I have a 30-something female neighbor who seems to have a hard time getting her life in order. My first observation of this neighbor was from my front terrace when she and her boyfriend were walking by, deep in argument. The boyfriend was carrying a skateboard.
My next encounter was a week later when she was outside calling her cat, Papi, who had slipped out the front door. Empathizing with her situation, I immediately leaped out of my chair on the terrace to go and help her find Papi, who was perched on another neighbor’s porch wall. I helped her corral him and she took him home.
A couple nights later I hear her out calling Papi again. From my upstairs window I see her talking to another neighbor about how she had opened the front door and Papi dashed out; she did this whole animated thing with her arms which included a whoosh motion, which I am assuming was to help explain how quick that cat moved in rushing the door.
It started to become an almost daily ritual with this woman and her cat. One day I looked out my upstairs window and saw her arguing with the boyfriend again. That argument concluded with him storming off, flipping her off in the process.
“What losers,” I thought to myself, “Who let them into this neighborhood (where there is character, but little drama)? No wonder the cat is always trying to escape.”
I spoke with my neighbors Rick and Ralph a couple weeks later, and they requested that if I saw the woman’s boyfriend in the area to call the police; there had been a restraining order put out on him. Supposedly he had broken into the woman’s home and kept letting the cat out in the process.
It’s been a couple weeks, and although no sight of the loser boyfriend, “Papi! Papiiiiii,” still resonates through the air every other day as this woman’s cat has apparently gotten out, yet again.
What an idiot! Several times I have wanted to yell out my window, “Good grief, lady, would you please get some goddamn control over your cat and your life?!” But my senses take hold and I realize I don’t necessarily want someone of her caliber to see such nastiness in me, while knowing where I live.
Still, I want to slap her. Papi is a beautiful, plushy Himalayan-looking cat who I fear may not be long for this earth, all due to his stupid master’s irresponsibility, flakiness and poor lifestyle choices. If he isn’t hit by a car, there are feral cats who will kick his house-cat ass, and coyotes who will happily do much worse.
As I was walking Griffin the other morning, Papi came dashing out of my driveway and down the street around a corner. “Oh, Kitty,“ I lamented after him, “Please be careful,” all the while thinking to myself, “When is your stupid cow of an owner going to get her shit together and keep you in where you belong?”
I rounded the corner to see a woman in business attire holding Papi. “Do you know who this cat belongs to?” she asked.
I told her what I knew, including how I thought the cat’s owner was a flake, but I wasn’t sure where exactly she lived.
“Should I take it to an animal shelter?,” she asked. “It is clearly not an outdoor cat, and I’m afraid it’s going to get killed.”
“I don’t know, “ I replied, shaking my head. “It seems like a shelter would be the best thing for it, considering how irresponsible its owner is.”
The woman replied, “Well, I’m going to take it home. If the lady comes looking for it, there’s where I live,” she said pointing to a green house next to an apartment complex. “I live in the downstairs part of the house.”
“Okay,” I said, adding, “Bless you for doing this.”
She told me her name was Chrissy, and we parted ways.
The next day I see a different woman walking up and down the street like she was searching for something. Like Papi’s owner, she was slovenly-looking. I made a judgment call and didn’t go out to see if she was possibly looking for Papi.
The next morning as I was walking Griffin I see a flyer in the street with a picture of Papi and two phone numbers. “Please help me find my best friend Papi,” bold letters shouted from the flyer. Two names and phone numbers were listed.
As I was looking at the flyer I see the second woman driving very slowly down the street as if she was looking for something. She pulled over and appeared to be very distressed.
I took the flyer home and debated whether or not to call them to let them know that I knew the whereabouts of their cat. I chose not to. I figured Papi was in a much better place either with Chrissy or perhaps in a new home, after having been taken to a shelter. A gorgeous cat like that would get adopted almost immediately, I was certain.
This afternoon I spoke with Rick and Ralph to see if there had been any new developments regarding the woman’s loser boyfriend, and if he had been spotted in the neighborhood at all.
“No, but she lost her cat, “ Rick said solemnly.
“Really? Again? What is up with her? Why can’t she keep that cat contained?”
“I guess her roommate keeps letting the cat out,” Rick explained. The poor cat got chomped by a coyote a couple weeks ago and had to have major surgery.”
“What is her problem?,” I asked angrily. “Something like that happens, and she still doesn’t get it? What a couple losers, she and her roommate!”
I told them I had seen the flyer, scoffing at the “best friend,” mention, and Rick replied, “Some best friend, if she can’t even be more responsible in keeping him safe.”
“Well, I think I know where Papi is, but I almost don’t want her to know who has got him.” I explained to Rick and Ralph about my encounter with Chrissy.
“Well, she does have a right to know, regardless, “ Rick replied.
“Green house next to Nightingale Apartments. He may be there, he may not; but tell her if I see Papi outside one more time I will take him and she will never see him again.”
I said goodbye, then turned around and walked away, wondering if I would someday have blood on my hands if Papi got returned to his owner.