Have you ever had a neighbor that you appreciate, but, when you see him or her, she/he will take up more time than you have available? Always wanting to linger just a few more minutes discussing the weather or the gardening on the street? Do you find yourself hiding or waiting until you are certain he or she is in their car or has passed along far enough not to see you and stop? I have this type of relationship with a neighborhood cat.
The little girl is a lovely sleek black cat that lives with my neighbors across the alley. The little cat disappears for the winter, but come the nicer weather she is out in force soaking up sun and tormenting the squirrels of the neighborhood. She has the kindest disposition and is always ready to greet passersby.
A couple nights ago, I was coming home from dinner with a friend of mine walking down this little cat’s street. I noticed from afar her shadowed black shape perched on the curb and, as we approached, I acknowledged her as I would with any of my neighbors (at least the one’s I like). She, as is her way, ran over to greet us, rolling this way and that, content to make the acquaintance. The problem always comes when I go to take my leave. She is willing to forget her sentry position on the corner and follow me. I say my goodbyes and try to slip away. The little black cat, on the other hand, is not yet finished with the exchange. She happily trots off after us.
My friend, who cannot stand being followed by the furry friend, keeps turning around to peek at the little cat, I reprimand. “Please don’t even glance at her. She will get sidetracked and stop following us soon enough, but each time you look at her she takes it as a cue that maybe she isn’t keeping up and will quicken her pace to meet up with us.” My friend, a caring sort, begins to feel bad about the situation and gets slightly upset with me for saying hello to the little cat in the first place. I will have none of it. The little cat is like any other neighbor and should be treated as such. With that, lost in our debate, we turn the corner, reach the gate and the little cat is gone.