Obviously, confining cats to one backyard is a chore. I’m not sure if you’ve ever owned a cat, but if you have then it’s pretty clear as soon as they learn to climb the fence that they are going to be spending some time visiting the neighbours you never have. I came home one night at 2am in a taxi and was dropped on the opposite side of the street to my house when I heard a meow; looking over the opposing neighbours fence my cat was crouching, looking extremely guilty. I’ll have none of that “cats-don’t-make-facial-expressions” nonsense. They totally do.
So it’s not a surprise when a kitty you don’t know pops into your yard for social hour. For some months of this year, we had a visitor not only come into our yard (and inside…) but crawling around inside our walls and roof. She even fell through the roof while my housemates were watching a horror movie right in a scary bit. Reow.
She smelled kinda bad. She was pushy. She was very friendly. Her actual owners never answered the phone when we tried to call, then we realised she lived next door. Mystery solved. She was a young cat and very cute. She tried to steal toast once. She liked to come inside but was seldom allowed because we have allergies. That said, if it was pouring rain or we were just feeling like having cat company, the door was slid open. We named her Tiffany Jones and well, she started answering to it.
It was like having a cat without actually having a cat. You got to have a pet that you could play with and cuddle but didn’t have to take to the vet for cat flu injections or buy food for and feed. This is animal bliss! All the cuteness without the responsibility! The only problem with pretending to own a cat you don’t own and who lives next door, even though the cat spends 90% of it’s time in your backyard or in your roof, is that when something happens to the animal you don’t get a say.
One day a housemate noticed that she could hear sobbing for about an hour, looking through the window she realised the neighbour was crying over a brown, furry thing. We don’t condone spying, we only took a peak because well, clear view of the backyard from the window and wouldn’t you look if your neighbour was wailing to make sure they weren’t being held hostage or dying? Sadly, it was definitely the body of something – a Tiffany Jones something. And we weren’t able to find out what had happened or why or if there had been a chance for survival based on financial restrictions, chipped in. Because the owner never knew that her cat was constantly next door chasing bugs or meowing at the backdoor for pats. Maybe we should have gone next door and asked.
Either way, mine by extension is a tricky pet rule. The pet isn’t yours, but you still wish for your own goodbye.