About a week ago, on a beautiful sunny winter’s day, I was rushing to leave the house to go meet a friend. Yogi, the little cat who I had taken in a month previous, was vacillating, as cats do, about whether or not she wanted to go outside. She parked herself, half in and half out, in the middle of the doorway. I didn’t have time for her nonsense, so I gently nudged with my foot to go outside. She was already down the walkway by the time I turned around from locking the door. And that was the last I saw of her.
Yogi was to be my great experiment in having an indoor/outdoor cat. She had been outside for several weeks before she finally walked in to my house and made herself at home. She knew a good thing when she saw it. When I let her out on previous occasions, she would hang for a while outside, but was always eager to come back into the house. I never had to bribe her or even ask twice.
She was an odd little cat. It was in November that she started making guest appearances at the spot where I feed Pretty, my longtime feral cat. This little black and white stranger was not at all skittish, and would immediately start purring and making air biscuits when you picked her up. I figured with a cat this tame, that she must belong to a neighbor and was just another annoying moocher who came around and ate Pretty’s food. I’m very protective of Pretty, and any creature who disturbs our routine is subject to my annoyance.
One of my neighbors, Bonnie Jo, who feeds a feral colony at the end of my street, decided to take on Yogi (whom she called Pogo) as one of her clan, and started feeding her and set up a little cat house for her on my property, away from Pretty. I had no problem with that. With a regular feeding schedule (Bonnie Jo is like clockwork) and a warm place to sleep, Yogi became a regular. Even Pretty even learned to tolerate her. And giving Yogi a nice petting in the morning became part of my routine.
One sunny day in January, it was so warm I had my front door open as I went about my household chores. Yogi parked herself outside the screen door in the morning and started looking inside longingly. “Oh don’t try to make me feel guilty, young lady”, I told her every time I caught her looking in. She just sat there. And sat there. And sat there some more. All day. Finally, around 4:30 pm I broke down and called her bluff. “Fine. You want in? I dare you to come in.” I opened the door and in she walked. And after some initial inspection of the premises, she curled up on my favorite blankie and went to sleep.
For the first couple of days, I would put her back outside when I wasn’t home. She needed to get checked out by a vet before it was safe to to have her interact with my other cats, Sasquatch and Tangerine. One morning, however, she decided that this arrangement was not suitable and wanted to be in the house NOW. As I was getting ready for work, that damn cat started leaping up on my window sills and climbing my screen doors. She would not take no for an answer. After I made some minor configurations of the house in order to keep the newcomer away from the old timers, Yogi moved in.
Yogi and I had a strange relationship. Maybe it was the bold way she foisted herself on me, or maybe it was learning within a week after she joined the household that she was soon going to cost me $600 to get a possibly cancerous lump on her side biopsied (plus the promise of further medical costs and/or the pain and sadness of watching her decline). She had her moments of being very affectionate and sweet, but most of the time she was indifferent to to everyone in the household. She was an odd little presence, but I accepted her and was willing to take care of her, though she wasn’t necessarily in my heart. But, I certainly didn’t want her to leave.
There are, of course, theories as to where Yogi has gone. I try not to dwell on the bad scenarios. I’m hoping maybe her previous people found her and there was a joyous reunion. Or perhaps she just walked into someone else’s house to try them on for a while. Or maybe she was merely an emanation who came into my life as to test how open my heart was. If that was the test, I fear I failed it.