He had left my flower bed just before dinnertime, returning later, when I was out on the porch after eating my evening meal; I brought him in, he declined the food I put out for him, and settled into my bed for a cozy, comfortable evening. I was certain by then that he was much loved by his people.
Saturday, February 11, 2012 — It’s snowing. When I got up this morning, the dogwood branches outside my window looked like chocolate candy drizzled with sugar icing. The roofs and lawns were coated white. A good day to snuggle in front of the fireplace with that certain someone. Now midmorning little snowflakes continue to fall, small pearls from heaven mixed with tears of joy; the offering has become a wintry mix. (Sounds like a salad, doesn’t it? “I’ll have the wintry mix with raisins, sunflower seeds, rigmarole, romalade dressing, and an il postino to drink.”)
Three days ago, a handsome fellow came schmoozing – a yellow tabby tomcat. He wears smartly striped socks, has dark chocolate marble swirls on his back, butterscotch and chocolate whiskers and butterscotch eyes. I was sitting on the front porch and out of nowhere he came running up the steps to me – “Mmm-hello,” he said. He rubbed against my legs, jumped up onto the bench, rubbed the chocolate M on his forehead against my arm and, finally, climbed into my lap. Tom that he is, he peeped in the window, seeking Emma, I suppose, or more likely, chicken. He wears an attractive collar. Someone loves him. He’s conversational and knows English – when I say house, he looks at the house, and other words I say catch his attention. So, he’s got people. But, I’ve canvassed the neighborhood and no one seems to know where they live.
The night before last, I think he was out all night, because he was on my porch before I went to bed and lying on my next-door neighbor’s porch when I got up the next morning, Friday, the 10th. A mean-looking black cat, back arched, tail raised in a question mark, had him pinned against the wall, ears back. “Stop that. Go away,” I called to the black cat, as I stepped outside to pull my mail from the box by my door. The black cat looked at me and said, “I hear you, but no dice. I’ve got this guy right where I want him.” I went inside and put on my shoes and headed next door. The black cat saw me coming and left. The schmoozer came running to me. “Oh, thank you, thank you,” he said.
I sent Linda, my driver, to the pet store to buy cat supplies while he was curled up in the tulips and daffodils in the flower bed in front of my porch — gearing up for his night on the town, I guessed. When he finished napping, around dinnertime, he disappeared and then came back. I brought him inside and poured dry food into the little blue cat dish Linda had picked out for him. “No thanks, I’ve eaten,” he seemed to say, “But I’ll have a drink of water.” He explored the house, upstairs and down, up and down the front and back staircases, rolled around on the living room rug where Jetta, our teacup poodle, used to spend her time, and then was ready to go out.
OK, that’s it, I thought. I guess he’s going home, back to his loved ones for the night. I told him that I’d come out and look for him before I went to bed and if he was here I bring him in. I looked later. I didn’t see him.
He pulled a typical cat trick, I decided. All cats come with a bag of tricks, given to them by their mothers when they are kittens. He just wanted to come in the house, inspect and see if I had anything particularly enticing to eat. “Cats work really hard to get you to feed them,” a friend who has two cats told me.
Later the next day, today, the 11th, the schmoozer came around after the snow melted. He napped in my flower bed awhile, then he disappeared, leaving a circular indentation between the sprouting tulips and budding daffodils.
Sunday, February 12 — I ate dinner last night, looked out on the porch after dinner, didn’t see him, then went to bed early. I woke up around 1:30 in the morning. It was snowing. The ground was frozen in white that looked like thin cake icing. The temperature was 24 degrees Fahrenheit; the wind blowing 30 miles an hour. I stepped out onto the porch. He came running up to me. I brought him in.
Oh, no, I thought. I’m going to have a cat sleeping on my pillow and I’m allergic to cats. Besides, it was not exactly the face on the pillow next to me that I had envisioned waking to in the morning. Nonetheless, I fed him – he ate this time and drank some water; I set up his blue litter box for him, and then got back into bed. He joined me. My feet were cold, and that’s where he slept all night – on top of the blankets, at my feet, keeping them warm.
He doesn’t seem interested in Emma; he just lets her be. I suppose he has a sense about her condition; besides, she’s not up, running around feeding him and pouring litter into his box from a 25-ton bag.
As soon as I got out of the shower this morning, he jumped into the tub and lapped up the little puddles of water. Apparently, this is far more interesting to a cat than drinking water out of an actual bowl placed next to his blue cat food dish in the kitchen. He hasn’t wanted to go out today. Who can blame him? It’s too cold.
“Amber Persuasion,” my friend R calls him.
My father’s birthday is February 11. Before he died in 2004, he told my stepmom, who loves dogs, that she’d probably replace him with a dog and name it Howard, my father’s name.
Who knows if he’ll stay, my furry Valentine. If he does, I shall decide what to name him. “Once you give him attention and bring him in, you’ll have a friend for life,” my friend, Jean, a cat person, tells me.