I’m not a massive cat lover. Truth be told, they scare me a little. I saw an old movie once where the grandkids of an old lady tried to off her to get the house and her clowder of cats took their revenge. When I see a cat looking at me, I wonder what’s going on in their head. With Mosi, I know.
I call him Mosi because he reminds me of a racoon. We’ve a problematic relationship. He’s not mine, but then I doubt anyone can really own a cat.
He started dropping by a year or so ago. At first, it was maybe once a week, then it was twice or three times. Eventually he began to make a daily appearance.
He has staked his claim. The other village cats who had made the back terrace part of their daily rounds avoid us now. It’s his space. His place. His food.
I started feeding him scraps when we had scraps. Chicken bones and the like. Then when he started coming around more often, I bought some cat food. And now I’m still buying cat food. And UHT milk. He prefers that to fresh milk. And this for a cat who won’t as much as say hello. There’s no rubbing against my legs or heading my hand as I put the food in his bowl.
He used to run off the terrace when I appeared. Now he hovers just out of reach.
We’ve talked about this. About our one-sided relationship. All he does is take, take, take. There’s no give at all.
He upped his game.
We have mosquito blinds on the back door that trail to the floor kept in place with weights. He’s taken to banging them against the glass to get my attention. I can come into the kitchen, see him, make eye contact, and then go about my business without feeding him. I can do that once. Or twice. But on the third trip, he starts banging on the door as if to say, enough’s enough.
I got pissy with him last week. I’d fed him earlier in the morning and he’d hissed at me. That got my back up. So later in the afternoon, I ignored the banging. I ignored the look. I didn’t ignore him. I wanted him to know that I’d seen him but that I wasn’t jumping this time.
The next time I was in the kitchen, I noticed that he pushed his dishes right up against the back door and was looking at me as if to say, this is as much as I’ll do. This is my compromise. This is me, meeting you half-way. Look at how much effort I’m saving you!
Of course, I fed him. I can’t not feed him. But while I was giving him yet another earful about how one-sided our relationship was, it dawned on me that he was actually giving me something. He was giving me entertainment, for which I’m grateful. He makes me smile. He gives me hope, too. Hope that one day, he might just come round and purr. Just once.
Most likely though, if he did, I’d think he was dying.
Quite right, cats don’t have owners, they have servants. But if you feed Mosi and say a kind word, one day without warning he will show cat-style affection.