The checkers all wore smiles on their faces as they stood at the front of their checkout counters at Ken’s Food Market when I approached them Monday afternoon.
I wandered along the aisles looking for something new, when I finally gave up and asked Diane Stone where I might find the cat food.
Her look was a bit puzzled, as if she were asking herself if I have a cat, I should already know where the cat food is, or, if I don’t have a cat, why would I be looking for cat food. But probably she was most likely wondering why after shopping in the same store for most of my life, how could I not know where the cat food was.
But she politely pointed me down the right aisle and told me it was at the far end on the right.
Feeling an explanation was necessary so she wouldn’t think it was the only food Debbie and I could afford on a weekly newspaper publisher’s salary, I told her a stray cat had shown up and didn’t want to leave. It was a pretty black cat, and friendly, too. We had tried to scare it away, but for some reason it knew we didn’t mean business.
It had a nice collar on it and we would have just ignored it and went about our business, but on the collar was an address on Fourth Street. Knowing there is no Fourth Street in American Falls we investigated further and found a phone number. We contacted the owner in Pocatello who said her cat “Black Mamba” had disappeared a couple weeks earlier. She was as equally perplexed as to how it could have ended up in American Falls, but promised to come fetch the cat on Monday. Still, I felt it needed something to eat in the meantime and it was having nothing to do with the dog food we had available.
If you don’t plan on keeping it, feeding it is not a great idea, Diane said with a knowing smile.
I assured her we are not cat people, and although it looked healthy enough after being away from its owner for a couple of weeks, I still thought a little sustenance was in order.
So I picked up a couple of cans featuring chicken and tuna and salmon and other nice sounding foods that might look good on my own dinner table. And at two cans for 79 cents you can’t beat the price.
When I set them on the counter Diane looked at me again and said, that won’t last long.
I responded that I wasn’t planning on a long term relationship. The owner promised she would be there to pick up her wayward feline.
But after a couple more calls to the number on her collar, we’re still waiting. Hope it doesn’t take too much longer. Our family dog is tired of hearing the mewing.