Panther, True Tales II

Posted: December 5, 2016 in Panther, True Tales
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In Which the Black Cat Goes Home…

I went home that Sunday afternoon feeling even more frustrated than normal. I knew I only had myself to blame. I felt uncomfortable making a claim to Panther during my shift and as a result lost out on bringing him home with me. I forced a happy face as my roommate wisely offered up the thought that perhaps whoever was going to take him would change his mind and I could bring Panther home after all.

I hope so,” I replied with a fake positivity. I was miserable, the ending of my work day sapped all joy from me. I fell asleep on my couch as soon as my brain calmed down enough to allow it.

I woke up and somehow managed to drag myself into work. It felt like the day was going to be a bad one. There was going to be that empty cage sitting there, a silent reminder of what could have been. That the soul that had seemed so familiar to mine had come and gone from my life. The time together far too short.

My feet dragged as I wandered to the time clock. I had to go by the cat adoptions to get there and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing him gone. Things in my life always felt difficult. I can’t really complain about where I was in my life, I was reasonably well off or at least comfortable, but it always felt like every plus I earned came through struggle. Meeting Panther had almost felt miraculous, everything was instant and easy, I thought for once the universe had smiled on me. Instead the universe had kicked me in the gut and left me struggling to see any sunbeams or lollipops.

There he was. As big as day. Still in his cage. Against all odds, as far as my mind could comprehend, the glorious black cat was still there! He sat in his cage looking as regal as could be. His eyes opened wider as he saw me approach and he sat up even straighter. He knew how to make an impression, there couldn’t be that many people who wouldn’t remember a cat who sat as perfect and still as he did.

So why are you still here?” I wondered aloud. Loud, deep purring was the only answer he gave.

There was a new sign on his cage, “Almost home! Adoption approval pending.” That was a sign I had never seen before. What did it mean? We didn’t have an approval process that went beyond filling out some forms, agreeing not to de-claw the cat, and handing over an adoption fee. This sign made no sense. Panther could have had a home yesterday. This was unfair to him and insulting to me. I couldn’t do anything about it but it left a foul taste in my mouth.

I’m glad you’re still here, buddy,” I offered a couple of fingers to him through the bars. He rubbed his chin against my fingers, his purring continued unabated.

I’ll see you again, many times before I leave,” I promised as I scratched behind his ears.

I spent the rest of the work day dropping by the adoption centre to visit with Panther. Nobody cam by to pick him up and he seemed genuinely happy to see me every time I came by. I talked, he purred. I offered my fingers through the wire of his cage for him to rub against. I scratched behind his ears and together we enjoyed our bonding time. He voiced his pleasure by issuing a half-purr, half-meow that sounded like he was singing.

It was difficult to leave. I was positive if I left I would never see him again. I was already very attached to this feline and it seemed like the feelings were mutual. It was just my luck that I would meet my soulmate and we would be unable to be together. I felt like I was torturing myself by visiting with him but I couldn’t stay away. I suppose in the end a few moments with him was better than nothing. A few happy memories for us both to cling to.

Another restless night passed me by and I was once again heading off to an early morning start. Despite the lack of sleep I felt much happier that the previous morning. I knew Panther might be gone but the chance I might get to see him again was an overpowering thought and had me feeling optimistic during my short cab ride to the store.

My luck had held out, he had still not been taken home.

I don’t understand how anyone could meet this cat and not want to take him home. I felt almost full of rage at the shabby treatment of my feline friend. Making him sit and wait for days was ridiculous.

We spent another day visiting with each other. Bonding, getting to know each other, and just enjoying the other’s company. He had a classy, almost professional, air to him that would occasionally slip into a relaxed, musical being. He had an aura of strength and calmness about him. I felt a great deal of respect and admiration for this feline.

I suspect I was more frustrated by his treatment than he was. His calm was infectious though, and I went home that night relaxed and happy.

He was still there the next day, Wednesday, when I arrived. Our routine by now was accepted, even expected, by both of us and we spent the day visiting together as often as we could.

It was as the day entered my last work hour that things changed for both of us.

The sign that had plagued us had been removed from his cage. The store’s assistant manager had decided that he was tired of playing games with the man who wanted a black cat for Halloween and removed the hold. He was back on the market and free to go home with whoever stepped up to take him.

I left that day without finishing the task I was working on, something that I had never done before. I tracked down the store manager and filled out the adoption forms and had an “Almost Home!” sign placed onto Panther’s cage. I made arrangements for a ride home. I ran to the bank to grab the cash only adoption fee. While I awaited my ride, I went through the store and grabbed all the necessities a happy cat would need: toys, food, litter, litter box and carrier.

It was at this point that I learned an important detail about Panther: he was not fond of confined spaces. With the help of the associate on duty I managed to ease him into the carrier.

He was not happy, but it would quickly be forgotten for he was finally coming home.

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