Just now, Fred alerted me to Persephone's presence—and what timing! I'd just taken my last bite of lunch and today was the day the vet said they'd likely have time to evaluate a stray. I went outside to greet her and heard voices across the street talking about how the cat had run across the street.
There were two people standing by a pick-up truck. I asked if they were looking for a cat. The lady said…
We were just making sure he wasn't underneath the truck.
Meaning, they were about to leave and didn't want to run it over. I asked if they knew the cat and the lady said…
Yes, he was a stray and I rescued him. I don't usually let him out. He must like your yard.
OK, Persephone is a he. Julia had said that if Persephone turned out to be a he that his name had to be Orpheus. So Orpheus it is.
So, it turns out, that Orpheus does have a human. And that human is an asshole who lets him out all the time and doesn't look after him or have a collar for him. Now I have a sad.
I was prepared to take Orpheus to the vet and see that he was chipped and here's his human who's been looking for Orpheus for weeks and thank you for finding him! We'd have to say goodbye but would be heartened that we'd found a lost kitty. So I was emotionally prepared to let Orpheus go and not adopt.
But I'm deeply saddened by the fact that Orpheus isn't looked after properly and we can't adopt him. "Don't usually let him out." Oh, and by 'don't usually' you mean virtually every day—morning, noon, and night? That kind of 'don't usually,' or were you thinking of some other kind?
And where's his damn collar?
Oh well. Now we know. The plan now is to treat Orpheus kindly when he comes by but not get more attached to him than we (especially me) already are.
The plus side is that this frees our last remaining slot for a shelter kitty who might not get any human otherwise, good or bad. I've had my eye on a kitty I'd name Tesla, a predominantly white kitty with excited, alert, happy eyes and the most exciting tail I've seen in ages, and Julia likes a kitty named Gilbert Grape, who I haven't had a chance to really meet, but she says looks like Orpheus but with short hair instead of long.