I have to start with my pandemic buddy, the cat I see the most besides my own at home. My social life kind of died during the pandemic, but I do pride myself on befriending not one but two cats. This funny-looking tuxedo appeared in my yard, screaming at me, before getting spooked and running off. The next time he came over, he was more curious than scared, and we’ve been besties ever since. Being completely online for school at the time, I took to doing a lot of my work outside, and he would often join me for cuddles. After two years, I finally did some digging and found out his name and address, and now we regularly go on walks together.
The second Covid cat. To use “befriended” with Friday is a bit gratuitous. This tiny, fluffy cat appeared on our doorstep one day, dramatically crying during a snowstorm. We let her in, obviously concerned, and she immediately started acting like she owned the place. After trekking through our neighborhood in the snow, we figured out where she lived and got her back to her family. She soon began frequenting our yard until she was coming daily for a while. This stopped when she crossed paths with Patches and they clearly had a strong dislike for one another. Regardless of how often we see her, her boundaries are impossible to discern and she switches from cuddly to straight-up evil in a millisecond. I hesitate to say “befriended” because, with Friday, everything is one-sided – I avoid getting attacked by letting her come to me, but I can never approach her, which is hardly fair. I can’t lie though, I still love finding her in her driveway and calling her over for some very tentative petting.
Two cats roamed around my grandmother’s apartment some years ago, and I spent my summer peeking over her balcony trying to spot them and running down six flights of stairs whenever they appeared. One was a fluffy white cat that was all about the pets, and the other was a slightly more reserved classic tabby. A relative, who was a self-proclaimed disliker of cats, kept a brush nearby for when he’d encounter the floofy white cat. One year while their family was away, we got to feed them and check up on them. Shortly after that, they moved away, but I enjoyed their company while they were there.
During a terrifying summer hike, we stopped by a café in the mountains where we found a tiny black kitten. It was an older kitten, but it still broke my heart that it was all alone and so young. We played with it until it was time to leave. I was devastated and if I had the same encounter as an adult, I would 100% have smuggled that cat home. It seemed taken care of by the staff at the time, and I’m told it eventually got adopted, which is good news.
My grandfather’s house is somewhat of a haven for the many cats that roam the area. A large garden and pool with space to lounge is every lazy cat’s dream. This creamy orange cat started appearing some years ago and loved to hang out on chairs by the pool or on the old, decrepit swing set. At some point, I started calling him “Bibi”, sort of a spinoff of “baby” in French. Pre-pandemic, when we visited France yearly, he would always make an appearance while we were visiting!
One summer in Spain, we’d frequent a beachside restaurant after the unfortunate realization that our accommodations didn’t have Wi-Fi. From our sitting spot (we were trying not to be obvious about our Wi-Fi borrowing), we could see a duo of cats that wandered the beach, jumping on overturned rowboats and begging nearby restaurant-goers for food. They weren’t afraid of humans, but not cuddly, either. Regardless, it made a lovely summer even better to find them each evening, hanging out together in the area. And of course, I gave them spare food whenever I had the chance.
In a more recent meeting, this cat appeared in the alley behind the house we stayed in during this past summer. This toothy void was immediately friendly. With two fangs protruding past her mouth, she looked like a little vampire. She would follow us to our fence and wait to hang out with us daily. One day, when I thought I had left her outside, she apparently figured out how to breach the fence and followed me into the house. If it hadn’t been a rental, I 100% would have let her stay, but I’m also pretty sure she lived in the next house over. She also helped me bond with my little nephew of two years, whom I was meeting for the first time and who was wary of me. He’s a budding cat-lover and listened to us about being gentle with her. She wasn’t out the final morning that we left, which broke my heart! I’m committed to going back to see her one day.
This kitty was Vampire Cat’s shadow, always following her around and pouncing playfully at her tail. Much shyer than her fangy counterpart, it might be a stretch to say I befriended this cat, but by the very end of our vacation, she was accepting pets here and there. If only I’d had more time!
In the same neighborhood as Vampire Cat and Cloud Cat roamed a one-eyed orange cat. This cat seemed to have a wider perimeter than the other two and often appeared on my walks around the area. Though he enjoyed his independence, he was also super friendly. Plus, as an orange boy, he reminded me of my cat back home. And of Patches, my regular walking buddy.
In the same neighborhood as the last three cats, I encountered an orange kitten who was eager to play. With so many cats roaming about, I figured and hoped he lived nearby, though I certainly don’t condone letting such a young cat outside unsupervised. He distanced himself each time my family members tried to approach, but let me get a few pets in. A playful little lad!
Appearing on another one of my walks, this cat peered over a ledge at my sister and me before coming down to say hello and then asking for endless belly rubs. Scrungly and ragged, she may have looked centuries old but was just a baby at heart.