Lefty got her name by way of being left at the wrong place at the wrong time—however, she took it to mean something it was never intended to be. She obviously was a bit taken aback when they locked her inside the shop and went on their merry way. At first, she was frightened; figure it was like you being left inside a mall or a movie theater when the lights go down and the doors are clicked shut for the night. Oops—she didn’t hear that last call. She had been in the habit of playing hide-and-seek with the rest of her feline family in the shop where the two People who feed them a daily meal “worked.” She never thought what they did was all that hard, she wouldn’t have called it work—the food they fed her didn’t seem to involve hunting. (Some cats claim it to be junk food and say that no self-respecting cat would eat something they hadn’t caught fresh. Heck, it comes in a bag, for Christ’s sake.)
So, after her fear settled down somewhat, she began to explore, and this time she was allowed the luxury of no interference, no being shooed out the door like some common criminal or vagrant. The shop was full of little cubbyholes and nooks, just the right size for catnapping. There was even a water bowl and some food that the little dog apparently forgot to eat (those domestic dogs, those pets, they’re so spoiled. Bet they never had to fight for a meal). She spent several hours sleeping here and there, and generally followed the scent of her uppity sibling who was “rescued” when she was three weeks old and given a home with the People and even a job as “shop cat.” Apparently, so the word among the family goes, she was thought to be the only surviving kitten and therefore scooped up. Actually, she just wandered away from the rest of the ferals and serendipitously got herself a forever home INDOORS! Rumor has it that she became so beloved by her adoptive cat family at the house where the People live that she is now a fulltime housecat and doesn’t have to work anymore.
Well, Lefty wasn’t opposed to a little hard work; in fact, this “shop cat” thing seemed like a pretty good gig. She decided that perhaps she should do some reconnaissance—check the perimeters, make sure no mice were lurking, no roaches smirking (she hated to see a roach smirk), and above all, no other cats skulking. She loved her clowder, her family, her peeps, and yet she was quickly growing interested in filling the job vacancy. In fact, the People should realize that she’s family by way of Frankie (the name they gave her sister), and if her sister could do it, so could she—perhaps even better.
As the night wore on, she became more and more optimistic. Maybe the People intended for her to spend the night, to try out for the position. And then a thought too wonderful to believe crossed her mind: what if they wanted her, like, to be family, and not just a feeding obligation? She had just assumed that the relationship with the People was merely the result of her and her family being brought (by the People) to the attention of the local SPCA and then qualifying for the Trap-Neuter-Return program. All the cats agreed that being tricked into cages and taken to someplace in a car (a giant machine that cats do not trust) to have something called surgery, was a somewhat harrowing experience. But the program did allow for them to stay a family, remaining in the little niche they had carved out for themselves. And there seemed to be another plus: for some blessed reason, none of ‘em ever got pregnant again, and boy cats never had to play the “baby daddy” role (of course, their popularity on the dating circuit diminished).
So, Lefty spent the rest of the evening thinking about her new life with these tall bipeds and how fun it was going to be to have her very own bowl of water and a safe place to sleep and a shop to show off. The little dog came and went with the People every day, so she’d have some time to herself in the evenings. And she would make them all proud and hunt little bugs at night, make sure mice knew that there was a new sheriff in town and that they were not welcome in her People’s shop, in her new home. Oh, this was going to be great fun.
She finally fell asleep, and when they unlocked and entered the door the next morning, she was so beside herself with excited mews that the People thought she was hurt and scooped her up into their arms. “Wonder if she got stuck in here all night?”
“Must have, that’s why she’s so upset.”
“Well, let’s put her outside, I’m sure she can’t wait to get out.”
Lefty meowed back, “Nooooo! Please let me stay. Come on, you will fall in love with me, I promise!” (That is right, cats do understand what we say—didn’t you know that? Just ask any cat.)
Well, the People were not as dense as most cats would have you believe. They quickly realized Lefty was trying to say, meow, “Pick me, pick me.” And against their better judgment, contrary to all that is practical, and despite already having more critters than is deemed sensible, they, being real suckers, said, “Well, you better get to work, Lefty, if ya gonna be a shop cat and find yourself someplace to take a nap.”