Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Black Cat

No, I'm not referring to Edgar Allan Poe's cat, but to the one in my hallway, crying from hunger and thirst and lack of companionship. This young black cat might belong to a neighbor one floor below, whose apartment door is open but who is apparently not home. My wife and I first noticed the cat last night when it began to cry and we went to see if it was all right and then saw the open door, the dark apartment, and got no response to our calls. I don't know this neighbor, because she is fairly new in the building and we simply haven't yet met. Cheryl and I decided to wait till morning in the hope that the neighbor might return by then. Other neighbors came home after midnight, but they ignored the open door and the crying cat.

Sure enough, this morning there she or he was, still crying, so I went to our nearby precinct house to report the open door, but the receptionist just told me to phone the super. On the way home, I bought a tin of cat food and put the contents on a paper plate and fed the famished cat under the staircase on the ground floor. I then brought it a bowl of water, and it already had almost finished the food. An hour or so later, I heard the cat outside my door again and opened it to find a large deposit of cat shit on my doormat and the cat looking up at me as though this was her/his thank you offering for the food and water.

The neighbor's door is still open, the cat is still in the hall, and the super, a cat owner who doesn't live in the building, says he'll feed the cat after work this evening and shut it in the neighbor's apartment for the night. I've taken the doormat down to the stairwell, hopeful that the cat will continue to use it as a litter site.

Oh, yes, I haven't taken the cat in, because I am allergic to pet fur and would get asthma from her/his company. And yes, if you know about cats and have any suggestions, please comment.

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