Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
It all started when I went to shake out the tablecloth. It was full of crumbs from dinner. I shook it, then stopped to see how the Christmas lights were looking. Were they straight enough? A bulb hadn't burned out, had it?
Everything looked great and when I turned to head back inside, I heard this tiny meow. I looked and saw this scared, half frozen cat hiding behind a neighbor's stoop. I thought it lived with those neighbors, a couple I'd seen just a couple of hours earlier bringing in their Christmas tree. "Ah," I thought, "she must have run out when they were bringing in their tree."
But when I rang their bell and said "I've got your cat!" they were surprised because both of their cats were inside. "Can't be ours. Must be Flo's." It wasn't her's either. I tried to walk away. I really did, but the cat followed me. I turned to her. "You can't come home with me!" but she just rubbed her head against my leg and meowed.
She wears a collar so I knew she belongs to someone. She is obviously well cared for and very well fed. The little tag on her collar shows she was vaccinated for rabies in 2007 at an animal hospital in Toronto.
Soon, three neighbors were on the street with me trying to figure out what to do. Did we know of anyone who'd recently relocated from Canada? No. Had we seen any Ontario license plates on cars parked on the street? Not that we could recall. We tried calling the number listed on the tag but the animal hospital was only open for emergencies and couldn't help us. The one person that could help us, the neighbor who knows most comings and goings of all residents was off on a trip to Atlantic City so we were truly at a loss.
Sophie soon brought out food, which the cat scarfed down. Soon we were all in agreement that the cat would need to be taken somewhere. "24 animal hospital? Whose got a cat carrier?"
"We can't take her there. She's not sick. Someone should take her in for the night."
That's when everyone turned to look at me.
"But I have two cats! And two hamsters!"
"But we can't take her either. It'll just be for the night."
"But I have cats!"
"So do we! We'll even lend you a litter box. With litter."
"My kids can't handle taking a cat in then giving it back."
"Yes, they can! Sophie will understand!"
And little by little, they wore me down. And the cat meowed in her little Canadian kitty accent and before you could sing "Oh, Canada" I was setting up a makeshift kitty apartment in our basement.