When I saw Olive, I broke the only two universally known rules when interacting with a stray cat. Don’t give them food. Don’t give them a name.
She was irresistible from the moment she showed up on my porch. I was completely smitten by her tiny black body and striking green eyes.
At first, I thought Olive was a boy. My indoor cat Heisenberg only likes boy cats – or so previous experience had shown. And Heisenberg was intrigued by Olive – only through the thick panel of the back door, of course. Heisenberg wasn’t interested in getting too close, but she’d sit by the back door practically all day, awaiting the moments when this mysterious new creature would appear.
It wasn’t until I met Olive’s “owner” that I realized she was a girl. I had been sitting on my porch one evening and Olive had darted up my driveway. I had been surprised she was running so quickly. Then a man rounded the corner behind her. It was difficult to make out his features in the dark, but he had a trash bag slung over his shoulder and looked dirty.
“Come here girl,” he demanded into the night.
I wasn’t sure if he noticed me, but I called out to him anyways. “Hey, that your cat?”
He looked like he had been caught with this hand in the cookie jar. “Oh, hi there.”
I gave him a half-smile, which I doubted he could see.
“Oh, uh, yeah. I raised her up from when she was a baby.”
“Ah, what’s her name?”
“Well, I ain’t ever got around to giving her one.”
I nodded as I let his words sink. She wasn’t his cat. No wonder she looked so underfed. It looked like he could barely feed himself.
That night, I left a can of tuna on my porch for Olive.