Sunday, January 14, 2007


So the other night, I was working late on the computer, which is just around the corner from the hall closet and the front door. I heard a funny noise in the hallway outside the apartment door. I heard it a few times, and I looked out the peephole, but there was no one there.

I resumed typing.

After a while, I heard a sort of scratching noise, the kind our cats make when they are trying to get into / out of the closet. I peeked around the corner to the closet door, but neither cat was there. Back to typing.

More scratching noises. I got up and opened the closet door, expecting one of the cats to come out, but there was no one in the closet, either.

I realized that the scratching sound was coming from the hallway, just like the earlier noises. And then I heard a "meow." I opened the door just a crack to peek out, and a brown, furry head appeared, pushing the door with such force that for a moment I thought a human hand had appeared to force the door open.

There was a cat in the hallway. A beautiful, cuddly, friendly, purring cat. And we couldn't take it inside, as our two cats have not been getting their feline leukemia vaccinations (on the advice of our vet, who feels they don't need them since they never interact with other animals).

The cat clearly wanted in. Being a little skittish around animals I don't know (even cuddly, friendly ones), I woke up Mr. Plainsfeminist to help me check the cat's collar and figure out what to do. At this point, it was a little past midnight, so there would be no calling the Humane Society or anything like that. Plus, we were pretty sure that the cat lived somewhere in our building and perhaps had snuck out of its apartment when the door was open and no one was looking. To get into our building, you have to pass through the outside door into a foyer and then proceed through a second, locked door. It's possible that someone had taken pity on a poor cat stuck outside in subzero weather and let it into the building, but unlikely.

The collar had a phone number on it, which I called (even at the late hour). If it had been my cat, I would have wanted to know where it is. I probably would still have been awake, worrying about the cat. But also, since we weren't able to take the cat in, I was concerned that someone might let it out of the building (inadvertently or just meanly) before we found the owner. The phone rang and rang, and I left a message with my number; then, we put out some water for the cat and went to bed.

In the morning, there was no sign of the cat. I tried calling the owner again, but the phone just rang and rang. I never received a phone call back, not to say "thanks for looking out for my cat" or even "I did get my cat back - didn't want you to worry." So I guess we can assume that the cat got back to its home. I hope so. I'm still tempted to call the number again and try to find out.

Of course, one time a couple of years ago we found a toddler wandering around in the building and had to knock on doors to find out who she belonged to. Those people have since moved - they were the evil downstairs smoking neighbors - so I can't blame this one on them.

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