My neighbors (a boyfriend-girlfriend couple and their son) have decided they’re not talking to me. They’re angry because their cat is missing.
Here’s the story:
About a week ago, I was in my kitchen, washing dishes, humming, thinking great thoughts, and generally just minding my own business, when I heard what sounded like a cat in serious distress.
I realized that the sound was coming from behind our building, so I walked out the back and looked for the cat. After several minutes, I saw that there was what looked like one of the alley kittens (no collar, no tags, a little dirty and ragged-looking) trapped in the scant few inches between my neighbor’s back door and the back screen door.
Our screen doors are flimsy pieces of crap. Almost every time the wind blows, the screen door flaps open. Sometimes it slams shut within a couple seconds, but sometimes it’ll stay open for several minutes. I thought that one of the umpteen bizillion alley cats in the neighborhood had been strolling along near my neighbor’s back door when the screen door slammed shut on him.
The cat was yowling away, obviously completely miserable, so I opened the back screen door and let it go. After the cat got out, he spent a few minutes being cute (rubbing up against my leg, letting me pet him, etc.), and then ran off.
Two days later, my next door neighbor wants to know if I’ve seen her cat. So, like a chump, I ask her to describe her pet. She shows me a photo of the very same cat I let out a couple of days before.
I tell her what happened, I apologize, and I offer to keep a lookout for her kitty. She says she understands (the cat was an indoor-only cat, and, since I’d never been in her house, I had no idea the kitty even existed, much less any sort of notion of what it looked like.)
Well, fine. Her cat hasn’t been found. I find out from her son (the kid’s around 5), that my next-door neighbors are really angry with me because of the cat.
I’m surprised–I’d gotten the feeling that, when I talked with my neighbor, she was upset that the cat was gone, but she wasn’t upset with me. I’d like to clear this up. I don’t really want to be on bad terms with my neighbors if it’s not necessary. (Not that it would kill me, but who needs the extra aggravation?)
I walk next door and knock on the door. The guy who lives there answers the door without the usual friendly greeting. He wants to know what the heck I want. So I tell him that I’m sorry about his cat, I know he’s angry, and I’d like to discuss it with him. He tells me that, yeah, he’d talk to me about it, all right, but not with the kid around. (His son was standing near the door.) He gently guides his son up the stairs with one hand, closing the door on my face with the other.
So…what’s the deal? I genuinely don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, here. Am I just clueless, or are these guys a little out to lunch?
I should add that I tried to talk to them today, when they were at home but their son was in school, and they still refuse to speak to me.
My reaction: huh?