Part Time Lover

When we moved this time our lease said, 'no cats'. Sadly, we gave our borrowed, luxurious, affectionate, silver Burmese, 'Ratty' back to his rightful owner; our laps and hearts quietly mourning his absence.

It was late summer then and I often left the front door open in the evening to catch the last shafts of sun falling through to the kitchen. One day a cat stepped into the house through the open door, as though an invite was not needed. He was a large tabby tomcat, muscular and weighty, with torn ears and huge green eyes. He stood, pawing the ground as though overjoyed to be here, in this moment, in this house, with me. He struck up a rich rumbling purr and wandered about the kitchen pawing the ground with joy as he met the cabinets, chairs and my legs.

Sometime later I showed him out and closed the door. After that, whenever the door was open, he came to visit. Never less than thrilled to see me, an undemanding guest always. I found myself wondering where he was if a couple of days passed between visits. Although I enjoyed having him around, I knew I shouldn’t feed him, somehow that was over stepping the boundaries. He’d look elsewhere pretty soon wouldn’t he?

But he never did stop visiting. Now he comes to the door and asks to be let in, often spending a whole day in my company. When Nick was ill before Christmas, he lay on the sofa in the curl of Nick's legs and purred, for a whole afternoon. He's here now, relaxing in a shaft of sunlight on our sheepskins. If I leave the room, he greets me on my return and when he's ready to go home he simply walks to the front door and meows once with a meaningful look in my direction.

He is my guilty secret, my part time pet. I hope next door don't mind that I'm borrowing him. But I tell myself, I've done nothing wrong - it's only friendship after all.

I never fed him!