The stray cat.
The stray cat I took to Multnomah County Animal Shelter on Friday.
The shelter is 30 miles away. It's not even in Multnomah County. And there's a river in between us and the shelter. Plus two freeways.
The cat did not look any worse for wear.
I grew up reading my parents' Readers Digest. So immediately I knew: I could parlay this into one of those "Amazing Animal" stories about pets who find their owners even after they move out of state! It was a miracle! A miracle that might earn me $2 per word!
I picked her up and called the shelter. While I waited on hold, I opened a can of tuna. Albacore tuna. Because I had given all the cat food we bought to the shelter. .
Me: I dropped off a cat there on Friday and now it's at my house again.
Shelter: What's your name? (Tap, tap, tap) No, the cat is still here.
Me: What? I'm holding her right now.
Shelter (somewhat patronizingly): Maybe it's a different cat that just looks like the cat we have.
Me (could the cat have a twin? Is there a whole litter of identical cats out there and I'll have to bring them one at a time to the shelter?): I grew up with cats and I'm pretty sure it's the same cat.
Shelter: Let me go back to the cattery. (long pause while I wonder if I am going crazy): Oh. It looks like the owner just picked it up.
Me: Owner? Then why is she so scrawny?
Shelter: Our records show that she is old, has broken teeth, and a heart murmur. Sometimes when a cat is old, it loses weight.
Me: But she's got fleas. And no collar.
The shelter also gave me the address for the owner, which is about a block away. Ever since the cat has been back, she's been living in my driveway again.
Okay, now if you loved your cat, would you:
- let her live outdoors?
- where the street is busy?
- and there are signs up warning about a mama coyote and her pup stalking cats in the area?
- without a collar or chip?
I guess I'll stop feeding her and I won't put back out the bed we made. She hasn't gotten the message though. She still thinks she belongs here.
I would let her live here, but there's the little matter of Spouse's inability to breath.