My Cat-Friend and His Favorite Shoe Box

The first cat that got really close to me was a cat I called Tom—he resembled Tom the cat in the cartoon Tom And Jerry, hence the name. One of the best thing about befriending a wild cat like Tom was I got the benefit of playing with him without having having to worry whether he pooped on my carpet (he pooped outside).

My door was rarely closed, and when it wasn’t closed, I often found him relaxing in the corner. Well, it didn’t started that way, of course. I could sense a tinge of fear when we first met: I was an unfamiliar fur-less giant (for him) and my place, an unexplored territory.

One thing I noticed about cats is they really like to scour. What’s below that bed? What’s inside that shoe box? What does sleeping on the carpet feel like? What’s on the top of that cabinet? Oh, small container? Let me in, let me in!

That’s precisely what Tom did. He scoured my place like an archeologist trying to find a fossilized fly trapped in amber. At one point, after his episodes of sniffing and touching and climbing and scratching and exploring, he saw my place as his territory, and he would walk around, get on my lap, or sleep on the shoe box as if we’ve been buddies for 31 years.

(On rainy days, I knew that I had to mop the floor because Tom would walk around with his muddy paws!)

When he was relaxing in the corner—on top of the shoe box—I could feel a certain connection with him, even though we didn’t talk. Well, I sometimes meowed to him, and he sometimes meowed back, but what the heck did that mean?

Meow!

These days, there’s no meow-meow action going on; the shoe box is still sitting in the corner, but I haven’t seen Tom in 2 years. On the last day we were together, I remember him meowing incessantly. “You hungry little boy?” I said to him. I popped a can of tomato sardines, caressed him for a while, then took a shower.

When I got out of the shower, I saw the leftover sardines, but not Tom. He ate little of it. Perhaps that was his way of saying goodbye.