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  • Jodie Harburt

Black Cat

The skinny black cat spies upon us with her bright yellow eyes. She is feral and fearful, never closer than a few meters away and only that close because I put food out.

Other cats upset Zilla. Zilla is our cat, we adopted and domesticated her, we even had her reproductive organs chopped out so she'd comply with our idea of cohabitation, to save her the inconvenience of procreation and also responsibly ensuring a controlled population. We love our cat. She's almost 10 years old now and very antisocial among her own kind. Encroaching other cats cause her to feel insecure and then she's inclined to pee in odd places so we keep others out and though she's free to come and go they are not. We feed and cherish her and extend charity to

the others by occasionally putting food out. I could hear the screen door banging as Black Cat tried to claw it open to get to Zilla's food inside. I'd put food out yesterday, Black Cat was being insatiable and invasive. We weighted the screen, but she persisted and managed to enter and devour the food; the food that belongs to my privileged cat... who belongs to me.... A few days later I saw the kittens, 3 wild things scampering about in abject terror when I approach. I put more food out. The screen clawing continued and I considered closing the actual door too despite my reliance upon the fresh breeze that cools us on these hot summer days. I turned the concept of 'closing the door' around in my mind. It loomed ominous like a wall, a border, a barbed wire fence... I saw myself armed with weapons and self righteous bigotry. I saw bias and privilege and the thick walls that stand between us and fairness and..... the needs of a kitten I left the door open. The black cat is a cat. My cat is a cat. One is inside and the other is out. Out, just like a refugee. Homeless. Unloved. Now when I hear the scratching at the screen I sit at my desk and half listen to her sneak in and take her fill and I can see Zilla through the window less perturbed, in fact nonchalant. Her ample white fluffy paunch draped as she reclines at a safe vantage point upon out terrace table. Her stomach is full. Some days have passed and now even the kittens are managing to claw and enter for raids. They are training me to be regular with the filling of their bowl too. Zilla has adapted and knows that her bowl will be replenished when she meows me to. Face to face confrontation with Black Cat are too much for both of them, but they watch each other from afar and if Zilla has a neurotic episode I will clean up the mess. All the cats are fed and I'm not closing any doors.

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