He used to slip into the front porch through a passage way that connected my block and the one behind ours. He slipped in, straight to the bowl of cat food I left outside, chomp, and go. All the same route (along the wall perimeter), all the same hour, all the days that come and pass.
I remembered I posted his photo once. Making small sound from the back and snap a picture from behind the window when he looked around to check. Unfortunately I have since lost the same copy of the photo when my laptop died the last time.
Eventually he is familiar with me. First he let me out there on the porch with him. Then he let me slide my hand on his back, just once. Then he treat me like we’ve known each other for a long while (well, it did take a long while)
I call him Holstein and he scale the road and slip between houses and small nooks at the hillside, all the way up to the cemetery at the other side of the valley behind our community..
He is slightly bigger than Hanshin, but he avoid contact as much as possible, while Hanshin is too coward to just come up and poke a fight like he does with other cats.
Most of the time Hanshin just let him eat and turn away, or take a walk to the empty lot across the street. Sometimes he plays with dry leaves or whatever heap on the bed of the mini bamboo forest across the street while watching his guest.
And then there was time when I was trying to catch Chubby Face, the other black and white cat who turned out to have a growing tumor on her rectal area. I often spot her and Holstein together so I thought if I trail Holstein they will meet at one point.
I also found them together when the wife of the community leader tried to help me trap her to get her the help she need.
Since Chubby Face should be indoor cat after her tumor removal, I guess that’s the end of their relationship.
For the coming months, however, Holstein keeps coming in the evening for his dinner. But he stays longer and longer. At times, ignoring Hanshin who tried to gesture that visiting time’s up and he wants his space back.
And then Holstein stop going away all together, annoying Hanshin who perched on top of the shoe rack, and stare him down to eternity. Holstein won’t budge. He just stay there.
Every other day, an inch closer to the door, but he stays there.
Every time I go inside or out of the house, he stare at me, with his round eyes, asking.
I figured eventually (duh) that maybe he missed his friend, so I put on a leash over Chubby Face and let them meet on the porch.
They sniff each other, they go around each other, sit together watching the stars. Starts to sound like romantic movie.
I realize it then they look alike. So maybe they are litter mates.
And he stays there. In front of the door, in the sun, under the rain. He reminds me of those Hong Kong movies where a desperate guy kneels down at the steps of Shaolin or Wutang (or whatever the name variation) temple asking to be admitted (and then come out as a champion or Kung Fu master).
One day when I open the door he poke his head in the opening, and look around, then stepped in gingerly.
He must have thought I am super moron for not understanding his gesture all along (in fact I deliberately misunderstand. My house is full and he is intact), but there he is, slipping in, tip toeing and sniffing the air, straight to the back door that lead to the cattery.
I whisked him out before the first cat scream, but the next day he done the same.
So I called the traveling vet and neuter him.
He stayed out for about a month, during which he keeps slipping into the house and straight to the cattery.
I took a deep breath, and open the door.
He slipped out. The silence was like the beginning of Battle of Helm’s Deep (I’m Lord Of The Rings fan). I took another deep breath and brace myself.
Chubby Face skip and hip hopping straight to him, sniff him, rub him once, and there goes the icy, tense air.
He stays there ever since.