First I found his collar in the backyard – “Lil’ Rex” and a phone number. I returned the collar and met his owner who mentioned that all three of his cats, Lil’ Rex, Big Tex, and Spanky, spent the majority of their time in our yard (which he dubbed “Shangri-la…for Cats.” The Scout started feeding Rex tidbits from the barbecue. No, no, no, I said. He’s going to be here all the time. But furry tiger-looking things have a way of making sure their needs get met, and Rex knows how to work the meows and the purrs and the stretches that say, “Surely you see how beautiful and talented I am, especially compared to my brother Big Tex who is too stupid to get over here and eat your food.”
I’m terribly allergic to cats. But I let Rex sit on my lap and scratch him under the chin and talk to him like he’s a dog. I don’t think cats care for verbal niceties, but Rex puts up with them. Afterward, I walk to the washing machine like an arthritic robot and remove all my clothing. In the shower I hose off like Meryl Streep in Silkwood.
He looks like a lovely ampersand to me.