I used to feed a colony of kitties behind a store.

Then one day, some nasty biatch came out of the store and told me some other nasty biatch complained about me. So, shoo. Don’t you come back now, y’hear.

I laughed in her face. I’d been threatened with dogs and weapons before that date. I even had a Black man with an unleashed pit bull call the cops on me for feeding the ducks.

Like bitch, I ain’t scared of none of you. Also, I even asked the cop, what Black man calls the cops on a white woman? You’re lucky I’m no Karen and he’s lucky you’re a red-headed wuss.

(I’m lucky I lived…)

Then one night, my car broke down there. No big, just the battery. But it was a long wait in the rain with zero power. Which means the car doesn’t lock. Super fun.

So I took a break. A month in Key West kind of break.

I came back and some of my animals didn’t know me. But they were still grateful for the foodz. Eventually I got it down to once a week. Then I got it down to “if that.”

Meantime, I adopted a colony at my own compound. I still get shit from the property owners, like I did at the store. But they mostly harass someone else who is way more visible about it.

Her favorite is a tiny white cat, Amelia. My favorite was a tiny black cat, who closes his eyes when anyone walks by so we won’t see him.

Amelia is funny. I went to feed her the other night, and she wanted to tell me that the black cat was on the other side of the car that I was feeding her on.

(They all wait under my car, then we go to a van with an ACLU sticker for feeding time.)

I said, I know, honey. I got you both.

I put food out for the other kitty, who sat under the van and kept his eyes closed. Amelia supervised. I took a few steps away, and I could see she went back to her food. And I saw open eyes over the other meal.

Now we have a new kitty.

I was calling him Nutmeg because he looks like a kitty I babysat not long ago. My friend calls him Poppins because he hides in the bushes and pops out when he sees our ankles.

Now I call him my little JalapeƱo Popper.

Popper loves to weave in and out of my ankles. I would probably be covered in fur if I didn’t shave my legs religiously, pretty much the one pre-pandemic ritual I couldn’t part with.

He doesn’t even want to eat till I leave. He just cherishes our petting and play time. It’s sweet and sad and heart-wrenching and joy-inducing, all in those moments we get before I leave to feed the ducks on the other side of the complex.

Anyway. I don’t have any stories. Just love these little fur-beasts so much.

I never really wanted kids because I was afraid I wouldn’t love them enough. But cats? Love. Love, love, love.

Hope my Popper has a safe place to sleep. This is a nice, quiet place by the sea. I just really, really hope someone else nice feeds him or takes him in. But considering I only have one friend in a compound of 100 mostly foreign-owned units, I’m going to guess not.

Good night, kitties.

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