrubs where she had wedged herself. Apparently, Kathy and me (and Dwayne from Building Maintenance, and Heather from 505, who are also Crazy Cat People) were about 4 people too much for her.
So now I'm sitting here, worrying that she'll be killed in the dumpster or hit by a car. And as I write this, I look at my own cat, sound asleep on a pillow (that's there just for her), curled into a ball, head tucked under her front paw as though she simply can't face another work afternoon and I get a bit of a lump in my throat. "You're so lucky," I say out loud, and I don't know who I mean. Maybe I mean her, because she has food and a house and toys and a human who dotes on her. And maybe I mean me, because I get to hang out with her.
Even if it does make me a Crazy Cat Lady.