A few minutes later he was back, with the cat in his arms. He was smaller than I remembered, scrawny, and in the cat carrier in an instant. I thanked this neighbor I had never met before this day, and went home with my treasure. It was late afternoon, and I had been on the way to the store before this unexpected turn of events. As soon as I let the little cat out of the bag, Baby hissed as it tried to cozy up to her. I put some food and water in two bowls for our new family member, but realized that I was now out of cat chow and better go to the store. The two cats seemed OK, the little guy (I had determined it was a boy) sniffing around its new digs, and Baby watching him at a polite but wary distance.
I took off, going to the little bodega, the Yiyo, which was around the corner and a few blocks away. Just about ten, fifteen minutes to go there and back, buy some Purina and some cat litter. When I walked back into the apartment it seemed very quiet. Baby was just where she had been before I left, but the new cat was nowhere to be seen. I put some more food in his bowl, which Baby promptly dashed over to eat, and cleaned and replenished the litter box. No cat.
I lived in a fairly large, long, railroad apartment, so methodically checked each room. No cat. I made dinner, figuring the smell of food would bring him out. No cat. By 8pm I was starting to wonder where Baby had managed to hide the body. I called friends, my mom, my man, bewailing how I had "rescued" this poor animal, only to ensure its mysterious death and disappearance in my Brooklyn apartment.
At the stroke of midnight, still boring someone on the other end of the phone with my plight, I turned and watched the little black cat crawl out of the tiniest gap from under the gas stove, eat some cat chow, and nonchalantly stroll to the bathroom and take a dump in the litter box. The little Brooklyn street cat was nocturnal! Of course. It took about a week to get him to shift over to my human awake-during-the-day, sleep-at-night schedule. It took less time than that for a little regular food and love to change him from a skinny, scruffy-looking short-hair to reveal his true roly-poly long-haired Angora self.