IT all started with a knock and a slight scratching at my door at 4 a.m. My heart leaped, because who would be knocking at my door at that hour. Picking up a broom, I slowly opened the door and released a pent up breath when I saw my housemate’s black and white cat looking at me hungrily and soulfully, not making a sound and not making any move to come in but just looked at me with a thousand silent messages.
Floored, I closed the door again and went to the kitchen. Ohgod, this isn’t happening, I told myself over and over as I scooped some leftover rice and a slice of fish and gave it to the cat outside. I was planning to have the leftover food for breakfast so I won’t have to cook anymore but I just could not afford not to give him something after starving the whole day and night.
My housemate left for Guam the day before and knowing how ‘unclose’ I am to cats, he didn’t ask that I adopt his but just to feed it from time to time so it will not run away. I did not say yes, but I did not say no either. I just shrugged my shoulders, and forgot about that cat for the whole day, until he knocked/scratched.
I already said yes to adopt three aquariums of guppy fish but I love those fish, so no problem in that department.
For cat lovers, you may find it hard to understand but I grew up with so many cats, more cats that could last me in a lifetime so I really had no interest in petting cats. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate cats, but I don’t want to have them near either. I can look at them from a distance, as long as they don’t rub my legs.
This cat just knew how to deal with me—he never makes any noise, just looks at me when he thought I wasn’t looking and keeps a fair distance. When I look at him, he looks away like he doesn’t care.
So there I was, at the dog/cat food section of Joeten Superstore in Garapan after work, wandering along the shelves of sacks of cat food and supplies and having no idea what to get. I never thought I’d live to see this day—when I’d be shopping for cat food.
It was the most uncomfortable moment of my life when I saw somebody I know and who knows I’m not friends with cats heading toward the row I was in. Picking up the nearest sack I hurried to the other row to avoid him. I felt like I was buying something illegal and I cast furtive glances around me as I waited for a cashier’s lane to get vacant before I check it out.
Casting a furtive glance at the sack in my hand, I saw the picture of a cat and the words Multiple Cat Scoopable and some more words like Odor Eliminating carbon. Stopping in my tracks, I retraced my steps because I just had a feeling I was not holding cat food. The sacks on the rows advertising several brands, and I saw something like Meow Mix with the huge picture of a cat’s face looking at me from the sack cover. Surely it was cat food this time. I picked up the smaller sack, not even sure if the cat will eat it. If they have favorite brands, that I have no idea but I gambled $8.99 on this sack.
I know I should have done some research before going to that cat supplies section but I was already there feeling so lost.
I even forgot to ask my housemate what the cat’s name is, so for the meantime I’ll call him Thomas, Jerry’s partner and antagonizer in my favorite cartoon Tom & Jerry, and in honor of someone, a great cat lover who’s having a grand time watching the unexpected vision of me stuck with a cat unfold.
At the checkout counter, I decided to reward myself and grabbed a giant Godiva dark chocolate almond bar, 72 percent cacao.
The cat was nowhere in sight when I arrived, but I know that a few hours from now, at 4 a.m., I’m sure he will knock again. That’s his regular mealtime, when his master usually comes home from work.
This time, at least I am armed.