Me: Why does this black cat keep meowing at our door? To cat: Go home. You don’t live here.
My husband: Just don’t feed it. If you feed it, we’ll never get rid of it.
Me: Even if I wanted to feed it, we don’t have any cat food anymore. I gave it all away. This cat’s got to be hungry though. It’s been hanging around here for several days.
My husband: Cats are great hunters. It’ll be fine. We don’t want another cat. The last one we had for what? Forty years?
Me: Just eighteen. I know we don’t want it. But, maybe I should just open a can of tuna. I don’t want it killing the birds. But I don’t want it to starve either.
My husband: Tuna? Are you craaaaazy? You give it tuna and for sure we’ll never get rid of it.
Me: Just to tide it over. It looks like we’re going to have to call around and try to find its owner. It looks like a nice cat, and I’m sure somebody really misses it. Did you notice it has some tan spots on the black. Maybe I’ll make some signs and I don’t know . . how else should I advertise? Facebook? I’ll ask some neighbors too. It’s going to start getting cold soon.
My husband: There are services that come out and pick up stray cats. Let’s have someone come out and get it.
CONVERSATION # 2—TWO WEEKS LATER
Our son (who stopped by with his family): Hey, listen to this. I was just talking to Steve across the street. You know that cat that’s been hanging around here? Well, it was just out front, and Steve spotted it and came over and said she’s his old cat. Her name’s Lyla, and about six months ago he gave it to a friend of his on 39th south. He said his buddy told him the cat didn’t seem happy there and kept disappearing. Apparently she walked all the way back here from 39th.
Me: Seriously? Oh my gosh! Well, that solves the mystery. But why did she come here? Why didn’t she go to Steve’s.
My son: Steve says he got a dog a few months ago. He thinks Lyla came to his house and heard the dog, so she headed to your house.
Me: I knew she had to belong to somebody. I’m so glad I called back that service and told them not to pick her up after all. Her name’s Lyla?
My husband: So now what? Now we’re stuck with her?
Me: I guess we need to talk to Steve and have him talk to this friend.
My son: Steve doesn’t sound like he wants her. He’s got this dog now and as far as the friend, it sounds like he’s fed up with her taking off.
Me: I really don’t want another indoor cat, but I guess she could just keep living outside. I’ve already made her a little bed in the garage. I heard people even heat the little garage beds in the winter. (To my husband:)How would you feel about us letting her just keep living in the back like she’s been doing.
My husband, rolling his eyes: Aaargh. I told you not to feed her. I knew this would happen. Now we’re going to have another stupid cat to worry about.
CONVERSATION #3—THREE MONTHS LATER
Me: ( Cat is sitting on my husband’s lap in our family room. My husband is feeding Lyla leftover milk out of his cereal bowl.) Are you craaaazy? What are you doing? Lyla has plenty of food and water downstairs. It’s bad enough that she sleeps on the bed with us. If you feed her from our dishes, she’ll be thinking she can climb up on the counters to get at our food every time we turn our backs.
My husband: (sheepishly) Lyla likes milk better than water. Don’t you Lyla?