There was a cat in front of my apartment.
My apartment at the time was old married housing, just off campus and built like a cheap motel that charged by the hour. It was a two story bunker with doors that opened onto balconies. My apartment was on the second floor, first room by the rickety metal stairs that had probably claimed more than one student on an icy winter’s day.
And there was a grey cat sitting in front of my door.
I stepped in front of my door, keys in hand, and the cat looked up at me with its green, feline eyes. Judging me.
Quoth the cat, “Meow.”
“Scoot, cat,” I said, “I have drinking and homework to do.”
I sighed and looked at the cat. No obvious wounds, no collar, just gray fur and big green eyes.
“Look, I’m not letting you inside,” I stated, “I don’t have the permit for cats, I don’t even like cats, and my Dad’s allergic, which is actually a plus on your part, but it wouldn’t work between us. So move it.”
Quoth the cat, “Meow.”
I sighed and unlocked my door. Using my left foot I gently nudged the cat to the side and sidled into my apartment. The cat didn’t seem to mind my foothandling, and when I checked my front window –which took up most of my front wall- it was still there.
I ignored the cat, kicked off my shoes, went past my kitchen and living room to my bed, and started tossing books from my backpack onto my bed. I had papers to start and an internet to tend to. It was early evening, the sun was setting, and I had already eaten dinner.
“…I wonder if it’s hungry….”
Stupid big green eyes. That’s what got me into anime.
I shuffled into my kitchen and looked over my food supply. I had a lot of eggs, bread, noodles, beer, and peanut butter. I also had some aluminum foil.
I looked outside to confirm that the cat was still out there. It was.
Whether from compassion or boredom, I used the foil to make a couple bowls. I forked some tuna into one bowl and a fourth of a bottle of beer into the other. I carefully took both bowls outside, placing them next to my door in front of the cat. The sun had fully set, and the bulb on the balcony’s ceiling buzzed dully as I stood up to watch the cat’s next move.
The cat looked down at the two bowls, then up at me. I was holding the remainder of the beer in my left hand.
“What did you expect, cat food?” I asked, “I’m a graduate student living in a crappy apartment on the edge of campus. You should be grateful I’m willing to share. Would some gratitude kill you, Furball?”
Some people might question their sanity at having a conversation with a stray cat. I had given up questioning my sanity a long time ago. Once you accept you’re Looney Tunes, it makes things a lot easier.
The cat cautiously plopped in front of the tuna, sniffed it, and looked up at me again.
“I don’t have cat food and I’m not going to buy you any,” I snapped, “So eat it and be grateful.”
The cat glared at me, but when I didn’t move it mewled and started eating the tuna. It ate it quickly, like it hadn’t eaten in a while. When it was done with the tuna it sniffed the beer, sneezed, and started drinking.
I don’t like seeing people drink alone, so I sat down and sipped my beer. While we drank I heard a low rumbling noise. After a while I realized the cat was purring.
“You’re welcome Furball,” I said.
The cat looked up at me and tilted its head, “Meow?”
I nodded and refilled the cat’s beer bowl, “You know, you should have some water, too. Hang on.”
I hefted myself up with a grunt, grabbed the empty food bowl, and went into my apartment to fill it with water. Along the way I finished my beer. When I came back out the cat’s beer bowl was empty, and the gray furball was lying by my door, its bright green eyes staring at nothing.
“Great, I got a cat drunk,” I set the water bowl down by the cat, “Drink some water so you don’t get a hangover, at least.”
The cat woozily got on its feet and drunkenly ambled over to the water. It lapped at it for a little while, purring groggily the entire time. When it was done it wandered over to me and wrapped itself around my leg.
I crouched down and started petting the cat, because that’s what you do when a cat has deigned to allow you to touch it. The furball started purring and rubbing against my leg.
I smiled down at the cat and sighed, “Crap.”