Monday, April 21, 2008

Herding Cats

Sometimes I have a sort of holistic view of the universe. I like the idea of a fundamental interconnectedness of all things - everything's related to everything else...

Friday I was thinking about herding cats, which might be an odd thing to consider... and then on Saturday night, out of the blue, the following occurred:

After I got back from my parents' house, I went outside to do my laundry. When I do that I leave my bedroom door to the outside open. it takes maybe 5 or 10 minutes tops, and then I come back in and close it. Later I was sitting at my computer when all of a sudden a small orange and white cat walks into my room. "Hey there little guy," I said, "how did you get in here?"

My first thought was that Lowski had gotten a cat, but that couldn't be because really, what are the chances he would do something like that without letting his landlord know? Also, you'd think I'd have noticed if there were a cat mewing in the house. Besides, Lowski had been gone for at least a day, and his door to my house was closed. So the cat would have had to have been in my house all day, and probably overnight, with a bell on, without me noticing.

My next thought was that maybe a door was open around the house, so I checked - no door, no window open. Which brought me to the only logical explanation... The cat must have wandered in while I was out doing laundry. That had to be it - there's no other possible way there could be a cat in my house.

"Once you rule out the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth."
- Sherlock Holmes

I honestly didn't know what to do. It was a very friendly and pretty cat - about a year old. I found myself wanting to keep it, but I couldn't - the cat had a collar and a bell (though no tag), it was obviously someone's pet. Probably a neighbor cat which was prowling my courtyard and noticed an open door. I looked outside, as if maybe the owner would happen to be in the street looking for it - obviously no luck there. I decided the best course was to put the cat outside, and it would find its way home. Cats are good at that.

Actualizing that plan proved a little bit tricky, the cat was making itself at home under my bed, behind the couch, in the closet, behind the computer... finally I cornered him and picked him up... put him out in the courtyard, and blocked his persistent attempts to come back in. He didn't seem to want to leave the courtyard, so I got him a dish of water, just in case he was thirsty. After a while he was gone.

Sunday afternoon I was talking to Lowski and went into his room, and I saw a cat dish.

I asked Lowski if he had a cat, and he gave me some inconsistent story about a friend of his that got a cat but was irresponsible and left it at Lowski's place for a couple days or something. It was clearly false, but oddly it ended with "my friend called me this morning and said he came and picked up the cat." A phone call later Lowski announced that in fact his friend hadn't picked up the cat, and that his girlfriend was going to come over and help him look for it.

Later, when I got home from frisbee, Lowski's car was gone, and I knocked on his door (no response) so I opened it to see if the cat was there... no cat, but there was a girl in his room (the girlfriend, I presumed). I talked to her about the cat, and asked who's cat it was, and got the obvious answer.

Late last night, the cat turned up again, so all is well on that end... but I'm not sure exactly what to do about Lowski. It turns out that taking care of a spoiled 20 year old is a lot like herding cats. Part of me wants to let him keep it, because I like cats, and it's cute and cuddly... another part of me isn't sure I could get him to get rid of it if I wanted to. but mostly I feel like I ought to tell him he can't have a pet in my house until he grows up and proves he's responsible. From what I can tell, he's clearly not - he consistently leaves his TV and/or the AC on with the door open (not just unlocked, but wide open) when he leaves the house. The one time I asked him to do anything at all - put out the trash because I was going out of town the day before it got picked up - he spaced out and forgot. And of course he got a cat without checking with his landlord, and then lied to me about it so I wouldn't be upset.

I don't care if Lowski lies to his fraternity people abut why he's not at whatever their event is. I personally don't care if he lies to his teachers or his parents about stuff either. But I can't abide by someone living in my house and lying to me. I'm afraid as much as I like the little guy (I mean the cat), I'm going to have to tell Tyler "no pets allowed."

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