Panther, True Tales IV

Posted: December 24, 2016 in Panther, True Tales

Getting to Know Each Other…

I awoke the next morning to a screeching alarm clock and a purring cat. Panther had found himself a comfortable spot by my feet to curl up for the night. As soon as he felt me stir he pounced onto my chest and repeated the pre-sleep scene from the previous night. This was to become our thing, our ritual; every night, every morning I was rewarded with chin rubs, face licks, and head butts all accompanied by purring.

This cat seemed to know just what I needed to be able to relax about our new arrangement and was more than willing to provide it. He was a year and a half old and had been a stray for most of it. He had some minor brain damage but that was all I knew of his past. He had a knack for endearing himself to people, he had an almost supernatural ability to know just how to behave for everyone he met and, as a result, everyone who worked at the store had fallen under his sway.

He hung around me as I prepared for work, ate a quick breakfast, and made sure he had a bowl of kibble and water for his day alone. I was planning on coming straight home from work but that still left him by himself in a strange place for about nine hours. I was hoping there was enough in the apartment to keep him occupied but in the back of my mind was the worry that he might get anxious about being left alone.

We spent a few minutes together bonding; me rubbing his exposed and inviting belly, him ripping my hand to shreds showing me just what his claws were all about. The entire time he watched me carefully with his sharp predatory eyes.

I patched up my wounded hand and called a cab. Even though I didn’t want to leave, work did beckon. One more shift and we would have a day together, I reminded myself. I dropped a handful of Temptations on the kitchen floor for him and gave him a quick pat on the head. I had barely opened the apartment door when a flash of black fur raced out of the apartment.

He was ridiculously fast.

Come here, Panther,” I called gently. I followed him out into the hallway worried both about him getting out of the building and the cab coming and going while I chased him down. I couldn’t be late for work, but I couldn’t leave him to wander the complex either.

He had no inclination to make it easy on me, though. He hadn’t gone very far but every time I got within arm’s reach of him he’d bolt a couple more steps away. He was having a great deal of fun playing this game of keep-away. I was on the verge of panic as I chased after him with visions of the cab driving away without me in my head. No amount of pleading with him seemed to get him to end his game.

I got lucky as he turned the corner and ran into the fire doors. It was the first time I had ever found the doors closed in all the years I’d lived in the building. It was remarkable luck which allowed me to scoop up and take him back to the apartment.

That wasn’t funny,” I informed him. The only response I got from him was a deep, silent rumble. He had enjoyed his game and was now content.

I’m sorry to have to do this, buddy,” I apologized to him, “but I have to get to work.” I placed him in his room, patted him on the back, and closed the closet door. I made it to the front of the building just as the cab pulled up and was off to work.

I spent the day fighting feeling of guilt. I had to be able to leave the apartment but I really wanted him to have free reign of his home as well. I felt torn by that morning’s solution to the issue. I believe that living with a cat should involve a lot of give-and-take, compromise. The choice I made that morning was the opposite if that. It was on my mind the entirety of the work day. I couldn’t come up with a workable solution.

I arrived back home to be greeted by him as I opened the door. I scooped him up as I wondered how my roommate had managed to get out of the apartment while Panther was loose. It was a pleasant surprise and I would have to find out how he had managed the feat. In the meantime I would just enjoy the mutual face rubs, chin licks, and head butts being showered on me. Being locked in his closet didn’t seem to reduce his affection for me.

I put him down after about ten minutes of this cuddling. It had slowed down a little and I was hungry. I didn’t like packing a lunch so I tended not to eat at work. Instead I would eat the moment I arrived home.

I was going to have Alphagetti that day. I am a child at heart and Alphagettis are delicious and easy to prepare. A can opener and a spoon are all you really need to enjoy them.

Panther was just losing his mind as I turned the can opener. He recognized the sound and was making sure I knew he wanted whatever was in the can. He cried loudly at me while he bounced anxiously from foot to foot. He couldn’t be as complete a stray as I was led to believe he was far too excited by the can opener.

Alright, alright,” I acknowledged his demands. I grabbed a small plate and scooped a couple spoonfuls of sauce onto it. “I don’t know if you’ll like it, buddy,” I said as I placed the plate in front of him. He lapped up the tomato-based sauce like he hadn’t eaten in days. A love of Alphagettis, another thing we had in common.

He had rolled over onto his back after finishing his share of our lunch. His legs were sprawled off to his sides and he had left his underbelly enticingly undefended. I hadn’t quite learned my lesson from the morning so I dropped down to my knees and reached out to rub his stomach. He was more than happy to spring his trap and he sank his claws into my hand and arm. He grabbed my hand with his teeth and started kicking with his back feet. The wrestling match was on!

It was to be a short match. He was careful with his biting but not so much with his claws. Sharp and dangerous, he raked his claws through the skin of my arm. I rolled over onto my side and cried out in pain. He had won and I was eager for the match to end.

He let go of my arm, his supremacy proven. He was the alpha male of the apartment but he wasn’t finished proving this point.

He had sat back onto his hind legs, his tail thrashing back and forth behind him. His front paws were in the air, the toes splayed wide and his claws sharp and gleaming. His mouth was partially open with his pointed teeth on display. He looked every bit like a miniature version of his namesake.

I rolled back onto my knees and raised my hands up, my fingers curled to mimic his pose. He immediately launched himself at my head, it was like I was another cat and we were engaging in some rough and tumble play. We were equals. He threw himself bodily at my head a few times more before he settled himself down for a nap. Despite the fierceness of his display neither the claws nor the teeth made contact with my head.

I excitedly described the afternoon to my roommate after he returned home from work. I loved the idea of being treated as an equal by this feline, there was a feeling of honor to it. I was overwhelmed by the experience of the afternoon and wanted my roommate to understand how I felt.

Uh-huh,” my roommate replied. He was unconvinced that the calm, quiet feline hanging with us could show that level of aggression.

I went to sleep that night accompanied by chin rubs, face nips, a bit of licking, and a lot of purring. Our relationship was developing nicely, we were equals and that arrangement worked for me.


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