If you follow the Fiction Felines Twitter, you may have noticed a few tweets from yesterday about a black cat that I pretty quickly named Selene. Zach had heard her crying for attention, so of course I grabbed our cat food and went to find and coax her out with a meal.
I found her near my neighbor’s apartment, and that neighbor happens to be my boss. This small fact made it much easier to ask if I could come in late to work so I could help the cat out. Because my boss is awesome, he said to take all the time I need.
My first instinct was to get her some food and water. The moment I shook a cup of food, I knew she wasn’t feral. She clearly wanted to trust me so badly because she knew what the shake of a food cup meant, but she was still wary because I was a stranger.
Instead of chase her down, I set out a bowl of food and a bowl of water before sitting several feet away, back mostly to her. From the corner of my eye, I watched as she went to investigate the bowls—then as she sated her thirst and hunger.
Trust came quickly after that—she chirped at me, quivered her tail with excitement, and rubbed her entire body against my side in an attempt to get more attention.
My heart melted and broke for this girl with her bony spine and messy fur, sweet and missing home.
With one hand occupied by Selene’s affections, I used the other to call everywhere I could—which was just the three vets in town, since my apartment’s front office was empty and the local shelter wasn’t open yet.
Nobody had heard of someone missing their black cat.
Because my boss had recently moved into this apartment, my mind went to the worst-case scenario: that she was abandoned by the previous tenant when they moved out.
The idea angered me, but I was determined to keep hope that instead she was simply lost.
I was eventually able to call my apartment’s office, but the news from them was just as upsetting: they hadn’t heard of any missing cats, but they were going to send an apartment-wide email just in case.
After that, there wasn’t much else for me to do for Selene. I wasn’t allowed to bring her into my apartment (Steve and Jasmine wouldn’t have appreciated that anyway), and the office wasn’t going to hold onto her either.
The best thing I could do was move the water and food bowls out of the way of foot traffic and ants. My boss’s apartment, which Selene seemed attached to, was on the second floor. Thankfully, he was fine with me putting the bowls up there. I felt safer knowing she was on the second floor, even if she was still meowing pathetically.
With her set up the best I could manage, I did what I had to do next: get ready for work. I was already late to work, and there wasn’t much else I could do for Selene until the shelter opened.
Unable to do anything more, I went to work.
When the shelter opened, I called and asked about any black cats reported as missing. None. I gave them Selene’s information; they told me that while they don’t have the space for her, I could bring her by to have her checked for a microchip.
At this point, the best case scenario for her seemed like TNR—trap, neuter, return. If she was feral, that would have been the first course of action. As a cat that was obviously once loved by someone, I didn’t want to treat her as a feral or stray if I didn’t have to.
When my boss came back from his lunch break at home, he said Selene had skittered off somewhere—likely scared by his dogs— but had eaten a good amount of food.
When Zach went home after his class, he said he hadn’t seen Selene at all— even after looking for her.
When I got home, I searched as well. No Selene.
Even though everyone was probably right in that she found herself a shaded place to nap and would be back later, I was insanely worried. If she didn’t come back, I couldn’t get her taken anywhere to be checked for a chip or spay scars. There wasn’t anything else I could do.
At that point, all we could do was wait for when she would return.
Because of how long this ended up being, it has been split into two parts.
Check back Thursday for the second half!