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The Cat Who Turned Chicken: a Halloween Tale of Transfiguration

The Cat Who Turned Chicken: a Halloween Tale of Transfiguration October 31, 2021

Earlier this month, I sent out the following tweets:

A neighborhood tomcat is aggressively attempting to adopt me. He’s currently on my porch, trying to figure out how the door works.

I AM BROKE AND HAVE BOUNDARY ISSUES, BOLLOCKS. I CAN’T AFFORD YOU ON MULTIPLE LEVELS.

Also, I named him Bollocks.

As in, “Well, bollocks. I think I might own a cat now.” Or, “This cat is clearly unneutered. Check out his bollocks.”

Y’all. I snuck out through a different door to go have a cigarette, thinking he wouldn’t find me, and then I heard a meow. And he came walking down the stairs from the second floor of the building.

I can only assume he was planning on Mission Impossibling through my ceiling.

Shit. He knows where both doors are now. This is not good.

Sorry about the crap photo. My battery was low. Literally and figuratively.

Update: He refuses to answer to Bollocks, but he does seem to like Bolly.

Plus some of my neighbors gave me concerned looks when I was trying to stop him from coming in and yelling, “NO, BOLLOCKS. NO, BOLLOCKS.” So this is probably for the best.

Like anyone has ever said no to bollocks in this house! Ha!

Seriously, though, send help.

Sigh.

Everyone on my social media was like, “OMG, LET HIM IN, YOU MONSTER,” but I was like, “ABSOLUTELY NOT. HE HAS HIS TROUBLE PUFFS AND WILL PEE ALL OVER EVERYTHING.” And then I went to work and told my co-workers about him, and they were like “DO NOT FEED THE STRAY CAT,” And I was like, “I WON’T. GEEZ.” And then I left for the day and they were all like, “He’s totally going to feed that fucking cat.”

So, anyway, I went home and fed the cat.

Bolly set up camp on the patio, and we worked out a routine: I would come out in the mornings and give him pets, and then I’d meet up with him after I got home from the office to give him dinner, and we’d hang out, or I’d watch him hunt garden lizards. He finally caught one and tried to bring it to me, but it wriggled out of his mouth to freedom, and I was like, “That’s yet another reason why you’re not allowed in the house. But I truly appreciate the effort. Good boy.”

I got very attached, very quickly. And one night, after about a week of companionship, I stepped outside with his food bowl, and he wasn’t there. Nor was he waiting for me in the morning.

“Oh, well,” I thought. “I guess he just wasn’t cut out for commitment. But I’m sure he’s all right. I hope.”

A few days passed, and I was sitting outside playing on my phone, when I noticed a lady walking her dog, with Bolly following right behind her.

“Is this your cat?” I asked, as he ambled over and flopped down at my feet.

“Hey there, food guy. Long time, no scritches.”

“He’s not,” she said. “I’ve been feeding him, though.”

“Same here,” I said.

We started comparing notes, and it turns out that Bolly had been roaming the apartment complex, emotionally manipulating various residents in exchange for sustenance. The trollop.

“I work at a spay and neuter clinic,” she continued. “I’m taking him in tomorrow morning to get fixed, but I can’t keep him — and he’ll need to stay indoors for at least 24 hours while he recovers.”

“He can stay with me,” I offered, mentally trying to figure out how to catproof my apartment.

“Oh, good! I’m glad that he has you as a buddy.”

“Me too,” I said.

We made plans for her to drop him off around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, and she walked off with Bolly trotting after her, although he did have the decency to look back at me guiltily a couple of times. I went to work Monday morning and told my boss that I’d be coming in late on Tuesday, and that afternoon, I zipped home and waited.

And waited. And, just for funsies, I waited some more.

I knew the woman’s first name, but we hadn’t traded phone numbers, and I didn’t know where in the sprawling complex she actually lived. Dusk turned to evening, and since I didn’t have any other way to obtain updates, I grabbed my Liminal Spirits cards and did a reading.

Star, Bone, Ocean, and Cave from The Liminal Spirits Oracle.

Star in the past shows me making the decision to take Bolly in, and Bone in the present, I think, can be taken literally — he’s having surgery. But Bone is crossed with Ocean, meaning changes in circumstance out of my control, and Cave in the future is a safe place, but an isolated one.

Basically, he’s got a home now, just not with me. My guess is that someone at the clinic fell in love with him and decided to keep him. Which makes me sad — I was really looking forward to having him around — but I’m also relieved that he’s with someone who can give him a more comfortable existence than I’m currently capable of providing.

So I adjusted back to life without him, but the other day, I heard a weird noise outside — it kind of sounded like a cat crying — and I got worried. Was Bolly injured? Was another animal wounded or in some kind of trouble? Could I do anything to help?

As it turned out, no one was injured. But there was an animal.

Your eyes do not deceive you.

After I got over my initial bafflement and confirmed that I wasn’t hallucinating, I learned that the chicken belongs to some neighbors who live across the courtyard from me. It’s apparently a pet, but they don’t keep her cooped — she’s just been clucking around largely unsupervised.

This is more than a little troubling. On top of the dogs and cats all over the complex, we get raccoons and opossums at night, and I feel like she’s either going to get mauled or run over, which will traumatize the kids who like to pick her up and carry her around (which she doesn’t seem to mind at all).

I thought about calling management and reporting her, but she’s not doing any damage, and the children who play with her still have all their eyes and fingers, so I decided to just leave well enough alone.

But then she discovered my patio.

And then she discovered me. And she got it in her head that I needed a friend.

“You know what this table needs? More chicken.”

If I walk outside and she’s in the vicinity, she makes delighted noises and comes running at me, which is honestly terrifying and prompts me to run in the opposite direction. This only encourages her to try harder.

After a few days of dodging her, I went back to the cards and was like, “Give me insight into the chicken,” but the deck was like, “Uh… Fiber, maybe? Salamander? Chickens aren’t really liminal, hon.” So that was kind of a dead end.

But I still needed to know what it was the chicken actually wanted. Because seriously, every time I open my front door, this is what’s waiting for me.

Knock knock. Yes, hello, I’d like to soil your living room, please.”

So I took a deep breath and focused and pulled one more card and got the Burial Ground: spirits of a place. And I was like, “Oh. Okay. This might actually make sense.”

When Bolly first appeared, my friend Elizabeth was like, “Definitely your familiar now,” and I think she may be right. A familiar is a spirit that can take the form of an animal, so my current suspicion, out there though it may be, is that a familiar is trying to attach itself to me and used Bolly and a chicken to get my attention.

One of the first books on Witchcraft that had a real impact on me was Earth Magic: a Dianic Book of Shadows by Marion Weinstein, which included instructions to call a familiar:

State your Alignment chants first…

Oh, wait. About that. The Alignment chant is: “I, (Thumper), am perfectly aligned with Diana, Selene, and Hecate; I, (Thumper), am perfectly aligned with Kernunnos and Pan.” But since I’m still in the middle of my work with the Liminal Spirits as a belief system, I’ll be aligning with spirits from the deck that relate to the deities Weinstein listed, instead of chanting to those deities directly.

Toad, Hare, Owl, Deer, and Goat from The Liminal Spirits Oracle.

But back to what I was saying:

… and then send out the Call for “the most perfect familiar to work within a perfect exchange of love, trust, under­standing, and mutual work.” Do this during the New Moon, the Waxing Moon, the Full Moon — or all three.

Weinstein also wrote that familiars put out their own calls, so I’m going to take the spell above and send out an answer while burning a St. Francis candle dressed with Althaea leaves and Attraction oil. The next New Moon is November 4, so that’ll be my starting point, and then we’ll see who or what attempts to move in with me.

And maybe nothing will happen, or maybe I’ll step outside mid November to find a clingy Komodo dragon on my porch. But Weinstein always ended her spells with, “It’s equivalent or better,” so as long as “better” equals “housebroken,” I’ll be an accommodating host and foster whatever familiar shows up.

Denouement

Last night, I had a dream that Bolly was waiting for me at the entrance to the breezeway of my building, and this morning, as I was leaving to have coffee with Reed, I ran into the spay-and-neuter lady in the exact same spot.

She was excited to see me — she’d found Bolly a good home out in The Woodlands, in a big house with a nice owner and a friendly dog to play with. I’m elated to know that he’s happy and healthy, and I’ll miss him, but it was incredibly sweet of him to drop by in revenant form one last time. The next possessed creature that shows up at my door is definitely going to have some big toe beans to fill.

Only one more day to vote in the Witchies! Cross your fingers, light a candle, stab a goat, and click Fivefold Law for Outstanding New Blog, Exceptional Blog Post, and Outstanding New Voice.

About Thumper
Thumper Marjorie Splitfoot Forge is a Gardnerian High Priest, an initiate of the Minoan Brotherhood, an Episkopos of the Dorothy Clutterbuck Memorial Cabal of Laverna Discordia, a recovering alcoholic, and a notary public from Houston, TX. You can read more about the author here.

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