We never wanted a cat. We were always dog people. But my neighbor found her near-dead in the middle of the road. She took her in and got her vaccinated. And suggested I come meet her, to determine whether she was a good fit for the kids.
When I first met “Luna,” she climbed onto my lap and never left. “She’s perfect!” I exclaimed, “And cuddly like a dog.”
I brought her home the next day and the kids instantly fell in love. She was sweet and timid and hid for hours at a time. She ran under the bed each time the front door swung open. “This is a piece of cake,” I told my husband a few days later. “She eats, poops in the litter box and sleeps all day. No shedding, no need to walk her; no stinky odor.”
A confirmed low-maintenance, indoor pet.
A month later she began to act erratically and instead of walking, spent a few days dragging her splayed legs across the floor. Her pupils grew large and she peed on the couch.
“She’s in heat,” stated the same cat-loving neighbor. We got her spayed. Problem solved. “Of course she won’t go looking for a boyfriend now,” I reasoned. “Why would she? She’s infertile and comes from a life on the streets where she scavenged for what to eat.
But I was wrong.
Months later we moved into a new house on a spacious lot. The kids spent the entire summer splashing in the pool and Luna refused to approach the patio door. She still preferred to maintain her distance from the scary outdoor world.
Until the other week.
Leaving for school one hectic morning, we noticed Luna sniffing the front door threshold. The flowering plants just outside were blooming and the air was fresh and crisp. Maybe she was curious. The next morning, she stuck one paw out the door then retreated back into her comfort zone.
By the third day she grew even bolder and ventured out to the front porch. “Let her go,” my husband cried out to the worried kids as we pulled out of the driveway, “she won’t go any further. She’s afraid of the outdoors. Remember the dangerous life she had.”
But he was wrong.
And for five days the house was divided as we debated her future. Should we let her out? Can we force her to be an “indoor cat?” Nobody knew. But one thing I knew for sure was this: if denied, she’d sneak out anyway.
Like a teenager, Luna was ready to explore and spread her (cat-like) wings. When she’s had enough, she returns. And we always welcome her back to her loving home—with fresh litter and a fresh bowl of food awaiting her arrival.
I tell the kids not to begrudge her desire to expand her horizons. I tell them not to criticize her cross-bred friends or mock her lizard-chasing obsession. “Just understand this is something she must do and be patient,” I advise.
Do I like that Luna has converted to an outdoor cat? No way. I realize it’s a dangerous world out there. But either way, she’s gonna do what she’s gotta do.
Maybe soon this street-side partying will come to a screeching halt.
I don't know.
You can take the cat out of the street, but you can't... well, you know the rest.