This is Maggie, who saw the glowing red neon sign on Dan’s forehead that reads “Sucker,” visible only to cats. She ran up to him in a parking lot on a cold, rainy night, a scrawny, half-grown orphan of the streets, and meowed.
He said, “Yes, I understand. You’re coming with me,” and instantly scooped her up and brought her home. We made her comfy in the garage until we could have her vet-checked so we could bring her into the house with the other cats.
From the start, she was very affectionate. She wanted to demonstrate this by rubbing herself all over us whenever we visited the garage with food and water. This would have been really nice. But. She. Smelled. Terrible.
It wasn’t just the time spent living on the grungy streets, though that was a contributing factor, but parasites both internal and external – fur, ears, intestinal emissions, all reeked nearly unbearably. Fortunately the vet was able to de-worm, de-flea, de-parasite, de-ear-mite, and generally de-stinkify her, so we could invite her inside.
She retained some of her street-smart habits. She never quite realized that the self-serve cat food dish was always replenished. One morning Dan put on his shoes, only to find that she had hidden kibble in the toes. (I have heard that neglected children hoard food, too, even after they have a reliable source.) And, unlike celebrity cat Morris, she was not in the least finicky. She was particularly fond of pumpkin and corn (she also liked to play with the cobs).
And she was totally devoted to Dan, her hero and lifesaver. Around him she behaved like a French whore (or Gallic strumpet, if you prefer), even after we had her spayed. We named her Magdalena, after the famous biblical floozy, but immediately shortened it to Maggie.
Dan could arouse Maggie to a fever pitch of writhing and passion with only the use of his voice. Party guests were impressed (and perhaps a bit disturbed) by it. There he’d be, repeating her name in various tones, “Maggie. Oh, Maggie.” And there she’d be, wriggling and posturing and rolling and all but standing on her head as long as he continued. He never even had to touch her.
I mean, if they had been the same species, I wouldn’t have had a chance.