Jorge came to our lives last year, some time after the spring of 2013.
I was walking home at nighttime and as soon as I opened the door I noticed a little furry fellow sitting outside in front of the entrance, a few feet away from me. He was immensely cute with his caramel coloured fur and amber eyes. Long whiskers and playful tail. I thought that was adorable and I didn't want to scare him away. So I called my parents in a whisper and they came to see the cat standing in our doorway. My sister and my mom let out an "aawwww!" in unison and one of them suggested to bring him milk. You know Latin American families: always so hospitable (we later learned that milk is actually bad for cats! Oops!). We even got to take a few pictures and videos of him with our phones. Before he went away, we managed to pet him a bit, and he seemed to had enjoyed it. A few weeks later he followed me until the back door of my house, and a few weeks after that he had the audacity to enter my house when I opened the door! We had to close the sliding doors that connect the kitchen with the living room and bedrooms, and kept him in the kitchen.
He was so curious. He would rub his neck against anything. We also found out eventually that cats have glands in their necks that, like dogs, are used to "mark" their space.
We didn't know his name, and we didn't know who he belonged to. We didn't want to get attached so we would just shush him or say "hey!". I started calling him "gato", which is 'cat' in Spanish (I'm either awful at names or wanted to make a bilingual cat out of this little dude). Until one day my mom came home with a small bag of cat treats. We were very happy seeing him enjoying those treats, but my boyfriend Jeff warned me that the owner might not like it. "Would you like if some stranger started feeding your cat?", he would say. "Well, if he was well fed and loved at home, he wouldn't be looking for attention here!", was my argument. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't help it. This cat was extremely adorable, and we were getting attached.
Jeff was the one that started calling him Jorge. I thought it was incredibly cliche as far as Latin names in North America go. I kept calling him Gato.
Eventually, we opened the doors to the living room and bedrooms for Jorge (not that he hadn't figured out how to slide the doors already!). He was fascinated with the new areas to explore. He would take his time and examine every single corner, sniff it, sense it, rub against it. My dad was afraid that the cat would destroy his new couch. But this cat showed to be a well-behaved cat and never scratched anything. Except the carpet in my room. I guess it wasn't as fluffy as the carpet in the living room, and he would treat it like a nail salon. I had to keep my room closed all the time because he would actually tear little pieces off.
His favourite spot was the window. There is something about cats and windows, ya know? He would sit for hours just looking out to the world (it was more like the 12th block of East 51st Avenue).
One day, I found the cat outside the window in the tiny balcony we have in the front of our house. He was meowing his lungs out and I was in my room. I thought he was downstairs so I opened the door but didn't see him. I heard his meowing again. It came from above me. There he was, on the second floor of my house just outside my room's window. Immediately I asked my sister why she had left the cat there, it was so mean! She said she hadn't. That the cat had left our home hours before and through the door. I didn't believe her, of course. There was no way the cat would have gotten there by himself! But a few days later I realized that the cat had indeed jumped all the way to the second floor. I was mesmerized! Cats are so deceiving: they seem so fragile and tiny and cute. But they are truly smart, cunning little creatures.
It didn't take long for the owner to find him. He was chilling outside our balcony and she spotted him. I guess we had been playing with the cat so many times that the owner had started to wonder where the heck her cat was! She rang the bell and complained that we kept her cat in our front balcony. We said no, he goes up there by himself. She wouldn't believe us, of course. She was mad. So my dad told us not to let Jorge in again. We were a bit saddened, but a week later he came back. We tried not to open the door for him, but he meowed so much and he sounded so sad. I would sneak him for a few minutes into my house and play with him and feed him before letting him out again. He always purred so much, and the way he sought your attention made you smile any time of the day.
The owner came again. This time she had seen her cat jump to our balcony, so she apologized to us. Since this time she was more calm, we talked a bit about him. His name was Frenchie. They lived 2 houses away from us, and she never had the heart to lock her cat inside her house because she knew Frenchie needed to play and just be a cat. That's how he got so many friends in the neighborhood. Apparently we weren't the only ones that she had had to ask for her pet back. I told her we called him Jorge (at this point, even I was calling him that way), just because we didn't know his name and my boyfriend came with the idea. She didn't seem very thrilled about us naming her cat, but she didn't say anything. She also commented that they and their roommate might be moving soon, but they didn't know when yet.
So the cat was still allowed to come, just not for so many hours at the time! Also, my dad had still the same impression of the owner being mad at him, so he didn't want the cat in the house at all. But that little thing grew on him and eventually said "if the owner comes and complains, I'm going to say I didn't know anything and I'll blame it all on you!". We were okay with that.
I particularly loved how he chilled on my damp towel after I took a shower, and how relaxed he seemed while sleeping. Jorge and I had developed this "game", he would follow me into the bathroom and jump right next to the sink. I would put cold water in my hand and he would drink water from it. The feeling of this raspy tongue in my hand tickled but it also melted my heart. This was the closest I had ever been to a cat. Sometimes he would play with me by biting me not very hard, and then he would lick my wrist where he had bit me. I loved that little guy. With all my heart.
|Thank you, Tom for this Christmas present you gave |
me for the cat. It made both of us really happy.
Last week, Jorge was chilling in the living room with me. He was between napping and staring into space on the couch, while I was watching TV. Suddenly I realized that the neighbors -Jorge's owners- were putting some furniture into 3 different small cars. I panicked because I thought they were going to ring our doorbell and demand their cat (he had been in our house for 3 hours at least). For some reason it didn't hit me that they were moving. So I grabbed Jorge, opened the door and let him out. I surely didn't want to get yelled at.
It didn't dawn on me that that was going to be the last time I would see Jorge. The last time I would feel the weight and warmth of his body in my arms. The last time I would look into those amber eyes.
I still somehow look for his presence outside our door or balcony. Try to keep quiet so I can hear his meows outside my window. Look around in his favourite hiding spots, hoping to find him sitting there or taking a nap. Even though he wasn't mine, he really grew on me. I got attached. Too attached. It's hard not to think about him without tearing up.
I just hope wherever you are, Jorge, you are happy and healthy. Loved and warm. Fed and strong. I surely miss you and I can only hope you remember me, even if I was just a mistress of yours.