that time with the cat

I recently remembered this event from my childhood and thought I would share it with you all.

When I was still living in Belarus I spent a lot of my time with one friend in particular (I can’t even remember her name now) and our favorite activity was roamin’ around our neighborhood.  We would go to different playgrounds, parks, the nearby woods, and generally completely disobey the boundaries set out by our parents of where we were allowed to go.   I remember we would even sometimes take the bus a few stops without paying (it was an honor system at the time), which I am pretty sure I also wasn’t allowed to do.  I would have been seven or eight at the time and Minsk is a very big city but from what I remember I almost always felt safe.

Anyway, one day on one of our outings we spotted a cat that was also probably just roaming around and minding its own business.  We didn’t see a collar on it so we naturally came to the following two conclusions.  One, it didn’t have a home.  Two, we were the perfect people to take this cat in. Despite the fact that we lived in different apartment buildings I think we had a plan to own this cat together, the details of which I am sure we were planning to figure out later.  We carried this cat to my friend’s apartment, gave it a bath (!), blew dry its fur (!!), and, having decided that we wanted to go back outside to play some more, stuck the cat into a cupboard under some bookshelves, closed the doors, and left.  What still surprises me to this day is how complacent this cat was.  I don’t remember how much of a fight it put up, but when I think about how  my current cat gets when I even hold him for too long, I am quite surprised my friend and I lived through the experience and still kept our eyes.

A few hours later we returned to the previously empty apartment to realize that my friend’s mother had come home.  I am pretty sure that at this point we also assumed that we could have a secret pet cat.  We nonchalantly said hello and made our way into the room with the hidden cat only to discover that the cat was nowhere to be found.  Had it fled?

It was at this point that my friend’s mother came into the room and with the vaguest trace of a smile across her face asked what we were looking for.  I believe we weren’t too quick on giving up the truth about our feline friend, but when the mother said she came home to find an empty apartment with a well-groomed cat hanging about, we knew the jig was up.  She also told us that she had taken the cat outside and let it go.

I can’t remember what happened at this point.  I am not sure if my friend got into any trouble and I also can’t remember if I said anything about this to my parents.  I have a vague recollection of trying to find this cat on our next few adventures in the neighborhood but I could be wrong about that as well.

What really interests me now is how the rest of that cat’s day went.  Did it actually have a home to go back to at which it later presented itself smelling of shampoo, its fur now slightly puffier than it had been when it left?  Did it spend a few hours contemplating what had happened and trying to find some sort of rationale for the events of the day?  Did it actually spot us first at a later date and ran for the hills?  Or, did it try to find us the next time it wanted a free meal and a wash and blow out?

I will never know.  All I really hope is that we didn’t traumatize that poor animal.  We were just trying to give it a good home.



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