I was driving home from class one night. Waiting to turn on the onramp my head turns to follow a cat that streaks across the road in front of me. “Feral.” I think. But it looks so small and it is headed toward the freeway. An odd behavior for smart ferals that live in the area. I watch as what I now see is a kitten, runs up the embankment toward a busy freeway overpass. Something makes me sit there in the turn lane, just watching. No one pulls in behind me so I feel free to sit and wait and watch. I am tired, I am hungry, I want to be home. But something makes me stay to sit and watch.
I can feel myself shake my head as something makes me turn onto the onramp and not continue on, but pull over as far as possible on the left shoulder. I hit my hazards. Hunkered down in the ice plant, I hit the button and my window rolls down, I watch the kitten, the kitten watches me. Something makes me get out of my car.
I look up the steep embankment at him. It is cold. I look around thinking, “I have nothing to put a cat in, I don’t even have a blanket. I have no idea what I am doing.” I decide to try and approach him, if he runs toward the freeway I’ll back off and consider it unwise to push him further toward what would most likely be his demise. As I walk up the iceplant the kitten doesn’t move. He blinks at me.
I am one foot away. I can touch him if I reached out. Do I take off my hoody to grab and wrap him up? “nooo,” I think as I zip it up further, “it’s too cold.” Deciding instead to pull the wrist cuffs down over my hand, minimal protection against claws, at best. I reach out toward him. “cat scratch fever, cat scratch fever…Cat Scratch Fever!” my dad’s voice reverberates in my head. I reach out once…twice…three times. He turns and looks at my hand but doesn’t move. Now the sick feeling Im going to grab him and he will be a bloody mess, badly injured. I can only see his head.
I almost laugh at the absurd mess I find myself in. Something tells me, “now or never, just do it Kate!” With this rallying cry I grab him and pull him to my chest. He grabs on and I feel his body vibrate with his purrs. I look down the embankment I now have to make my way down. This time with no hands to hold the fence as both are clasping a cat to me. I’ll be damned if I let him go. Tense, I carefully pick my way with each step. Something gets me down the slippery steep ice plant with out incident.
Car door open, toss the cat in, grab keys, start car, roll up window before cat escapes! I turn to look at him perched expectantly on my center console watching my hurried motions. He is bones. Skin and bones and purrs.
The vet insists on a name for him… I don’t want to name him I persist… Please don’t make me name him. I can’t keep him. I have a cat. I have a very small house. Don’t make me name him…Well gosh don’t call him kitty, that’s dumb. I don’t want to call him kitty. Stop calling him kitty.
Something tells me his name is Simon.
By day three I couldn’t stop myself from forming the word “Simon” every time I saw him. It was eerie. Two weeks sequestered in my bathroom…my only bathroom. I had a 4 pound, hungry and messy roommate. Loud roommate. Who lived in my bathroom.
Simon talks. To everything and everyone. He has an imaginary friend.
When he plays with crumpled up paper he growls and chirps and looks around and plays… with somebody. Not me. Not my other cat. Not my dog. He is alone. It is the craziest thing to watch. The tiny noises he makes scare the bejesus outta my big scary dog.
Simon’s eyes tear constantly. I think he cries. Yet he trusts. I can hold him any which way and he just flops in my arms. I sit and hope he is not someone’s beloved pet… Something tells me it was meant to be.
And then there were three.