An average suburban neighborhood in Texas. The kind of place with plain, older homes that look like they were thrown together with Elmer’s glue and popsicle sticks.
When Gerald moved in about 30 years ago, he began feeding stray cats. That’s sort of how this story begins.
Feeding animals was sort of an occupational habit for the old man. He worked as a veterinary assistant for most of his adult life until he retired.
He had a special place in his heart for strays. And you know how stray lovers are. Their mission in this world is to seek out new animal life and to snip its private parts with surgical tools.
Gerald became the neighborhood cat whisperer. That’s how most children looked at him.
“There musta been twenty or thirty cats on his porch when I was growing up,” says one former kid. “It was crazy.”
Gerald gave the cats a free, all-you-can eat buffet on his front stoop. And it wasn’t just hardtack, it was canned designer cat food. He spoiled them.
would spend his time with these cats. He would talk sweetly to them until they trusted him enough to let him hold them. Then, once he’d befriended them, he would feed them, pamper them, and have their reproductive organs disconnected by a doctor wielding a No. 3 scalpel.
But the cats didn’t hold this against him. After all, Gerald was their friend. Cats know people. A cat is smarter than some realize. A cat is not blindly loyal like a dog.
If you scold a dog, he’ll sulk, tuck his tail, and whimper. If you so much as pet a cat’s fur the wrong direction he’ll vomit in your shoes and set fire to the house.
Neighborhood kids came to see Gerald all the time. Sometimes, just to hang out on his porch with the cats. If you’ve ever seen a mass of cats intertwined…