My life was touched by a cat today. He was a large spotted tabby, with a white bib, toes, a dart of white up his face, and rings on his tail. As I was finding a parking spot, he came strolling out of the grass and sat to wait as I finished parking the car. When I shut off the engine, he walked over to the driver’s side door and sat about four feet away, giving ample room for me to open the door; which I did. He approached the car with the aplomb of a doorman at a high-class hotel and put his front feet on my floorboard and with not so much as a by-your-leave, hopped in. I reached down and gave in a caress and he turned around and hopped back out. I followed him as I was intending to take a lunch-time walk on a near-by trail. The cat lay in the gravel of the lot while I changed my shoes, rolling around occasionally, doing those amazing stretches only cats can do. As I stood up and turned to lock the car, he stood, too. I said goodbye and turned to begin walked toward the trail access. I hadn’t gone but 20 feet, when an inquiring feline voice announced that he was still with me.
I continued walking, curious to see what he would do. He followed me to the trail, which was immediately adjacent to an arterial road busy with traffic. He seemed completely unconcerned and I became apprehensive that if I crossed the road, I would be leading him into danger. I altered my plans and turned towards the west and away from the road and the handsome cat marched along with me. I wondered where he lived and where he would bail out on me, but he continued like he hadn’t a care in the world. A dog barked close by, and he merely looked in the general direction. A Veterinarian I work with lived about 3 miles away and had been missing a cat for few weeks and I began to speculate that maybe this was her cat and that I smelled familiar enough to warrant following. I took a photo with my cell phone that I sent to the office. They told me to bring him in as the resemblance was fairly strong and if he was not the missing cat, we could scan him for a microchip. I had walked about a half-mile and Mr. Kitty was still with me. As I turned to go back, he trotted ahead to lead the way for a time. Amazing! As we walked back to the car we were passed twice by cyclists and the cat was completely unfazed. He seemed to have complete faith that no one would squish him. We continued our stroll back to the car where I picked him up and put him in the back seat. He took one lap around the entire car, stood up to look out the windows and then settled to lie across the seat while we drove the short distance to the clinic.