There is a little calico kitten that hangs out in my yard.
At first I thought she was a neighbor's cat, but now I think she thinks she lives here which makes her my cat, which is a very exciting turn of events.
However, she is reluctant to join me in my excitement.
I am enjoying the challenge of luring her in, though, and am surprised and frustrated by her stubbornness and commitment to the wild life.
I don't even care if she wants to be an outdoor cat (a privilege denied my others) but I want to put a collar on her and get her fixed before someone traps and releases her and cuts her ear to mark her, which will make her look raggedy.
"Ashley, is that a bowl of cat food out by the pool? Please do not leave cat food out, we do not need every stray in the neighborhood --"
"Uh, you can't tell me to let a kitten starve to death. That is a BABY. I will pick the food up at the end of each day, but I'm feeding her."
"We don't need another cat."
The next day: "I see there are cat toys next to the food bowl now. It seems like you're trying to get that cat to live here."
"It is a BABY cat!! We have nine million toys our spoiled cats don't play with, there is no harm in putting a ball and a little catnip mouse out there."
Two days later: "I see there's what looks like a small wooden cat house out under that tree in the yard?"
"Can you believe I found that on the side of the road? Someone was throwing it away! I was just thinking it would be nice if the little cat could get out of the rain."
The cat wants me to feed it and leave it alone, a sentiment I can really empathize with but can't accept.
We are making great progress, though. Now I can sit across the pool and talk softly while not moving at all, or, if I feed her, I'm allowed to sit on a bench in my yard and watch her eat.
We're going to be best friends.