Friday, September 23, 2016

The Persistence and Perseverance of Freddie

I’ve never been a cat person. I’ve always had dogs, snakes or birds as pets. I was never interested in cats nor did I even like cats. Truth be told, there was only one cat I ever cared for. His name was Tripps, he belonged to a pal of mine named Dominick. A guy I met while taking some college math courses. He was having trouble so I tutored him. Through that tutoring process, he and I became friends. When he had to go away for a while, I watched his cat.
             Tripps was not your ordinary cat. He was a rescue cat. Apparently he’d been abused and something in his little brain got messed up and he couldn’t walk straight, and had no depth perception whatsoever. He was always banging his head into walls, and if he tried to jump off a piece of furniture, he’d either land on his head or his back. At first it was funny, but then it just became sad. So, I helped take care of the little bugger. He was cool. He was loving and he never tried to be mean to anyone or anything. He was also happy to see you when you came home. Like a puppy. So, we bonded.
            And that was the last cat I had any relationship with.
            Until Freddie.
            It was a little more than a year ago when my life was threatened and I had to take a restraining order out on a person. It was a scary time for me and my family. When the incident happened I was home alone and my family was at a church function.
            After the hostile person left, I called over a pal of mine to wait with me on my porch. He brought his own firearms and I had mine as we sat on my porch talking about what had happened and try to figure out if this person was actually crazy enough to come back.
            That’s when Freddie showed up.
            He’s a black cat with little white marks on his chest and stomach. I don’t know why I call the cat a he, or why I even started to call him Freddie. For all I know Freddie could be a girl. But, I being a male, I see most androgynous creatures as male. And before you go and get all “Toxic Masculinity” on me, ask yourself whether or not you do the same thing.
            Freddie hung out all night, even after my buddy left and my family was home. He sat on my porch, primarily on the welcome mat and when I woke up in the morning, came downstairs and opened my front door. He looked up at me as if to say “Don’t worry man, I got this.”
            It was pretty cool.
            Over the course of the next few months Freddie would show up randomly. As if he were checking on my health, my being or maybe he was just looking for some treats. I never had any. I should also mention, when I first met him, he didn’t have a collar on, then one day, he did. So I assumed he belonged to someone in the neighborhood.
            Then one day, he didn’t have a collar.
            It was quite startling that night. It’s dark on my porch at night. I don’t like to have the light on, it attracts too many bugs. Normally, I’d hear Freddie approach because his collar had a bell on it.
            As I sat there, in my black beach chair, legs stretched out and my face alight with the glow of the screen, something bumped against my legs and scared the living hell out of me. I kicked out my legs at the offending touch and heard the cry of the cats painful wail. I turned my flashlight app on my phone on and saw Freddie sitting a few feet looking at me. The pain on his face hurt me to my core. Then he turned his back on me and walked down the steps into the darkness.
            The next day I went to the store and bought some catnip treats as an apology to him. I didn’t know if he’d ever come back. After all, I have no clue as to the memory of cats with the exception of Tripps. And he could barely remember how to stop walking when came to a wall.
            Three nights after purchasing the treats I was on my porch typing away and I felt the familiar rub on my legs. This time I didn’t kick. Instead, I opened the bag of treats, poured a handful onto the porch and watched as Freddie gobbled them up.
            Looking back, that was the moment Freddie adopted me into his family. We’ve even settled into a routine. Most days, he is sitting on my porch in the morning when I walk out the door for work. I scratch behind his ears, tell him he’s a good cat and to safeguard the house. At night, when I get home, he wanders between my ankles rubbing up against them, begging for treats and attention. I go inside, put away my riding gear, grab a cigar and my laptop and go out to my chair and spend time with him.
I’ve expanded his eating habits to food and not just treats, he seems to like the food I buy, it’s in a can and I try to get different flavors for him and he’ll spend an hour just nibbling on the food at my feet. Then, when he wants something crunchy, he stands up and lets me scratch behind his ears for a bit then he starts swiping his paws at my arm and looking at the treat bag. Since I’m a big softy, I get the bag, open it and try to pour some out into my hand all the while he is trying to grab the open bag and dump it onto the porch.
He’s quite adamant about wanting to eat the whole bag. Maybe I should let him. Nah, that would most likely make him sick and I don’t want a sick cat on my porch. Then again, I can’t imagine anyone who would.
 I guess what I’m getting at is this; while all my life I’ve never liked or really wanted a particular animal or even person in my life, sometimes, situations and persistence will change your views. After all, Freddie somehow wheedled his way into my life, I wonder if there will be a human like that sometime in the future?

Have a great week.

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