April 2015. It was a pretty pleasant day, uncommon for the humid northern Mexican city we were at. Mom and I were watching TV in her room, when my sisters stormed in, excited.
“Did you hear that?” asked Mena, the youngest.
“What?” My mom asked, muting the TV and sitting up. We looked at each other, and we were probably thinking the same thing. In a city as restless and violent as that one, it was most likely yet another gunfight.
“Meowing,” said Gabs, pointing at one of the windows in Mom’s room.
I walked over, and sure enough, a kitten was sitting there, meowing its lungs out. The girls squealed and ran outside, in love with the tiny feline already.
“Make sure they don’t bring him inside,” Mom groaned. She was never a fan of cats.
The girls fed it some turkey breast and gave him water, knowing that the time with the kitten would be limited. My aunt wasn’t a fan of cats either, and it was a stray, so that was that.
+ + +
The cat didn’t go anywhere. We eventually discovered it was a he, and although my aunt refused to make him an indoor cat, she allowed him to stay.
As much as my aunt tried to pretend she didn’t like him, that pretense went away after she bought him a collar, and cute little bowls for his water and food.
I named him Kilgore, after my favorite Kurt Vonnegut character. My sisters named him Teo.
He loved to go to Mom’s window and meow and purr against the mosquito screen. Mom was amused by him and eventually warmed up to him, and would talk to him. Kilgore always replied with a loud meow.
It made me laugh, every single time.
Mom lamented the fact that she couldn’t touch him, because my aunt was worried that his fur would cause some sort of havoc in my Mom’s already-weakened body.
But Mom talked to him everyday, and Kilgore always meowed back.