Stray Cat

at 12:35 AM

I've always lived with cats. On first dates, men inquire: With how many exactly? I change the subject. Back home alone, tallying up the tabbies sprawled on the furniture I wonder: Am I crossing over from borderline into full-fledged cat lady? Should I bring this up in therapy?

Whether in parks or parking lots, felines in need manage to find me. Their patron, St. Gertrude, must send them my way. She knows how to spur my rescue personality type into action. Recently, I saw a feral cat marooned on a scrubby traffic island along 580. For weeks I snuck across the onramp, past the 'no pedestrians' signs to feed him.

Then I hatched an escape plan. With my eyes peeled for the cops, I lugged a feral cat trap to the spot. Countless stakeouts later, I finally caught him! But the next day, at the SPCA, I was horrified to learn that he was a nursing she!

Back at the island I frantically searched for her kittens, meowing out loud like a crazy cat lady might do. Hearing a feeble response I crawled under a bush, and bingo! Two fur balls staring back at me.

The family joined the rest of my gang: cats with neuroses, incurable diseases, maddening habits. Brought home despite ultimatums from ex-husbands to lavish unconditional affection in exchange for a little TLC. Now that the house is bereft of a significant other, and a connection with my own kind can seem so elusive, a purring cat on my lap inspires me to stay true to my heart and open to love.

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While boyfriends come and go, the kitties stay. I used to worry, is this how I'll end up? Sleeping with a bunch of cats? But as I ponder the meaning of my life I realize that in a world full of indifference and abandonment, rescuing a stray is an act of redemption. My way of setting things right.

At the end of the day, my shrink might agree: I can't save a man, I may never save myself, but I can always save a cat.

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With a Perspective, I'm Sylvia Baroni.

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