My neighbor’s cat licks my earlobes

I’m not kidding; it’s true.  But I think a bit of history is in order.

catA few years ago, a cat started coming to my husband’s house.  Every so often, perhaps once a month, the cat would come visit for a day or two.  He had no flea collar, regular collar or tag, and was somewhat scruffy looking.  My husband would feed the cat, it would rub against his legs and purr, and it would disappear.  He assumed it was a neighborhood stray.

This continued for several years.  The cat would come.  He would feed it.  The cat would leave.

Then this summer, the cat returned and didn’t leave.  Still no collar.  Still no evidence that he belonged to anyone. 

He came to the door and started crying.  So we did what anyone who likes cats would do.  We fed him.  We petted him.

Approximately a month later, a neighbor was walking down our street and she stopped by and indicated this was in fact her cat.  She said he is one of five outdoor cats she has, and she wants him to come home.  She asked us to stop feeding him, so he’d go back to her house.  We agreed to try.

Well.  After three days of non-stop crying, we told our neighbor this wasn’t working, so she came down and got her cat and took him home.  Less than 12 hours later, the cat was back.  Crying.  We told her the cat had returned.  She said she knew.  And we did not feed it.  For three days.  Three days of crying.  The neighbor didn’t come back.  The cat kept crying.  So eventually, we gave in and started feeding him again.

About a month later, the neighbor contacted us and asked if we were feeding the cat.  Uh.  Yes.  Of course.  It’s been a month!  Anyway, the neighbor was really annoyed.  She sent her husband and another man down to collect the cat. 

cat at campfireSo again, the cat went to his “real” home.  Eight hours later he came back.  It’s been a month and we haven’t heard from our neighbors.  The cat hasn’t left.  We went away for three days and came back and he raced to meet our car.  So I’m guessing the cat decided where he wanted to live.  Cats just know where they should be.  This one thinks he should be here; so for now, this is where he is.  He’s free to leave when he wants, as he’s an outside cat, but for the time being he seems to be quite content.

So what about this ear-licking thing? 

This is one of the most affectionate animals I’ve ever met.  He loves human connection.  He runs to greet our cars when we pull into the driveway.  He follows me to the mailbox.  He joins us for our campfires.  He races into the garage the second we open the door for any reason.  He also attempts to run into the house which is not a great idea because while our Siberian Husky is a mush with people, he’s not so friendly to small animals.  The cat also “helps” us rake the lawn, which is a nice way of saying he gets in the way.  When I pick the cat up, he snuggles right in, sticks his head under my chin and then, yes, he licks on my earlobes.  Kind of a strange thing for a cat to do, but this one purrs extremely loudly and licks away.  First one ear then the other. 

So for now, this is the story of the neighborhood cat who is partial to earlobes.  I’m sure he will decide whether he will stay long term or whether this is just a short-term visit.  Because after all, cats are in control of people; it’s not the other way around.


4 thoughts on “My neighbor’s cat licks my earlobes

  1. You’re very irresponsible for doing what you have done. It is true that cats have a certain lack of loyalty, but it is not true that they will just ‘choose’ where they ‘should’ be like some heaven-sent message told them their fated home or something. You were a regular place of feeding, the neighbour may have been unable to feed it on the occasions you mentioned before and thus it came to you.

    Then the neighbour might well have went away for a holiday with a cat sitter who does feed it everyday, but it wanted company AND food, so off it trotted to you. You then fed it (maybe some treats the neighbour limits or can’t afford), fussed over it, and who knows, you might have more time to spend with it. Regardless, your fussing and regular feeding is what built the cat’s trust and rehoming sense, not the cat’s own sense of ‘where it should be’. Where it should be for the cat is always going to be where it gets more fussing and more food, and some people are incapable of supplying the amount another person might be able to.

    It is still not your cat and it was probably perfectly happy (the Lord Mayor’s dog might be given more stuff than a poor man’s dog, but the poor man and the Lord Mayor can still provide for and give love to a dog and neither should be denied a companion for that reason), and you ‘relenting’ or ‘doing as anyone who likes cats would do’ is exactly what caused the neighbour to lose her cat. She’s right to be upset, and it may well be that when he returned home he was too unruly and could not be kept in any longer. This cat has been successfully ‘damaged’ for the neighbour who had it and loved it for those years before you took it over.

    Enjoy your new cat and associated bills (as it is now your cat, since you’ve encouraged it to become so), but don’t for a minute fool yourself into thinking that this is the cat or the neighbour’s fault. He was obviously not starved or abused, so really, you enticed the cat into your life and effectively stole someone else’s pet. Just understand that this can be a painful experience for people who ‘lose’ their pet through no fault of their own.

    It’s just a good thing that you didn’t accidentally feed a sensitive or sickly cat the wrong diet, since in that event, whether the cat adopts you or not, you’re responsible for its vet fees.

    • Thank you for your feedback. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I do disagree with it. If what you said was true, then all five of my neighbors cats would be here, not just this one, since we feed any stray cat that comes to our home and appears hungry, which is exactly what this one seemed to be. Bottom line, if a cat comes to our property and appears to be in need of food or snuggles, that’s what it’s going to get. We’re not like some other people who would just scoop the cat up and bring it to the pound if it kept showing up on their property. Nor are we like others who would get rid of it in some other way (drive it to the forest?). The cat had no tags and no identification, so there really wasn’t any way to know that it belonged to someone, until months later when the owner showed up. Anyway, the cat is still here and the neighbors can come get it, and/or visit it, any time they want. But we refuse to hit it with the full stream from a garden hose or ignore its cries, which is what the neighbors asked us to do. That’s just not going to happen.

      Have a great day, and thanks for the discussion.

    • Thanks Hope! The fluffball (sooo fluffy) really seemed to be in need of both the food and the snuggles.

      What wound up happening was the neighbors moved away, and they came and got the cat when they left. I hope in their new neighborhood they are taking care of the cat so it stays with them. Or maybe they’re now angry with a new neighbor!

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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