The Neighborhood Watchman (Feline Friday Series)
(editor's note: Sorry we've been absent lately! Real life and all... we are back though!)
I’ve lived in my apartment for 7 years now, in the city proper, but on a residential street. There are the usual animals lingering around, such as squirrels, robins, rats and the occasional opossum. Crazy as it sounds, I’ve even seen a coyote run down my street! Surprisingly, though, a random cat was a pretty rare sight.
Then one day, about 3 years ago, a very friendly blonde guy showed his face on my front porch. Immediately, he politely demanded all of the pets while alternating between rolling around on the ground and rubbing up again my legs. It was pretty late at night and I didn’t want to keep standing out there, as I was rather tired and wanted to get to bed, but I felt bad about leaving this new dude outside all alone. He looked clean, healthy and well-fed, so I assumed he must have had a home somewhere and I was right. He was wearing a collar with a phone number and his name, which I learned then was Wally. I didn’t call the number, though. I felt he had everything sorted out and knew what he was doing. I chalked him up to just being someone’s indoor/outdoor cat.
To this day, I still have no idea where Wally lives. I know it’s somewhere on my block and I was told by a neighbor passing by who was familiar with Wally that he apparently never leaves the block. So, I continued to enjoy his presence whenever he felt the urge to come over and say hi. Initially, it was only late night, but then he began making appearances during the day, too. I’d sometimes keep a bag of treats on hand to give him, which, of course, was welcomed. I’d like to think, though, of this not as “bribery” so to speak, because he was perfectly happy to come hang out even when I had nothing but my attention to offer. My favorite is when I’ll be arriving home and once I’ve parked the car and gotten out, Wally will appear as if to greet me, then “escort” me to my building by walking a little bit in front of me and leading me all the way to my front porch.
He has two friends that he’ll pal around with on occasion, too. They live/“live” across the street, one orange and one black one. They aren’t as outgoing as Wally, but will once in awhile also pop over to say hi. Wally is clearly the leader of the gang, though, and likes to live life on his own terms. It’s always such a bittersweet feeling to see Wally (or the other two) because while I am always happy to see him, I worry that something bad will happen to him since he is outside so often. I am paranoid about Betty and Marge being outside for a plethora of reasons, so I just never let them outside.
Last year, I began to have some theories on where he lived and I had a hunch that it was at a particular house across the street and a few doors down. There were two small girls who lived there whom I’d see always playing with him on their front porch and even saw them let him inside a few times (he’d tried to come into my place many times, as well). He didn’t have a collar anymore, so I didn’t have a number to call to even try solving this mystery. I was a little concerned about the lack of collar and wondered if I was wrong about where he lived and maybe he belonged to someone who had moved out of the area and didn’t take him with for whatever reason. Eventually, through various observations, I ultimately when back to my previous thought that he did live in the house across and down the street with the two girls.
Winter arrived, which, true to years prior, I most likely wouldn’t see him roaming around again until spring- can’t say I blame him, I don’t want to be outside during winter, either. However, towards the end of winter, my heart sank as I noticed Wally’s house had a for sale sign in front of it and then even more so when a mere few weeks later, I saw the moving truck out front. I hadn’t seen Wally since before winter hit and now I was never going to see him ever again! Needless to say, I was pretty sad about it, but hey, what can ya do?
However, yesterday afternoon upon arriving home, I was met with a very pleasant surprise. I had just parked and was walking towards home and having a laugh at a dog that was being walked and totally freaking out over something near a bush. The dog moved on and so did I, but as I got closer to this spot, I saw him. It was Wally! He came right over to me, meowing and taking turns between rolling around on the sidewalk and rubbing up on my legs.
Imagine my delight! I was also happy to see that he once again was wearing a collar with his name and a contact number. I apparently had been wrong all along about where I thought he lived, or I was right but he got reclaimed by someone else. He is so outgoing and trusting that it wouldn’t be difficult at all for someone else to reclaim him (and, because I worry about everything, this character trait of his, this willingness to approach anyone and even be willing to go into their home is of slight concern, too). Anyway, I may never know the mystery of Wally’s story, but I am sure grateful that he is still around and I feel much safer knowing that he still has the neighborhood under his watchful eye.
**Special shout-out to Betty whose 13th annual “Gotcha Day” passed on June 4th!