Rupert the Wanderer and His New Green Collar

Saturday, February 24, 2018

About a year ago, two of our neighbors knocked on our door about 7 p.m. Jill was holding a large, though skinny, cat with long orange fur. “We found him on the corner, meowing, and obviously lost. Could you keep him for one night?”

One night turned into a year, during which Rupert (as the cat became known as to us, though I’m not sure he ever accepted the name) often demanded the right to be outside or inside according to his schedule. He was very affectionate and friendly, and we noticed that he like to “work” the neighborhood like a political operative. Quite the charmer. After we let him out in the morning, he tended to hustle down the block a couple of houses to wait for a young school girl to emerge from her house, knowing that she loved to pet him and provide him with additional treats. It didn’t seem to be much more than ordinary dry cat food, but he treated it as an homage befitting his stature as a newly empowered feline. “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” indeed.

It turned out that he was at least 11 years old. We took him to the vet, and an embedded chip was dated back in the middle of the last decade. Unfortunately, the registration had lapsed, and there was no way to trace Rupert’s history of companionship.

About a week ago, we let him out in the morning, and he didn’t come back in the evening. In fact, he didn’t return until noon the next next day. A pajama party, no doubt. Rupert had been fixed at some point, so it was a platonic rave in all likelihood, but we couldn’t help but wonder where he had dallied. The nights have been cold. He stayed with us with the following night, but then disappeared again for a whole night. This time he came back with a green collar, with a little bell attached.

While I feel very attached to Rupert by this point, I don’t feel possessive. Rupert comes, and Rupert goes. Thus saith and giveth Bast. On the other hand, I didn’t want Rupert’s new caretakers to think he was completely unaccounted for. So I typed up a note and attached it to a red collar I purchased at the store where I used to take Cordelia to get her baths. It touched me very much that one of the workers recognized me and remembered Cordelia.

Rupert has spent the past two nights at his new home, which is an apartment in a courtyard behind the apartment with his favorite young friend. The image that accompanies this post was taken on our front porch several months ago. Rupert was squeezed between the top of a sofa and front plate glass window. The picture always seemed to hint at a crystal ball. I only wish him the best of a content life.

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