Felix the Cat
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Felix the Cat

A reflection on a furry visitor

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Felix the Cat
Catster

There was this cat who came around the house one day in Fall. I happened to notice him lingering on the perimeter of the patio area between my spot and the neighbors. Surprisingly, the first time he was actually anywhere near me, he walked straight over to me when I first tried beckoning him. Funny enough, he came within a foot of me before meekly scurrying away.

I'm pretty sure that the next time I saw him I had food with me, because I actually was able to pet him that time, and my power of persuasion isn't usually all that strong. He made it clear that he was a sucker for something to eat. Upon first touching him, it was obvious how little he had been eating at that point. After that occasion, he would always march straight up to me when I would get in from work, meowing in a longing way. There came a point when he was clearly waiting for me to arrive.

And I, a sucker for any feline, would usually have a treat of some kind to reward his patience.

This cat started waiting outside the house for long periods of time after I would go in, even if I had fed him. He was actually waiting for someone to come out and give him affection, and would actually relish in sessions of either me or my roommate petting him for a few minutes.

Something particularly intriguing about this tuxedo cat, which I (perhaps lazily) named Felix, was that he had no tail, just a nub of where one very likely was, and also that a small clip of his ear was missing. It appeared as if he may have been through a few trials before our paths crossed. I admit that it's possible he never had a tail, but the way his stub twitched always struck me as slightly unnatural, as if it was not completely accustomed to moving that way. In spite of these signs of distress, Felix had a such a friendly demeanor. He might catch you with a mean bite in the blink of an eye, but that's just a cat thing to go from adorable to asshole instantaneously.

As Winter was closing in, I thought about what to do for him. At first I wondered if he's just an outdoor cat who had a specific route. A neighbor of mine growing up had such an arrangement with her cats, so it wasn't farfetched. Still, the possibility of it getting too cold for him crossed my mind often. What would I do? Bringing him to a shelter was a clear choice, but I thought about what often happens with animals who wind up there. How many actually get out?

It feels foolish now, but I was convinced that I could look out for him over the winter. I could supply him with food and some degree of shelter in the screen room with sleeping quarters that would allow him to get a warm night's sleep. My landlord and roommate chipped in to help, though we were unable to let him stay inside.

Overall, it wasn't a cold winter. The worst it hit was low twenties, which still made me worry. Often time, though, Felix was never around at night, when it was coldest. One would think that he would want to stay where there is a heated cat house and consistent food when most in need, but there were days where I wouldn't see him at all, only to receive a brief visit at random times in the day. Either way, it seemed that he probably had a route of some kind and would alternate where we would go. Throughout the Winter, after a somewhat lengthy time between visits, I would notice his body slim down and fill up in fluxuations. If he wasn't getting food elsewhere, why wouldn't he come by me more often? He made me wonder so very often what went on in his little world when he wasn't in front of me.

Now the cold has definitively passed us and the greenery is returning...but no Felix. It's been well over a month since he last came by, a visit in which I let him inside to warm up a little. On those occasions that I let him in, it really felt like he was my cat, and I loved the feeling.

Since he's been gone, I've obviously wondered what has happened, but I do my best not to dwell too much on it, because I'm a worst-case-scenario-first person. I don't want that concern to rule my mind, but I fear that there's little I can do about that. The only thing that I can do is try to remain positive that the best scenario took place and that he found a place to call home.

I can't help but feel that I had ultimately been selfish. I could have brought him to a shelter myself. I could have asked around to see if someone wanted to house him. Instead, I wanted to have an arrangement where I could "care" for him and continue to see him. Ultimately, it was for my own sake that I left things as they were, so that I could experience having a cat again.

When I stop to think about it, those other people Felix was visiting, who were also very likely giving him food as well, also chose to accommodate themselves before Felix's full well-being. What does. What does that make of us? How often have we put our desires before the comfort of others, even if it was something as small as a little black cat? Anyone of us could have found him somewhere safe, and for a long time, we did not (though I earnestly hope that someone did.)

I told myself that no matter how much I wanted to, I shouldn't get too attached to him. A part of it was a test of sorts: allowing myself to love something that doesn't belong to me, knowing that at any moment life could take it away from me. It was so selfish. Even if he has no idea what on Earth it means, I'd love to see that cat again to offer him an apology dinner.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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