For years, the same thing would happen whenever I would visit a particular home on my pet-sitting route. I’d unlock the door and hear the frantic sounds of little cat feet. Four belonged to Chance, who would bound out from wherever in the big house he’d been to fall at my feet, purr and beg me to pay attention to him. The other four feet belonged to Cookie. Sometimes I wouldn’t hear her feet at all, as she’d already be in one of her favorite hiding places — upstairs under the bed or downstairs under the couch.
Chance was a good companion while I went about my cat-caring chores, but a few other nonresident neighborhood cats wanted my attention, too, and I’d often find them waiting by the back porch for me to fill their bowls with food and water. One was a plump and furry guy nicknamed Roly-Poly. I never had to worry about him because he was always around. I’d open the front gate and there he’d be, plopped on the grass and ready to accept whatever love I had to spare. And he was demanding, only giving me a minute or two inside before he’d start crying at the back door for his food.
And then one day something sad happened. Cookie passed away — although I’d been visiting her for years we’d never figured out how to be friends — and Chance seemed a little lonely. What happened next was predictable, but it surprised me anyway. When the owner called me to place her next order she told me Roly-Poly had moved in. The household cat count is back to two and Chance and Roly-Poly are living well together. Roly-Poly, though he’s a cat, makes me think about the course of human life, too. Sometimes it breaks your heart, but other times it makes you so glad to be here at just this moment. The waiting period between the first part and the second can sometimes feel way too long, but the good times make it worth it. And sometimes, if you’re extra lucky like Roly-Poly, you end of with ALL the toys (see photo).