The words really came out of my mouth like that. Well, it was more an exclaimed whisper than a shout.
For perhaps two or three weeks, I have increasingly seen a new cat in the neighborhood. It’s a large feline, certainly bigger than Kazon in height and perhaps equal or thereabouts in length, and also as solid as Grendel were the in-house sponge on a proportionally larger frame. Having glimpsed this sizable and furtive predator skulking usually at early hours or in small glances at the last minute, I’ve not had much chance to see it clearly. I assumed it was perhaps tortoiseshell in color based on these inconsequential encounters. It appeared to be healthy (certainly not thin by any stretch of the imagination, but not overly plump either). It’s tall, perhaps taller than any of my cats. That’s all I could come up with. I simply hadn’t seen it clearly enough to know more. Until today.
I stepped outside just a few minutes ago and froze. Something large and dark moved before I noticed it, and then it froze and became nearly invisible in my peripheral vision. It took me a moment to locate the cat in the speckled sunlight that now trickled into the area around my patio. It took me longer than it should have just to realize it had been sitting there eating some of the food I’d put out earlier to augment what was left from breakfast for Vazra‘s lady friend Larenti (more on her in a forthcoming post). Whatever large beast now lurked in the mostly shadowed world a short distance away yet beyond the fence’s horizon had absolute control of the situation with stealth that, even after being identified, continued making it difficult to see clearly with my sunglasses on. So I took them off.
Without my shades, I was increasingly aware the creature had perfect camouflage for its current environment hidden behind bushes on one side, a latticework fence on the other, and a tree blocking most of the sun. There it stood. It was a large and exquisitely beautiful cat standing just a few paces from the pile of food sitting on the concrete lip at the edge of the patio. That’s where Vazra’s friend has grown accustomed to eating, so that’s where the food always is. I wondered at this new visitor as I calmly said things like “It’s okay” and “You go ahead and eat that” and other drivel. In fact, I’d swear that cat shook its head for the briefest of moments as any condescending person would. It said: “Uh-uh. Don’t do that. Don’t embarrass yourself.” I did anyway.
And it worked. The cat turned and carefully stepped back to the pile of kibble and, with one last serious look at me to ensure I’d not fooled it and was now on the attack, it knelt down completely and again enjoyed the healthy food. I wasn’t sure exactly how feral it might be, so to help it I stepped in the opposite direction while more cooing gushed from my open lips. Why were they flapping like this… I promise I got another look that said I was the most retarded and simple-minded animal this predator had ever seen. Afterward, it went back to eating. I continued to stare. I also got the message and squelched my infantile gibberish (although I did not completely silence it). The cat went on eating.
The more I looked at it, the more I realized this cat was colored exactly like Kako. She’s a black tabby with duotone hair that is dark at the tips and almost white over the majority just below that. It’s like ferret hair. With a cat as small as Kako, that makes seeing her tabby stripes rather difficult. She has to be turned just right, stretched just so, light falling on her just like this, and so on. Experience helps me see her stripes more easily now. With this large cat munching away on prescription cat food, they were far more obvious because they were drawn on a much larger canvas.
“Wow! You’re so gorgeous!” The words were hoarse in my throat, a whisper turned guttural from too much force. Like faked sickness. After that, all I could do was stare at it. In response, the kitty ate and ate. When I decided to slip back inside so it could eat in peace, it watched me carefully while demonstrating a bit more comfort by not stoppin’ the scarfin’. I was happy it was at least comfortable enough with me to let me approach that short distance so I could step back through the doors to the bedroom.
I have to get photos and hope I can capture the wonder of the thing. Mighty fine animal, that one! Yes sirree! Yessiree!