two thousand miles and twenty feet

I was reminded over the weekend that I never wrote about the happy ending for my fat orange cat! That would be the one that travelled to Seattle and back, the one that was supposed to go live with Big Scary Mike. But despite having so much in common with Mike, the cat came back.

“Buddy” (formerly Evil) immediately settled back in as Paul’s roomate. Paul quipped that he was like “that guy who crashes on your couch because he’s got nowhere else to go.” And the two of them got along fine, because Paul’s wonderful with pets. In fact, Paul figured out how to make the cat stop whining for food at 5am: he would give the cat his dinner, a half-can of Trader Joe’s cat food, minus a couple forkfuls. And then he would give Buddy the last bit as a bedtime snack. And Buddy thought he had tricked his human into giving him a whole other meal, and shut up until his handful of breakfast kibble.

But we brought Buddy back for a few days because my roomate Andrew loves him. He was really Andrew’s cat at heart. And when our third roomate left town for a few weeks, we figured we could smuggle him in, and just be sure to clean well when he left. This worked fine, and the cat was extremely happy back in his old home for two weeks. And then, one Tuesday night, just before the Canter’s geek dinner, I decided it was time for him to go back to Pasadena.

So there I was, loading cat things into my car – which I illegally parked in the red zone outside my house for the purpose – when my downstairs neighbor came out to smoke. He asked what I was doing, and I explained – and then had to explain the whole story, about how I was the sole member of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Cat. I told him about how the cat had come to us (temporarily after his previous owner left, until he could go live with Mike), how he came back (because he kept worrying Mike’s other cat) and how he had no place to go (no amount of posters or emails was working, and I hadn’t had time or money to enroll him in an adoption program).

My neighbor listened to all this, and then said, “well, I’ve been thinking about getting a cat.”

I immediately held out my twenty-two pound foster child. “Here.” I said.

“Really?”

“Yes. If you want him, he’s yours. He comes with everything he needs. I’ve got it right here.” And I did – his papers, his litterbox, his food and water dishes. Everything we’d kept when we moved the cat the first time. “Take him now, and I’ll pick you up another month’s worth of litter and kibble tomorrow.”

And my neighbor, dazed with the impulse decision, took the cat. I emphasized to him our proximity, and told him that if he changed his mind, or wanted a cat sitter, we would be happy to take him back, or help out in any way. And then I just hoped: hoped that he would keep the cat, hoped that he would love the cat, hoped that the cat did not escape and get smushed into a fuzzy grease stain on the high-traffic street outside.

But sure enough, the cat is still there. I ran into my neighbor – and the cat – the other day, when Buddy escaped, and his new human had to come retrieve him from outside. And my neighbor told me they’d bonded, that the cat sleeps on him at night, and sits on his shoulder when he watches TV. And as we approach their one-month mark together, I think that my fuzzy orphan has found himself a home. And even when he does escape, he just comes up the steps to his old home, instead of wandering out into the street (after two friends lost their cats to traffic inside of a week last year, I’m just a BIT paranoid)

So there’s the happy ending. Buddy flew to Seattle and back – and ended up downstairs. Life is awesomely hilarious sometimes, and I’m extremely happy with the end result. Now we can visit our former ward, yet not have to live with him. I can breathe again (literally – I have allergies). Happy endings rule.

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