Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Garage Cat

One day he limped into the garage. His nose and ears bled, and he mewed as if he had no where else to go.

He was so bloody the mechanics didn't dare clean him, fearing his pain. He was so dirty, they didn't care to touch him, either. They tended to him as they knew. They set out food and water, and prepared a bed for him out of an old seat.

Little by little his wounds began to heal. A month passed and he was able to walk with ease. The gash on his neck closed. His hair grew back. He gained weight.

Perhaps when we are weak, we always return home. For this cat, the garage was his first home. The garage owner brought him there to catch rats.

And for years he did that. But he was an independent soul, a working cat who roamed the neighborhood by day and fed on rats by night. He shunned any hand but one that held food.

Then one winter day he disappeared. The mechanics tried whistling, but they were whistling into a void. He wasn't coming back. Perhaps he had been hit by a car, perhaps he had been mauled by a dog. They didn't know. Then he disappeared from their thoughts.

The season led into spring. Then one day a mechanic caught a glimpse of him sneaking out of the hotel. He was plump, and his once oil-slicked coat looked soft, even fluffy. The mechanic called to him. He disappeared back into the hotel.

Back in the garage the mechanics laughed. Maybe the cat was enjoying the spa there, too.

A year passed. Then another. The mechanics could see that he wasn't living at the hotel any more. He looked muscled now, strong and sleek, and the ears on his fat head lay back. He lived bowl to bowl, from anyone who offered sustenance. He was no one's cat now, only his own. The mechanics thought him fearless and bold, roaming even beyond the borders of Blissville, where no neighborhood cat had gone before.

But pride before fall, the saying goes.

When he hobbled in, the mechanics laughed. And as they cared for him, they teased him.

His coat is blue again, slicked back with oil. On cold nights he seeks out the warmth only an engine can offer in an unheated garage.

He has healed mostly. And on warmer nights he now goes out to wander through the neighborhood. But he doesn't stray far.

Each morning they open the garage, he trots up to them. He rubs his back against and between their legs. He lifts up his face to their open hands. He purrs.


Blogger Janet said...

Maybe this is what is really meant by the saying "a cat has nine lives." Lovely story. XX.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Theresa said...

Wow, what a great story, although I'm a sucker for anything with an animal & a happy ending!!!!

5:37 PM  

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