Such an original name for a black cat. But then I wasn’t planning to become her person.
After some seven years of fostering cats, my limited facility was full of older, crankier cats and cats with medical issues. The only phone calls I was getting were from people who wanted to offload another “rescue” on me and I couldn’t listen to the sad stories anymore. So I shut down the website and pulled the listings I had on Petfinder.
Around that time a little black cat started stopping by. She seemed to belong to a house just down the cul-de-sac opposite, but she spent more and more time hanging out on my porch. I resisted offering food, for about twelve minutes, but it was only small snacks and she was quite shy, only approaching as I withdrew.
Come winter “Blackie” was out in all kinds of weather but she still went back down to that house and anyway, the inn was full. So we rigged up a nice warm box and that was where she seemed to sleep. Every night I would take her out a bowl of food and I would give her my little talk “Now Blackie, stay out of the road. Stay away from other animals, especially raccoons and look out for Big Doggie (coyote). Night night, Blackie, I love you”. By now she trusted me and enjoyed being petted.
As spring approached I worried about Blackie having kittens but she really wasn’t my cat and I was still dithering about what to do when she disappeared for a few days. When I didn’t see her I always worried but this time when she came back it was obvious she had been spayed as her ear had been cut. Proof, of course, that she had an owner, albeit perhaps a casual one. Personally, I would never have allowed a cat out in that neighborhood which was close to a busy road, as well as fraught with other dangers. But at least we didn’t need to be on the lookout for kittens.
With the weather warming up I was out in the garden, trying in vain to keep it a bit tidy. And every time I knelt down at a flower bed, I would see a little black shadow rushing up the cul-de-sac. Blackie would curl up right beside me, purring up a storm and gazing into my face. My time outside was more and more about Blackie and less about actual gardening.
Then the seasons changed again, bringing back the cold wet weather and the early snow that tends to happen in that area. Each time I said goodnight to Blackie she would watch me go back indoors and it was clear she wanted to come in. Surely, if she was loved, she wouldn’t be left out in the cold, miserable dark? Finally when the forecast was really bad one night I couldn’t close the door in Blackie’s face anymore. She came in and never showed the least inclination to go back out, even when the weather warmed again.
Did I feel guilty? Yes and no. I never tried to conceal the fact that Blackie was getting food on my porch. Anyone would have had to notice, so if the cul-de-sac people considered themselves the owners, surely they would have come looking for her? I imagine they had been feeding her as a stray and probably got her spayed as part of the TNR initiative.
In any event, Blackie had decided that I was her person. She insisted on sleeping next to me, as close as she could get and that was great with me as my other cats were not great cuddlers. My experience with having multiple cats is that they get used to being part of a crowd and there have never been major issues with a new arrival. Blackie fitted in just fine. Did I say it? I love her very much.