Last week, Boss came over to my desk and said, "You want another cat?"
"Oh my God-- no, but thanks."
"How many do you have?" he asked.
"Three. They rule my life. If I got another cat to upset the balance, they would probably murder me in my sleep," I said. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, there's a cat that's been living under the shed out back for the last couple of months. She's a nice little kitty. I'll take you to see her." Boss and I stepped out of the office and walked out to the equipment graveyard. We stood by the shed and called out to the kitty.
She slunk out from underneath the shed-- a beautiful silky-haired ginger tabby, with enormous paws, a long narrow face, and a long fluffy tail. She immediately came to me, and started rubbing her sides and face along my legs. Back and forth, this way and that. Awww! So sweet! I fell in love, instantly.
I asked Boss, "Do we need a shop cat?"
"Well," he said, "We sure do have a lot of mice in the water department. That building is infested with them. We could use a mouser, because those humane traps don't work very well."
"If I got permission from Dick, could we keep her in the shop at night and let her wander around outside during the day? I'll take responsibility for her food and water."
"Sure-- I don't see why not. We probably could use her, that's for sure."
During my lunch hour, I went down to the grocery store to get our new cat some food. Kitty was very lean from living outdoors and could probably use a good meal or two. While on my errand, I decided that "Nicole" would be the perfect name for her-- after Nicole Kidman-- being ginger-haired, long and lean.
After my return from the store, I talked to Dick, the supervisor of that department. "Sure, I think it's a great idea," he said. "I can't do it today, but next week I'll make a kitty door for her in the shop, and she can come and go as she pleases."
Later that afternoon, a guy who works with Dick in the water department found out we were going to have a shop cat. I'll call this guy "The Great White Hunter" ("GWH") for reasons I'll explain in a moment.
"Aw, we don't need a shop cat," GWH complained. "The last one we had died because it ate poison, and it shit and pissed all over the place. Who told you we could have a cat here?" he asked me.
"Dick did!" I said, pointing to him standing nearby. "The cat's not going to eat the poison-- she's going to have a cat door-- she'll go outside to go to the bathroom. You probably won't even see her."
"Well, shit," he said. "We just don't need one."
Dick commented, "GWH is allergic to cats."
I explained, "Well, she'll be outside, so I don't think you'll even notice she's been there." GWH, however, was not happy about Nicole living in the shop.
Now-- GWH travels all over the world to hunt. The water department is plastered with photos of him with his latest kills-- bush bucks, warthogs, zebras, deer, elk, ducks, and even a monkey (which horrified me). In the shop, stuffed and mounted heads of his quarry line the walls. A warthog skull sits on the kitchen table of the shop.
The thought crossed my mind that GWH would hurt Nicole, but I guiltily dismissed that idea.
Saturday, I stopped by the empty complex to make sure Nicole had enough food and water for the weekend.
She was gone.