A Cat’s Paw

I turned the corner and there she was.

She was crouched on the ledge, shrouded partly by the protruding bushes growing at the side of the road.

I hadn’t seen her in a while. I wasn’t sure where she had gone. Perhaps her owners decided that she couldn’t be let out at night, which was when I saw her the most. Nowadays, when I return after sundown, she would not be in her usual spot – the ledge by the garage.

I wondered if it was because of all the news involving cats being run over by cars.

Either way, seeing her was the highlight of my week. She looked as though she didn’t recognize me when I approached her. It didn’t surprise me. She was a cat, after all. Her vision probably didn’t allow her to recognize anything by sight from far away.

I called out to her and it took a while for her to realize what was happening. She seemed to perk up when I got closer and she responded to me, standing up from her crouch to sniff my hand.

When she caught a whiff of my scent, she seemed to remember. She pushed her head into my palm and I complied to her silent request and scratched her behind her ears. She meowed happily and pushed against my touch.

Eventually, she decided to pull her usual stunt. She stepped off the ledge and on to my shoulder. She looked around while she was on there, tail whacking the back of my head. It felt nice that she trusted me so much, considering I was a stranger to her.

She did a two-point turn and pushed her head into my hand again. I scratched her on the head and let her guide herself to where she wanted to be pet, considering that I couldn’t move my arm too much.

I wonder what her name was – or if she was a she. I wasn’t skilled at that but I reckoned she was a she.

She started purring. A couple of people walked by us, cycled by us, and drove by us, but I stood there, inches from being in the middle of the road, to continue to pet the cat. I wondered if people thought I was crazy, cooing and swooning over an animal like that.

Perhaps it was understood. Cats had a certain effect on people. Something about animals, especially cats and dogs, made humans want to approach them and dote on them. I’m not a scientist or anything, but everyone seemed to want to bend down and pet the cat or the dog, depending on which one was around.

It felt nice to be wanted, even if it was just by a cat. She had wanted my presence and even meowed after me when I had to leave. She wanted to follow me. I didn’t want to leave her, but it was nice to know that there was still something out there that still cared.

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