Portrait of a Cat

I’d spent the day birding and was on my way home when I pulled into a small forest preserve about five miles from my house for one last look around. I parked and opened the car door, then leaned over to get my binoculars. A half-grown kitten ran out of the woods, climbed in the car, settled in my lap and began purring and licking herself. I gently tipped her out and began walking the trails. She followed. Actually, follow isn’t the right word. She walked between my feet the entire time, even when I went out on a floating dock. I left her sitting forlornly in the trail as I drove away.

I told my wife about the kitten, and of course we had to go back. The trail was empty, but when I called, we immediately heard a “meow” and the cat came bounding out of the woods. We took her home. The vet told us she was about nine months old.

That was 12 or 13 years ago. On the day we found her, we named her Destiny, but we just call her “the cat.” She’s short and fat and doesn’t have a particularly noteworthy personality. She’s not remotely interested in any other person (and hates any other animal), but she likes us and trusts us and wants to be around us and when she’s not throwing up in our shoes, we like her too.

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