I go for a walk outside almost every day, and while I'm walking, I like to keep walking. I'm not much for slowing down or stopping (because doing so makes it that much harder to start again), and I do so only for things like taking a rock out of my shoe, running into a friend, or - most importantly - petting a cat.
I have a series of steps I take when approaching a cat (assuming it's behaving in a civilized and socialized manner) to determine if said cat would like a little affection from me. I speak to the cat in my "cat voice," walk slowly and smoothly toward the cat, squat down to make myself smaller and less intimidating, and reach one of my hands out toward the cat. This process works and the cat approaches me about 75% of the time; when it does, the cat gets to enjoy a few pets - and I get to feel good about coming across as trustworthy to the cat - before I continue on.
On one particular walk down a familiar street, I encountered an unfamiliar cat. He (I'm just assuming gender - he seemed like a boy to me) emerged from the backyard of a house that had recently sold, so I assumed he was new to the neighborhood. I started my series of steps - saying hello to him in my cat voice - and he immediately trotted toward me. And then, before I could walk slowly and smoothly, squat down to make myself smaller and less intimidating, or reach a hand out, he LEPT off the ground, into the air, and onto my shoulder. He was SO thrilled to be there, and spent the next two minutes loving on me while I took pictures and tried to explain to my mom - with whom I was on the phone - what was happening.
As I mentioned above, I'd never seen this cat before, and interestingly, I haven't seen him since. (I suspect he's actually an indoor cat and he had gotten outside without his people knowing.) But he made my day that morning - I like to believe he knew I was an animal lover, and that I had love to give.
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