They say, “You can’t choose the cat, the cat chooses you.” This is also true in England, where the concept of a ‘street cat’ does not exist, and where, with rare exceptions, all cats are ‘officially owned’. What if a pushy cat knocks on your door? Anisa Subedar seeks the answer to this question.
It all started 18 months ago, on a warm summer evening, when a pair of wide-open eyes appeared on the kitchen door, accompanied by demanding meows.
When I approached, he did not back down. He even seemed quite pleased when I shot him a squeaky, ridiculous baby monologue like “Oh my God, a little spoon-faced boy” or something.
And when I scratched the back of his soft, gray ears, not to mention running away, he rolled onto his back and opened his soft white belly to me and started moaning in pleasure.
On such a sweet response to my love, I opened a can of tuna and offered it. He swallowed it without licking it.
I haven’t given it much thought. It was a sweet encounter and a pleasant summer memory.
The cat returned a few days later. We were like two friends who missed each other. Scratches, rubbing of the nose, openings of the navel. Again, a fast food treat.
After a while, the visits became more frequent. He came every day now. In fact, I was waiting for him to come. He came slowly into the house, stretched out on the sofa, spent the evenings with me. I sat in front of the TV with him and relieved the stress of the day. He didn’t mind if I let him out when I went to bed.
A month or two later, the cat now had a special cat pillow, food and a bowl of water. When I noticed the hair on my body when I went to work, I thought I would see it again in the evening, and I was thrilled.
I also started sharing photos of the cat on social media. My colleagues ask: “How is your cat?” they asked. But every time I uploaded a new photo of the cat, a friend of mine constantly warned that “THIS IS NOT YOUR CAT”.
When I did a quick search on the internet, I noticed for the first time that there were a lot of people like me, with the hashtag #NotmyCat (#NotMyCat). Those who appreciate all the blessings of a cat but do not bear the responsibility. Social media was full of photos of happy and bright getaways of people and cats that didn’t belong together.
“Cats live by their own rules”
“Cats live by their own rules,” says feline behavior expert Celia Haddon.
“A common characteristic of cats is that they are incredibly persistent. An animal that can wait for hours outside a rat hole can also wait for hours at your doorstep if it wants to settle in your home,” he continues.
Much later, I found a book on the subject.
The children’s book “Six Dinner Sid”, published in 1990, tells the story of a cat named Sid, who lives at number 1 Aristotle Street. Sid is the number one cat, but every other household on the street thinks he’s their cat. They all eat separately and have fun.
Unlike the real cats Celia Haddon portrays, Sid is well aware of what she is doing, but when she falls ill one day and the neighbors realize they are all playing her, her deception is exposed.
The book’s author, Inga Moore, explained that she was inspired by a black cat named Ziggy, whom she knew when she lived in north London.
“I heard someone call him by a name similar to Sid. Number 4 where I live had a cat door, he could easily walk through the house from there. His real house was number 6, I think Sid in the book is very similar to his real life,” she says.
“A lot of cats have come and gone to my house over the years, and I’ve always loved that. I think they have the ability to develop a different kind of relationship with people that they can’t relate to with other people. “other cats. They’ve developed ways to get what they want from us by being persistent and cute. They know how to endear themselves and what makes them so special.” these characteristics,” he continues.
“The Role of Big Eyes”
Joanna Lodge, of the UK’s largest cat protection foundation, Cat’s Protection, draws attention to scientists’ thesis that cats’ large, baby-like eyes may play a role in winning people’s hearts.
That really explains a lot. How else to explain our willingness to use childish language when talking to a cat, to feed and protect it?
This must be why my maternal instincts arose in my relationship with the cat that came to my house. But as the months passed after we first met, I started to feel more and more guilty. I started checking online for listings of missing cats in the neighborhood, but couldn’t find anything.
But to be honest, I wasn’t complaining.
Until our relationship suddenly ended. The cat suddenly disappeared.
Days and nights I called him in the sad emptiness of our garden. I felt helpless and abandoned and again immersed in searching the internet.
I thought the only reason she didn’t come was because she was overwhelmed. He had to die and stay somewhere. But there was no news. I stared at the cat’s pillow, the food bowl, the hair on my clothes with pain.
Then, in the spring, during the first weeks of the coronavirus shutdown, I had the opportunity to talk to my neighbor over the garden fence.
I mentioned the cat deliberately but as if I didn’t care. My neighbor said the owners of the cat had moved. They had owners! I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but the relief I felt quickly turned into a feeling of betrayal.
How could they snatch the cat of my life from me? I went outside and looked at the house that was once the cat’s real house. It was empty.
‘Rejoice, but do not feed!’
I decided to fight. The cat that gave me great happiness couldn’t be as happy as before without me in a new place somewhere far away. I sent an email letter to the owners of the cat through the real estate agent who takes care of the house, explaining our relationship with the cat and how much time we have been spending together. I told the cat that I was ready to become his new owner if he was considering finding a new home if he wasn’t happy in his new location.
I felt like we were going together and our relationship had abruptly ended without our consent.
There was a response from the cat owner.
His name was David. He said he had two cats. One is a brown tabby named Henry, and the other is Eddie, a silver tabby who spends most of his days “over there”.
They had moved 120 miles to Lincolnshire, and the cats were so happy in the new home, which was semi-rural for London, that they never left them. Naturally, they didn’t want to be separated from their cats at all.
David advised me to have a cat of my own.
“Ours are British Shorthair cats. I’m sure you can find cute little kittens like them,” he said.
I couldn’t even think of the idea of another cat before. Eddie had chosen me. It was different.
I wrote to David again, admitting that I was responsible for Eddie’s disappearance for days at his London home. I was in regret.
David explained that every time Eddie disappeared, they were very concerned, fearing that he had been robbed or had been locked in a place he entered by mistake.
“We knew that Eddie disappeared sometimes for more than 24 hours. He disappeared especially when we were not at home and our friends came to feed the cats. But each time we were afraid, not knowing if we would see him again one day. day.” . So much so that we stopped going on vacation,” he says.
I completely understood the anguish caused by the disappearance of the cat. Out of guilt, I deleted all my social media posts about him.
I asked David if he would agree to my contacting them.
He said they understood me and were sorry to feel that I had lost an important cat that came into my life. On the other hand, they were relieved to learn what they had done when their cat disappeared.
But he also told me that petting a cat that comes into your yard is different from feeding it, and that I shouldn’t.
“If we could meet, we would agree, and when we were going somewhere, you could come and feed him at our house. But you shouldn’t encourage a cat to stay away from home. It’s a very worrying thing for owners.” he said.
Of course, although there are very few of them, there are also ownerless cats in England. “They don’t approach people very close to them, they become shy. If a cat approaches people without hesitation, it means that it is at least a house cat for a while, or that it l is still,” says Joanna Lodge of the Cat Welfare Foundation. .
Lodge also has a way to check if a cat that comes to the door is the owner: “Am I your cat?” he says it could be to wear a written collar so that if he has an owner he knows about this situation.
A common practice is to microchip cats at the veterinarian. This allows lost or seemingly lost cats to find their owners. Cat owners are strongly advised to do so. A cat found to be the owner of the chip must also be returned to its owner.
Anyway, as the winter months rolled in and the days started to get shorter this year, David’s recommendations started to come back to me with more force. In those difficult days of uncertainty and long nights, I realized how much I needed the support of a creature that sat on my lap and growled.
A few weeks ago, I went to adopt a three month old puppy. It’s mouse brown and her name is Horace.
I have no intention of sharing Horace with anyone, but I also know it can’t be entirely my decision. That’s why if a pudding cat knocks on your door when you hear Horace’s name, you know what to do.