Needless to say, my tender-hearted wife took pity on the hungry, bedraggled beast � which she was in the habit of doing for each stray that came down the pike.
"But this one's different," she explained to me, as I chided her for feeding the forlorn feline.
Then she discovered that the cat was pregnant.
Being a caring woman (and since the cat was not Catholic), she called our friendly veterinarian and scheduled an abortion and a hysterectomy.
The operation was successful, and since Misty had just met the meandering tomcat, no kittens were involved. I paid for the surgery, of course.
Misty had found a new home, and she showed up regularly at feeding time. I mentally calculated how much cat chow it was costing me.
This went on for a half dozen years. Phyllis, meanwhile, made friends with her "outdoor kitty," although she was unable to pet the cat unless it had its head in the food dish.
Then � fast forward � we left the farm and moved to town. Phyllis, however, worried about Misty and made daily trips to see that the cat had food � using up expensive gas in the process. I paid for that, too.
By this time I couldn't care less about how many of its nine lives were left, and I told my wife about it. Forcefully! She countered with: "But we can't let Misty starve to death; we've got to find her a nice home."
She almost wore out the phone calling lots of people with no luck. She was about ready to give up, and then she had a conversation with Jen Holst, ostensibly to have a shoulder to cry on. (The Holsts sold us our city dwelling.)
Jen surprised Phyllis by saying: "Sure, we'll take her!"
My wife was overjoyed, and so the transfer took place. However, you'll be amazed at what happened next.
When Bill Holst (the father-in-law of the new owner) came by for a visit, he exclaimed: "Why, that's my cat, Boots!"
He described how Boots had wandered off about six years ago and was given up for lost. Now she was back in the family with a new name.
Bill tried to talk Jen into giving Boots � or Misty � back to him, but she wouldn't hear of it. Misty � or Boots � was going to live in the screened-in porch until she was comfortable in her new surroundings.
But then Andy Holst, Jen's husband, let Boots � or Misty � out to see if she'd stay. Not only did Misty not stay, but she disappeared and didn't come back.
That's why this story is continued. Where is Misty now? Is she going back to Phyllis's cat dish a half mile away? Did she remember that she was really Boots and she wanted to return to Bill?
The odyssey goes on. If she meets that lustful tomcat again, will she tell him about her operation? Will Misty find a new owner as kind as Phyllis?
Stay tuned. The cat will surely turn up again � or this story will not have a happy ending.
� 2005 Robert F. Karolevitz