While doing laundry last night, I was met quite deliberately at the bottom of the stairs by a small light grey feline. We (unfortunately) have several stray cats around the neighborhood, so I didn't really think anything of it and expected it to run as soon as it realized I was present. Instead, it followed me all the way to the laundry room AND back, rubbing against my legs and purring and demanding to be petted. Clearly not a usual stray. When we got up to the landing by my door, I could see that she (had some calico to her, so 99% sure about the sex) was older than "kitten" but not quite full-grown. I'd guess less than 9 months old, but that could depend on how long she'd been out on the street. I sat and petted her for a bit, and then (of course, because I'm a sucker) got a small bowl of cat food and one of the ratty old towels that pass for kitty blankets around here and set them outside for her. She tried to follow me directly into the apartment (which was NOT met kindly, judging by Teddie's sudden transformation into a three-foot round, hissing, spitting, growling furball - who knew he had it in him?!) but I was able to get her back outside again. (Teddie spent the rest of the night guarding the front door.)
I was in a hurry this morning and didn't think about the dish or blanket outside until I got two voicemails from my landlady, whom I had asked to drop off some paperwork. (I don't get phone reception in my work building, they just show up as voicemail.) The first was "Hey, I dropped off your paperwork like you asked. I noticed you have food and a blanket outside your door, did you lose your cat? Let us know - we don't really want food out to encourage all the strays around here, but we'd be happy to help you find your kitty."
The second was "I just called you five seconds ago, but wanted to let you know your kitty came home. I saw her earlier today and didn't realize she was yours, but she was sitting outside your door and crying, so I went ahead and let her in."
Um. Problem. Oh dear.
Luckily, it was already about 3:30p and Recruiter and I were just getting to the "we might just sit around and twiddle our thumbs because it's 3:30p on a Monday" point, so I raced home with visions of everything from carpets covered in fur and cat urine to (optimistically) a pair of cuddled up kitties to (pragmatically) two fight-injured felines and an expensive trip to the vet. I walk in the door and immediately start calling Teddie. I can hear him grumbling under the bed from the living room. I then notice a light grey blob on the couch. She was curled up, comfy as you please, right on top of my couch. She woke up when I came over to her, stretched as if she owned the place, and then came straight over to me like "Oh good! You're finally home! You may pet me now!" She's clearly fine, so I continued on my quest to find MY cat. He has evaporated into a pair of glowing green eyes in the farthest corner he can get to under the bed and is still grumbling and hissing any time she gets anywhere near, and of course, she's doing the "Oo, what are we looking at?!" routine.
I finally got her corralled into the old cat carrier and drag Teddie out from under the bed and check him over. He seems to be fine, although I think his pride is a bit wounded from getting caught hiding from a girl. He streaks back into another of his hideyholes the second I let him go, so now what to do with her? She's clearly used to being fussed over, and living indoors, ergo she probably has an owner. I am in NO position to form any kind of attachment, seeing as I leave two weeks from tomorrow and am having trouble finding someone to take care of the cat I already have. I don't have the space or time right now to properly introduce two cats to each other, not to mention the fact that I have no idea what the true health of the female actually is, so I didn't really want her around Teddie. (Even if she only had fleas, that would drive me nuts!)
I ended up taking her to the SB County Animal Shelter over on Foster Road. I hated to do it, but I needed to make sure she was both taken care of and healthy without paying vet bills, and I was really really hoping her owner had microchipped her and could be found and contacted. She is a sweet, sweet kitty, very beautiful (very light grey with flecks of orange throughout her coat and white mittens), and clearly intelligent enough to sniff out a sucker for cats. I'm going to put up fliers in the laundry room and mail areas of both apartment complexes and hope that her owner sees them. I explained my situation to the personnel at the shelter, and if she is unclaimed by the time I get back from Basic, I said I would be willing to adopt her.