I couldn't leave him out in the rain.
One evening my daughter and I heard a piercing cry outside our back door. “That sounds like a cat,” I said.
“That’s the little black kitty I’ve been feeding,” said Katie.
Katie opened the sliding glass door. “Hi Kitty,” she said. She petted a hungry black stray with a dull coat and luminous green eyes. ‘Wait,” she told the cat.
She laid a small plate filled with food outside and pet the little cat, who arched her back gracefully. The cat ate quickly, often pausing to glance around skittishly at some unseen threat. Soon she stopped eating and walked away.
The kitty showed up often, meowing at our back door. We’d have to pet her as she ate, or she’d run away. I found myself growing more and more attached to the lonely cat and it worried me. I could barely afford to feed the three cats we had.
One night thunder shook the house and woke me from a sound sleep. Lightning flashed, and raindrops bounced on the windows. I heard the black kitty’s pitiful meows outside in the downpour. I rushed downstairs to the back door. But when I opened it, the little cat wasn’t there.
Days went by and it rained a lot. One spring day, the rain slowed down and the little cat appeared soaking wet at our back door.
“You poor thing,” I said, petting her as she ate. Then she wandered away with a lonely meow. I had to follow her. I tailed her like a seasoned detective. She slunk past some townhouses and crossed a street.
Up ahead, a woman screeched, “Shoo, cat,” and threw an old shoe at her. Fortunately, the woman had terrible aim, and the cat escaped. She disappeared into some bushes behind the woman’s townhouse. I was shocked and approached the woman.
“Did you see a black cat around here?”
“Yeah, it just ran into the woods.”
“Do you know who its owner is?”
“It’s a stray,” she said. “There used to be many of them, but they took them all away, except for that one.” She scowled. “It thinks my neighbor’s yard is its litter box.” She made no effort to hide her contempt.
“Well maybe someone will adopt her,” I said.
As I headed home, I couldn’t stop thinking about that scared little cat hiding in the woods. She never acted like a feral cat. She was so sweet. She seemed to long for human companionship. Soon nightmares came, where I dreamed about people hurling shoes at the little black kitty, as she cowered alone and frightened in the woods. What would happen to this poor kitty, alone and afraid, with her entire cat family taken away from her? I had to save her.
Soon I figured out a plan. The next time the black kitty came to my back door, I would abduct her. I went out and purchased flea shampoo. I kept a large, fluffy towel waiting by the kitchen sink. I was ready.
Days passed and there was no sign of the kitty. I prayed she hadn’t come to harm. Then one May afternoon I heard a sweet meow at the back door.
I filled the sink with two inches of warm water. Then, I spread the towel out on the kitchen counter. I brought some food to the back door. While the kitty ate, I stroked her fur. She calmed down and ate her food.
“It’s time,” I thought. I scooped her up in my arms and hurried into the house. I placed her gently into the sink, and she was too stunned to fight me. She allowed me to wash her with warm water and flea shampoo. It was then I saw that the black kitty was definitely not a girl. She was a boy.
After his bath, I wrapped the kitty in the towel and dried him off, and laid him on the carpet. My other cats started growling and hissing, with their tails fluffed up. The black kitty dashed to the back door. He hurled himself into the air, trying to jump out the sliding doors. He smacked into the door and fell. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, just shocked. I carried him upstairs to my room.
That evening, the black kitty stayed in my upstairs bathroom, with a litter box, and some food and water. He’d be safe from attacks from the other cats. All night long he meowed. I hurried to comfort him and found him hiding behind the toilet bowl trembling. Wide-eyed, his pink tongue protruded as he panted. I was afraid he’d scare himself into a heart attack.
“You'll be okay, boy,” I said. “Don’t be afraid. You’re safe.” I cradled my sweet fur baby in my arms, while he gazed up at me with frightened eyes.
The first week, he meowed all night. We posted flyers in the neighborhood to find his owner and told all our friends. No one wanted a black cat.
“I can’t understand why nobody wants him,” said my daughter. “Don’t people know black cats are good luck in Japan?”
Gradually the kitty began to get along with our other cats, and when we opened the door, he would back away from it. He didn’t want to go back outside ever again. He was affectionate and always used the litter box. By the time we named him Boo Boo, it was obvious to all that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Soon Boo Boo slept on my bed every night and rushed over to me when I walked in the door. Nourishing food and lots of love turned his ebony coat glossy, and he put on weight. His new purr was shaky at first, like a little engine coming to life, but gradually, it grew stronger and louder. Boo Boo knew he was lucky, and would never have to go back out into that scary world again. The little black kitty had found his forever home with us.