How a scraggly, skinny cat purred its way into my heart.

So somewhere along the way, I managed to acquire a cat.

I used to have a couple of kitties when I was younger, but my extreme allergies forced us to find them new homes, an act that preceded my love affair with my non-sneeze-inducing friends Maxie the Old English Sheepdog and Oscar the Pug. I vowed never again to own a cat, and that, I thought, was the end of it.

Of course, what can you do when a cat chooses you? I’m promising never to let the guy inside, so for now my new pal Felix has taken up residence on and under our porch from time to time. I’m used to stray cats in the area, pretty much all the ones I’ve seen so far have scurried away whenever I approached. The day I saw this skinny tom in my flowerbed, I figured he’d run off too.

Instead, he leapt joyfully towards me, assaulting me with deep hearty purrs and winding himself round and round my legs. He was long and thin with impossibly soft gray and white fur and sharp green eyes. I rubbed his battered ears and cuddled him for a while before telling him to wait on the steps. Ever since his leftover turkey feast on my front steps that day, he’s continued to come back for more, snuggling graciously with me and Hubby as we supply him with nibbles and fresh water.

In keeping with his outdoor-cat nature, Felix disappears for stretches of time, living who-knows-where until he makes his way back to our porch. But every time he returns, we find him waiting patiently in the flowerbed and purring to beat the band.

The week that our southern Maryland town got assaulted with a seemingly never-ending blizzard, I worried for him. I had seen no sight of my kitty friend and hoped fervently that he had found someplace warm to stay.

Then, one morning as I clambered outside with Oscar, I found tiny paw-prints in the snow.

Article © 2010 by Molly E. Weeks