cat black food paws

Harley, a journey

I once spent a summer in a van with Harley, one, because I wasn’t about to ride 2,000 miles on the back of his bike, and two, he got a note from a kitty in Fresno that one of her litters over the years had been his.

Wanting to see his kittens once before, well, you know, we headed out.

We found Cleo working in a catnip dispensary, face full of piercings. Harley introduced himself, and she scoffed. “Yeah, right. It’s still full price,” she said. He tried again, but she wasn’t having it. No discounts. No sob stories. 

We went to Folsom next where Shadow was doing a nickel for grand theft. Harley put his paw up to the glass and asked if having a father figure might’ve made a difference. Shadow rubbed his head where his ear was missing. “Coulda taught me how to fight, maybe,” he said.

Becoming more discouraged, we found Tiger and Tigger, both with their own happy families. Harley wouldn’t even ring the doorbell, just watched them eat dinner through the window. Didn’t want to interrupt, he said.

He didn’t want to look Patches up. Thank God for Patches.

We found her coaching softball practice at the ruritan club fields. Harley wouldn’t get out of the van, paws wrapped around him, shaking his head. I introduced myself and explained what we were doing and how it’d gone so far.

Patches smiled and waved him over. She had always wanted to play catch with her dad. Didn’t think it impacted her one way or the other, just something she’d always been curious about. So, she tossed him a glove, and I watched them lob that ball back and forth with the sun setting behind them.

They went well after dark under the stadium lights, and Harley was all smiles when he climbed into the van. He didn’t stop smiling when I dropped him off at home either.

(You may recognize this dude from our January newsletter. Every month we send out The Critter Courier where we feature photos of your pets, post informative pet-related content, stories, and holidays schedules.)