There has got to be some sort of AA program out there for people like me. "Hi, I'm Dena, and I steal cats."
For those of you who have not read part one of the "Dena steals a cop's cat" story, click here. For the rest of you, read on.
We've had a mild winter here in North Carolina, but today the predictions were finally for white stuff to fall from the sky. As per schedule, milk and batteries sold out at stores, schools and church groups were cancelled, and the entire state was put on emergency alert for the expected 3-5 inches.
I look out my window about 8 AM and see snow. The sky is gray and chilly. I sip my coffee and ponder my neighbor's house through my kitchen window. Surely he'd have a 3-month old kitten inside on such a morning. Surely. So there'd be no harm in performing a small test...
I walk to my back porch. "Here kittykittykitty." A flash of fur darts down my neighbors steps and comes racing toward me. No trying to catch kitty this time. He practically leaps into my arms.
That's all it took. "You're staying inside with me where it's warm," I declare. I set his room back up with food, water, litter, toys, and what I've now come to think of as "his" cat bed. Guilt set in (and no small fear I'd be whisked off to jail) so I called my neighbor and told him I had again stolen his cat. Ever the good sport, he said it was fine with him if I kept Snowball inside with me for the day.
We had a ball! We played and rocked and he gave my arm a good tongue bath and once again he fell asleep, purring, cradled next to my heart. Oh my GOD. Like I'm ever going to let this little guy go.
At least that's what I was thinking until Blair called. "How's your day?" he asked.
"Guess what I have in the dining room," I whispered into the phone.
"What?" asked Blair, cautious.
"The kitty!" I shrieked.
The desperation in Blair's voice ran through the line. "Honey. Honey. No," he pleaded. "Look, you're going to have to figure out a way to deal with this. " He paused. "You can't take someone's cat every time there's inclement weather."
I didn't want to hear it.
"It's fine. Our neighbor knows I have him, " I said.
"It's their cat," said Blair. "Not yours. Do you understand that? Hold the phone close to your ear. NOT YOURS."
Now I was on the defensive. "Well I wouldn't have had to bring him in if they had him inside, " I said, bristling. "It's snowing and cold and he's too young to stay out in this."
"It's not that cold," said Blair.
"What do you want me to do? Just put him back outside?" I scoffed.
"Yes," said Blair.
I said I'd think about it. I hung up and went outside. It was sleeting, but it really wasn't terribly cold. I wondered if my neighbor thought I was a complete loon for taking his cat. I wondered if I cared. I wondered how far I could get across the state line with Snowball in the back seat before Blair got home.
Then I went back inside and scooped Snowball up. I covered him in kisses as I walked to the back door. "Time for you to go home," I said and set him down. He sat in front of the screen door for a moment, looking at me as if puzzled. Then he took off down the steps.
I called my neighbor to let him know I'd freed his cat (and also so he would know kitty was outside and he could bring him in his house at any time).
I'm going to continue to struggle with this. I'll admit I probably jumped the gun today, bringing Snowball in when it really wasn't all that cold. But there's also no way I'm letting a kitten sit out in bad weather when I can do something about it.
Like I said, I think I need an AA group. Maybe be assigned a buddy I can call each time I'm tempted to cat swipe. That or I'm going to have to be placed under house arrest with an ankle braclet that alerts animal control each and every time I leave my home.
Life is not easy for an animal lover...