At approximately 9:45 PM, I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. In case you were not aware, I live alone, so any movement at all is out of the ordinary. As I focused on the site of the movement, I saw what could only be a cat's tail making its way into my bedroom.
THERE WAS A CAT IN MY APARTMENT.
I looked at the door to my right. It was still ajar. That was the only way it could have gotten in; I didn't have any open windows. It must have sneaked right behind me and around, even traversing my open, unobscured living room before I finally noticed the motion. It's kind of terrifying to think of the blind spots you have. On the other hand, of all the things that could have sneaked into my apartment, a cat was perhaps the cutest. At least it wasn't a serial killer or a cockroach.
The cat nonchalantly walked out of my bedroom and into my living room, giving me a slight acknowledgment but not really caring. There was a cat in my apartment. This was unprecedented. It seemed to be minding its own business, though, so I continued minding my own while keeping an eye on it. It strolled behind me and to the exit. Ah, yes, it had just poked its head in for a peek, and...actually, no, it turned around and went to explore the far end of the living room. A windowsill! It lay there for a bit before dropping down, examining a box of comics, and then leaping over it.
This was so strange. latropita, my IM buddy, was utterly flabbergasted. But, hey, a live cat was better than a dead rat.
The cat walked under my desk and came out the other end. It was just walking around, exploring the place. And then it discovered my couch, and, you guys, it was the most adorable and hilarious thing ever: it just sprawled out like it was the most comfortable couch ever. The cat sat there licking itself. Yes, kitty, it's a very comfy couch, I know.
latropita reminded me to go investigate the collar, and I did so, the task made easier now that the cat was in one place. I caught a bit of the name ("Elph") and a 510 phone number. I needed it to get into better light, though. First, however, I closed the door; our apartment complex didn't allow cats, so I had no idea how far it had come. What if it couldn't find its way back home?
It got off the couch and came towards my desk. It began playing with the strap of my bag on the floor, and it was the cutest thing! This gave me a better opportunity to look at the tag. Its name was Elphia. I got the full number and called, but "Amy" wasn't there! I left a message that basically went, "Hi, you have a cute cat named Elphia, and it's in my apartment." Minutes later, I realized that Elphia was a female name. Der.
Wait, where'd she go? I needed to close the bedroom and bathroom doors so I could keep an eye on her. She wasn't in the bedroom. She was...what the hell, she was in the bathtub! It took some strong verbal convincing and flagrant hand gestures to get her out of there. I closed the bathroom door after she left, and she continued exploring.
She started clawing on my desk chair, which was not cool! Not just because, well, she was clawing my chair, but she wouldn't let me sit down on my chair! Damn you, Elphia! Again, more strong verbal convincing and flagrant hand gestures. When I sat down, she jumped and sat on my lap. She had cuddled up in my lap earlier, and I had felt a great desire to keep her forever. Now, she lay on my leg, and as I pet her head, she playfully attacked my hand with her paws—her clawed paws. I tried to tell her that, no, that was a bad game that would hurt me, but I don't think she understood. She was also trying to bite the hand that hadn't fed her.
After she got off me, she messed around in the area to my left, which included a duffel bag. That she, of course, proceeded to get in. I realized that all this time, I should have been taking a lot more pictures for Cute Overload and LOLcatification.
She seemed to really enjoy the duffel bag. Maybe not as much as she liked fighting my bag strap or hiding in the far corner or walking on my couch, but it seemed like a nice place for a cat to be.
Around that time, Amy called. It turned out she lived in the building to the left of mine, which is sort of what I had suspected. I opened my window so she could call for her cat. It was very faint. I held the phone up to Elphia, but she could barely muster a meow. I told Amy I would just bring her over.
I opened the door and told Elphia it was time to go, but she was enjoying sitting on my coffee table too much. After—say it with me—strong verbal convincing and flagrant hand gestures, I got her to come outside and follow me down the stairs. Once she was down, I heard Amy next door, so I told her she could call her now.
"Elphia!" she called, and I realized I'd been pronouncing her name wrong. Maybe that's why she hadn't responded so well to me. Or maybe she's just, you know, A CAT. Because at the sound of her owner's voice, she went scurrying out the gate and next door, into Amy's arms.
I shook Amy's hand and told her it was no problem, we'd had a good time. She told Elphia to say goodnight to her "new friend" as she took her back inside.
And that was how I had a cat for forty minutes.
(I miss her already.)