I’ve been a contented cat since I’ve settled into my new home (with new owners) last April. Although I missed my former owner terribly—especially that first night—I’ve grown to love it here. What’s not to love? Both she and he give me belly rubs and soothing back massages many times daily. I have the food bowl, water bowl, and litter box all to myself. And most days, at least one of them is home to cater to my needs. That’s a good life!
But for several weeks recently, something weird was going on. First, my former owner came walking through the door one day, dragging suitcases behind her. I was happy to see her: Another pair of hands to pet me! Then she schlepped all her gear down to the basement and closed the door behind her. Another weird thing is that the glass door to the basement had a covering on it that blocked my vision of what was taking place on the other side.
I accepted this new normal, but it got stranger the next evening when the doorbell rang. Although I don’t take well to strangers, I remained in my then-favorite spot on the living room sofa and observed. What a shock I got when I saw a man holding a large crate that was making awful sounds.The sounds were cat-like, but if this was a cat, he or she was miserable. Such wailing at such high decibels! I don’t know where this cat had been, but it must have terrified him…or her. My former owner greeted the man (and the crate) and wooshed the crate quickly down to the basement. The crate was still howling and making sounds, sounds that began to sound a little familiar. It soon dawned on me that the crate might hold my brother Sam. I had lived with Sam all my life until this past April, but we weren’t on very good terms. No sibling rivalry, just apathy. What was he—and my former owner—doing in my new home? And why were they hiding in the basement?
Days passed, and although my former owner came upstairs many times a day, the cat who I thought might be Sam did not. Then one day, the cat was able to tear at the bottom of the door covering and push his face against the glass. I was intrigued and walked over to my side of the glass door to see what was going on. That cat sure looked like my brother Sam. Black fur, mysterious green eyes… But still, I wasn’t quite sure. Next, to my surprise, my owners opened the door, and the black cat scurried into the room. We approached each other and sniffed. Yep. This was my bro, all right. We sniffed some more and touched our faces to each other.
Then I came to my senses. What was Sam doing here, in my new good life? Did he think he was going to share belly rubs and my almost-always clean litter box with him? And what about my food? I leapt at him and began to snarl; he followed my lead, and soon we were in a full-blown cat fight. If either of us had front claws, I’m sure we would have drawn blood. No sooner had we started this fracas, we were pulled apart, and Sam was put back in the basement. Thank goodness. I’m all for a family reunion, but I’d like it to be in some neutral territory, like the vet’s office.
You’ve probably guessed that all my owners made sure Sam wasn’t allowed out of the basement again. He was okay down there when his owner was home, but if she stayed away too long, he began to make increasingly mournful noises.
Once I overheard a conversation that included the words “Sam” and “pooped” and “carpeting.” Then there were hurried searches for cleaning solutions and rags. This couldn’t be good. What did that scofflaw brother of mine do downstairs? Oh, now I remember his habits in my former home. Certainly not as careful about targeting the litter box as I am (or usually am). But my owners were still smiling and seemed not at all upset about Sam’s accidents.
Then, six weeks after my former owner and Sam arrived, they moved out, to a new place in the city. The paper covering was removed from the door to the basement, and it got quieter in the house. I even got to sneak downstairs once, and everything looked the same as it did before they came—except for a few unsightly spots on the floor. I can’t wait until the carpet cleaners show up to remove all traces of that interloper.
If I dredge up my fading memories of the two of us frolicking around as kittens (or Sam frolicking and me hiding under the bed), I must admit I still have feelings for him. He’s my brother!