The Cat’s Call of Cry

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SHORT, SHORT; STORY: The Cat's Call of Cry

The Cat’s Call of Cry

Lena Rindevall is on her way to meet her friend over fika at a café in Haga the showcase of Gothenburg’s past habitations. Lena and her friend had planned the date with mutual consent for they had not seen each other in over a year. As Lena walks towards a tram stop, a cat touches her feet. She did not notice that the cat was there on the road or sat by the grassy-bushy patch that skirted the road.

One has to have an inclination to have a pet like a cat: an elementary spontaneity for its company, and to feel the presence of an animal that is fiercely independent albeit slightly demanding. It may not be as expressive as a dog in pouring out its love for its owner but it looked after itself – as clean as any human being.

Lena is pleasantly surprised that a cat has approached her, touched her. She is not a pet-owning person, but she has a soft-corner for those who have pets. The cat curls around her feet, and she sits with her paws spread out on her sneakers. Lena checks the time on her wrist watch. She has two minutes to catch the tram to reach for the appointment. The cats settles comfortably around her feet: sits. It gets up, and licks Lena’s limb.

Spring is springing.

The weather is neither wintry nor sunny. The temperature of the day permits Lena not to wear stockings and full-length socks. The cat licks her limbs, one by one. Lena feels the lick of the cat: the direct contact of an animal and a human: skin to skin through tongue. Lena is overwhelmed. How come a stray cat can like a stranger, instantly, she thinks. She sees the arrival of the tram she is supposed to board, and it departs.

The cat quietly curls again, and sits at her feet but letting its tail scale up to the legs of Lena. Lena bends and touches the cat. She sees a collar around the neck of the cat: the collar had a number. Probably the cat lost its way. She unbends and sees around to locate someone to seek help: nobody is noticing, everyone is walking past her. What to do with the cat? She picks it up, and walks with the cat in her arms.

Lena rings her friend, and cancels her appointment. She rings the number she finds on the collar of the cat to reach its owner but there is no response. She tries four times, no response. She calls the police. The police take the details but requests her to keep the cat as long as she can before they can trace the owner.

With the cat, Lena re-starts her journey back home. Back in her flat overlooking Slottskogen, Lena calls her friend whether she can join her for fika at her home but she cites a reason, not to join. Lena settles down with the cat in her house.

Lena and the cat start their companionship, or co-habitation, and they start to cherish in each other’s company.

Daniel Nilsson works in an ancillary unit of the police department dealing with ‘lost and found goods’ and ‘lost animals’ in West Sweden. The relatively insignificant unit gained attention as more and lost goods and lost animals are found regularly. Their numbers are increasing.

A week after the cat and Lena start to live together, Daniel has attended to all the to-do things for the day except for the cat’s case which was not on the priority list. Four of his colleagues have tried to reach the owner of the cat, whose cat is currently under the care of Lena, but not yet traced the real owner. He checks with his colleague, Johanna Saldert, “Why the cat case not solved?” Johanna is a new starter in the job. “I tried eight times, again, today, no answer,” she says.

“Have you checked her background,” asks Daniel.

“What background,” Johanna asks.

“The owner’s residence, where, age, sex … those details,” he says.

Johanna begins to find the background of the cat owner.

“Any info?” Daniel asks Johanna after half an hour.

“Yes.”

“How old is the owner?”

“Seventy-nine years.”

“Anyone else living with the person?”

“No,” Johanna says. She notices Daniel’s eyes moistening. “What, Daniel?”

“The owner is dead but no one knows she is dead,” Daniel says. “That’s the cat’s call of cry.”

—Lucinda Palme