To fully understand this story you have to keep in mind a few things; First, we had recently lost both of our beloved cats to cancer a few months before, they were brother and sister from the same litter, and were 19 years old and a huge part of our family, and we didn’t have it in us to get a new kitten. The second thing is that I was very heavy, and in order for me to stay cool, we kept our front door open most of the time. Our next door neighbors had three cats at the time.  It was Thanksgiving and our neighbors had left for a week to visit family they had in Palm Springs, and had left food out for their cats, but they had locked their cats out of the house for the duration of their trip and it had rained for most of the four day Thanksgiving Holiday and it was also cold at nights. The rain had washed away most of the cat’s food and Fang, the oldest of their cats, happened to be a black kitty who looked just like our male cat Pye, who had passed away.

It was the day after Thanksgiving and it was raining hard and cold but as always I was hot and the front door was open when Fang just walked right in, stood in our living room and started meowing at us. From the urgency of his meowing, we surmised he was hungry so we gave him some food and he scarfed it down, he was starving. He spent the night at our house then the next night, so that by Monday, almost a week later, he felt right at home, safe, warm and well fed.

Our neighbors eventually came home and in a few hours they started looking for Fang, only to see him siting next to me. They came to our door and called his name but he took one look at them, that way only a cat can, with complete distain, and he put his head down and went right back to sleep curled up on our couch, he had no intentions of going anywhere.  I invited them in to get their kitty and they picked him up and took him home, but as soon as he was free he would come right back into our house and fall asleep in his favorite corner of our couch.  After three days of retrieving their cat, only to have him jump ship they gave up thinking that he would miss them and come back home. Fang was mad and if you’ve ever had a cat you know they can let you know in ways only a cat can, that they are upset with you. Their daughter would come by and call him but he would give her that same look of distain. She would ask me why we “took” her cat and I would explain that we didn’t do anything he had adopted us and she was free to take him back with her, the door is always open, so he’s not being held hostage by us.  Besides, they had a two year old cat and a kitten still, but Fang was by far the mushiest and more loving cat of the three.

It is now Christmas and Fang was still not in a forgiving mood towards his owners, and was quite comfortable with his living arrangements where he was. We put up our Christmas tree and took pics of Fang with us by the tree, there might have even been a present or two under the tree for him.  He loved to curl up underneath the tree and swat the low hanging ornaments off the tree. Between Christmas and New Years Fang got a little too comfortable with us and decided to stake his claim on our house by urinating on some of the wife’s shoes in our closet. We had to gently put him out and keep the doors closed for a few days for him to get the hint, and he did eventually go back to the neighbors where he lived. It was New Year’s Eve and we had a party at the house and amongst our guests were our neighbors, Fangs owners. We had the pictures developed and we were showing people pics of our Christmas, the wife, Fang and myself posing next to the tree and forgot the cat was in the pics but our neighbor’s didn’t think it was funny, but they were the only ones, everyone else at the party loved our story.  Although Fang didn’t know it at the time (how could he, he’s a cat!) but Fang’s presence with us for a month helped to ease the grief my wife and I were feeling over the loss of our kitties.

© 2015 Excerpt from the upcoming book: Stories For Lambykins by James Szeles