Footprints to Zanzibar

A Feline Neighbor

There is this tiny black cat who belongs to our neighbor family in the flat downstairs from us.  He reminds me of myself very often, NOT in the way I ACT, hopefully, but in the way I feel on the inside, every once in awhile!  He doesn’t really fit in, either in the cat or the people world; although his people family is super kind and consistent with him – they actually saved him single-handedly from certain death, as he was an orphan kitten brought by some anonymous kindly person to an extremely kind and responsible woman veterinarian here in this dirt and weed-drenched anonymous city of two million human inhabitants.  Our neighbor family downstairs got him from her, as a very tiny kitten who still needed to be fed with a dolly bottle! They nursed him back to health and growth and the three children happily named him Ninja.

Anyways, Ninja, who never grew big or fat, spends a lot of his time peacefully, happily, hesitantly wandering around outside in the yard, trying to stay out of fights (really, “getting beat-up” sessions, for him – NOT fights) with neighborhood stray cats, big scraggly toms, who live in the rooftops all around here.

Ninja seems to me a VERY little bit fearful and detached or, really, more as if he does not know that he is a cat.  He does not know how to act cat-like. I think he thinks he’s a person!  He lets his children dress him up like a baby girl and drive him around the yard in their doll stroller by the hour, and he never seems to bite or scratch or even run away.

Another strange thing about Ninja is, he only eats vegetables.  He’s the first and only vegetarian kitty I have ever met – I think he must be empathetically trying to show identification with his human “mom”, my friend downstairs, who doesn’t eat meat either.  He is a VERY loving – to everyone – cat, though not at ALL “cuddly”; like I say, he prefers to spend the vast majority of his time wandering around outside, alone, but very near any person who happens to be around, curious, peaceful, investigative.  I think he’s intelligent because, he quickly taught himself to open the screen door to my home, if it does not happen to be latched with the hook and eye, and he loves to let himself inside, wander through the rooms, munch on a little carrot top from our compost bucket on the kitchen floor, move around with his little black paw some drying papaya seeds laid out on old newspaper in the corner of our study floor, then grabbing a mouthful of them, chewing, tasting, swallowing. Sometimes  he rests on top of our bed for an hour or so, not sleeping but seeming to meditate, big yellow eyes wide!


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