September 29, 2022

I must give an update on the situation with the cat.  A little background – I found the cat (Peanut) two years ago.  She was wandering around my apartment and I thought she was a stray.  I finally found her owner (George) who lives in the neighborhood.  He seemed to take a blasé approach to caring for Peanut.  He basically let her run wild and she survived by begging from neighbors.  George claimed he couldn’t catch her and he described her as an “outdoor cat with a restless spirit.”  Since I see myself in a similar vein, I took a liking to Peanut.  I liked her too because she could be quite affectionate and she was a beautiful cat – a cream tortishell.

The neighbors told me that George in fact didn’t technically “own” Peanut.  He was supposed to be caring for her, and Peanut actually belonged to some unknown woman.  No one knew who this woman was nor why she couldn’t care for her own cat.  It was rumored that she might be in jail.

Like many of the neighbors I couldn’t help but feed the cat.  Before long Peanut started camping out on my patio.  She kept sleeping there every night.

“She’s a couch surfer,” one of the neighbors told me.  The lawn chair on your patio just happens to be her favorite couch right now.  Or maybe you’re feeding her a favorite food.”

Then neighbor then snickered and called me a sucker.  “You have to watch out for couch surfers,” said the neighbor.  “Before long, they might just move in.”

Peanut did appear to be moving in.  The neighbor was right.  I may have been a sucker, or more appropriately, naïve.  I was certainly naive about cats.  I’d never owned one.  And as Peanut increasingly came to call my home her own, I realized that I didn’t want to own a cat.

I told this to George and he just shrugged, “It looks like Peanut chose you.  Cats do that, you know.”

I didn’t want to be chosen, but in time I grew quite fond of Peanut.  I even asked George if I could take complete ownership of her and put my name on her chip.  George refused, not giving a reason.   One neighbor suggested that George kept the cat because he had promised to keep it for the missing mystery woman.

Recently, Peanut (who is 15) became quite sick.  She had three severe episodes since Labor Day where I thought she might die and seemed to be suffering.  I took her to a vet and he said she had cancer.  I then contacted George who said that the cat would have to be put to sleep.  He made an appointment to have her euthanized.

By the time George made this appointment, Peanut had rallied and was much better.  She was eating and purring and exploring the great outdoors.  George said it didn’t matter, as she would continue to go downhill and he planned to go ahead with the appointment. He also said he would take her to see her rightful owner (the mystery woman) before he put her to sleep.

On termination day, he stopped by my place in a rush, and roughly stuffed the (yowling) cat into a cat carrier.  I tried to talk to him about delaying the euthanasia, but he was in too much of a hurry to speak.  Needless to say, I was pretty depressed after he left.

About an hour later, George texted me and said that the rightful cat owner wanted to speak to me.  I couldn’t believe it.  I would finally get to speak to the mystery woman!

The mystery woman turned out to be a recovering drug addict.  She had given up Peanut because she’d been homeless and then had spent a long time in a treatment center.  She had finally gotten into some transitional housing where she could have a cat!  She asked me about Peanut’s medical history and she agreed with me that it was too early to put Peanut down.  Plus, she was so overjoyed to be reunited with her darling pet, she wanted to spend at least some time with Peanut before the cat died.  

I drove over to meet the mystery woman and gave her all of the cat food, cat litter, etc. that I had in the house.  I then spent a long and lovely afternoon chatting with this woman while Peanut sat on the floor and watched.  

Anyway, that is the happy ending (for now) to this story.  I know that Peanut won’t be long for this world, but at least she has a little time left.  And at least she can give this mystery woman the type of joy and comfort that Peanut’s given me over the past two years.

Peanut

Published by susancasslangmailcom

Susan Casslan is a writer and a nurse. Her writing touches on spirituality and issues pertaining to social justice. Casslan lived for a decade in the San Francisco Inner Mission District, and she was greatly inspired by the Latinx culture of that neighborhood. The Inner Mission emerges in her books Conversations with Richard Purcell: The Adventures and Reflections of a Renegade San Francisco Priest and That Which Wavers with the Night, as well as in her chapbook 24th Street and Other Poems. Additionally, Casslan’s nonfiction articles have appeared in El Tecolote, an Inner Mission newspaper.

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