But the Cat Has Nine Lives, So It’ll Be Okay

When I first met my fiancé—back when he was just a friend of a friend and someone who would gather together with our group to watch Game of Thrones—I’d heard stories about his cat.

“David’s got an orange tabby. He’s not exactly a nice cat.”

“The cat got out of the house, but David left the garage door open, and eventually he came back.”

“David’s girlfriend and ex-wife took shifts watching his cat while he’s out of town. They started having lunch together after that.”

There’s a lot to unpack with that last one. No, I was not the girlfriend mentioned—David and I had not met at that point. Even without knowing him, though, there were still things I could infer about his cat—and him—through these brief tidbits of information.

First, Blitz the Cat is his own cat. Some might call him standoffish, some might call him mean, but the truth is he knows who he is, and he doesn’t let any mere human interfere with that.

“Know thyself.”

Blitz owns that saying, and no human with a bandana, or cat mittens, or even an adorable, cat-sized life jacket is going to make him into something he’s not.

This human has the scars to prove it.

Second, Blitz does like to leave the house. He’s the descendant of a tiger, and he can smell, see, and hear nature calling to him. If a door is opening or closing just a smidge, that’s enough for him to pounce. He needs to be free to have his adventures, and although treats might tempt him to stay indoors, it’s easy to tell when he wants to run wild.

Thankfully, though, Blitz recognizes his home. He receives not just food and not just shelter in this house, but also love. When the wild cat is ready to tuck away his claws for the evening and cuddle, he knows he has two humans he can go to.

He may enjoy nature, but he always purrs the loudest when either David or I hold him.

Lastly, this surprising cat has a way of bringing people together and changing their lives. 

Yes, David’s now ex-girlfriend and his ex-wife started hanging out because they both watched Blitz. It’s awkward for me to spell it out on this page, just as it was awkward when my friend first described the situation to me. It wasn’t a normal friendship, and it all occurred because of this independent and somewhat aggressive feline.

And now Blitz is a part of my life.

It’s important to know one thing before trying to understand my relationship with Blitz. Just like it’s crucial to know that Jacob Marley was dead as a doornail in order to appreciate the happenings in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, it’s essential to know that I’ve never had a real, long-term pet in my life. 

As a kid, I had the occasional turtle saved from the road, a bunny that was saved from some wild animal, and one yellow duck named Duck that my grandparents gave to me and my brother for Easter. The turtles were all released back to the wild after a day or two. The bunny unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. And Duck—well, he was the snobbiest duck I ever encountered. My family gave him cooked peas at one point, and he refused to eat anything else going forward. He grew so rotund that he could only waddle slowly and painfully around our backyard. 

Eventually, we took Duck down to the neighborhood pond. Swimming was something he could do with ease, and he was actually able to exercise his overly burdened legs. We realized Duck would be happier where he had access to water and other ducks, so one day, we decided to leave him at the small lake.

Despite our separation, there was a happy ending to Duck’s story. The next spring, a white duck and a female mallard showed up in our yard, followed by a mixture of brown and yellow baby ducklings. We fed them and enjoyed their company, until they were ready to venture back to their pond.

And that’s been my experience with pets—at least until I met this cat.

The first time I saw Blitz was when David and I had just started dating. I’d already heard the stories, and I wasn’t a pet person, so I kept my distance. The cat did his thing, and I did mine, but I could tell Blitz felt like his territory was being invaded.

Nearly every time I snuggled against David to watch a TV show or movie, Blitz would appear. He would promptly jump on the sofa and squeeze his way in between me and David, reminding me that David was his human, not mine. 

As the months went by, and Blitz began to realize I wasn’t leaving, he started to consider me with more curiosity than hostility. 

His big green eyes seemed to say, “Who is this human? And what the heck does she think she’s doing here all the time?”

And it did become all the time. David and I started dating in October, and the heat at my house broke the first week of December. David pretty much told me I could stay with him, and I’ve been doing so nearly non-stop ever since, which has meant there’s been a good bit of quality time between me and the cat.

I work at least 40 hours per week, so Blitz had some escape from me during the weekdays. I usually wouldn’t arrive back home until 7:00 pm, when I would hear Blitz’s loud meowing protests that I could enter David’s workspace while he was stuck outside, pawing at the door.

We did have a breaking point one night, though. Blitz had been testing me for weeks—smelling at my stuff, scratching at my shoes, and jumping into my car whenever I’d leave a door open to bring in groceries. 

One night, I was driving down the lane to David’s house. This is a quarter-mile gravel lane with only five houses, plenty of plant-life, and no street lights. In the winter, the commute home can be just as dark as a horror movie. But I was used to it. There were multiple pets along the lane, including Blitz, so I’d always take the road slowly and keep my eyes open.

One bitterly cold and moonless night, I was driving down the lane when my headlights reflected against two green orbs. 

I knew it was Blitz. 

I knew that he’d most likely fled the house when an opportunity struck and he was now further down the lane than he should be—especially on such a wintry night. 

David is always the one who can convince Blitz to return to the house—or he’s at least the one who can scoop Blitz up and carry him into the house. By that particular night, Blitz had not let me pick him up, and not being a pet person, I always felt unsure of myself when I’d try to wrap my arms around him.

I stopped my car, knowing that Blitz might choose to run off into the night on some wild adventure—and that it would be left to David to track him down with a flashlight and hand warmers.

I opened my car door and watched as Blitz considered me—that pesky human who was now using what used to be his bathroom sink.

Maybe it was the cold, maybe it was the lack of wildlife for him to play with, or maybe it was the fact that Blitz was starting to view me as one of his humans too. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know the reason, but Blitz jumped in my car that night. 

When we reached the house, he still didn’t let me pick him up. I opened the door, and he ran up to the front porch, waiting to be let back into his warm domain.

David continued to be the only one to carry him for a few months after that night, but despite that, I was overcome with delight. The cat had trusted me enough to take a ride with me, and I saw that as a first step.

I was becoming a pet person, and suddenly I understood why it was such a big deal.

~

© Virginia Gale, The Glass Is Half Shattered, and virginiagale.com, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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