At Midsummer’s Eve, a visitor to my apartment complex arrived, an orange tabby cat the neighborhood kids dubbed Tiger.
He was waiting for me when I arrived home from work tonight, laying down against my front porch step. He saw me coming up the walk, stood, met me halfway, then followed me back to the door. He would have gone inside had I let him.
I came back out with food and milk. He sniffed at it, decided it was good, and made himself comfortable.
I went back inside, fixed myself a White Russian, and came back out and sat in my Adirondack chair. Tiger’s interest in food evaporated, and he plopped himself on the concrete near enough to my chair that I could scratch his head and rub his belly.
He purred loudly, and he flexed his front paws and kneaded the air. He was content.
So was I.
He’s no one’s cat. He showed up one day, a slight limp and a hole in one ear (evidence that he’d been chipped?). He clearly once had an owner. He’d been socialized and was very friendly. The excitable neighbors’ children don’t faze him. They’ll run about, and he’ll lay down on the concrete, pay them no mind, and take a nap
He doesn’t come around every day, though he’s been here every day since Friday. Sometimes, a week might pass between sightings.
We’re not allowed pets here, so he’s sort of a communal outdoor cat. I feed him, my neighbors feed him. He’s probably scrounging food elsewhere. He seems to like it here. He’s found people who treat him well.
He stays for a little while, gets petted, gets his fur brushed, and leaves. Sometimes, one of the other cats in the neighborhood will show up, and Tiger will chase them away. Sometimes, he just saunters off, like a cowboy moving on to some range beyond the sunset. It’s his way.
I know he won’t be around forever. He’ll move on. Something will happen to him.
But for now, he has a place to hang out, people to pet him, people to feed him.
I, for one, appreciate having him here.