Every day, as I walk to work, I pass several houses with cats. As anyone who has walked with me knows, I have a predilection for talking to (at?) animals. Some cats come over to be petted, others run away.
One particular cat, a handsome Siamese, always retreated to a safe distance, but maintained a tense, ambivalent posture — he seemed like he wanted to come over, but at the same time he wanted to run.
Right about the time my cat died last year, this Siamese seemed to undergo a change. He’d venture over, each day a little closer. And one day he came close enough that I could pet him. After that, all his ambivalence dissolved. He’d happily rub against my legs, meow, and wait for me to pet him.
I’ve nicknamed him “Buddy,” and now he’ll run all the way down the driveway (or even across the street) when he sees me coming. After I pet him, and continue on my way to work, he’ll follow me for a while.
But today, the whole story as I understand it shifted back into the realm of a Cat Mystery.
I walked by the house where Buddy lives, and out he ran. I leaned down, had my usual morning conversation with him, and was getting back up to continue my walk, when our history was cast into doubt. There, sitting just far enough to be safe, was a handsome Siamese — a virtual twin of Buddy’s — maintaining a tense, ambivalent posture that made him seem like he wanted to come over, but at the same time he wanted to run away.
So… was the Buddy who kept his distance the same Buddy who happily greets me?