The first morning after I came home to Israel from a wonderful, but not luxurious trip to Greece I took a cup of coffee and the newspaper up to my roof to catch up. I heard mew mew from the small machsan and found a little black kitten crouched among the old pillows and chairs. After some encouragement I got him to emerge. How did he get up there? Of course, I got some food and milk for him. He stayed. I fed him.

When I came up to the roof he would curl up with me as I read. I had to provide a sand box for him, and found myself cleaning up for this little cat! Not my usual lifestyle! We became emotionally connected. I rushed to the roof to check on him. We snuggled.
When I would leave to go downstairs he howled with pure misery of separation, but he never went down the stairs. Yes, dear Shmuki, I know how you feel…the misery, the longing, the forced absence.

This lasted for several months. He got bigger. I wondered what would happen when his hormones kick in. I left for another trip, assuming he would get hungry, come down to the street and manage as the other neighborhood cats did.

When I came back he was still on the roof! We were happy to see each other! A neighbour had been feeding him. I found myself embarrassingly telling friends about my cat!

It came time to celebrate the millennium. I went out that night, but planning a bicycle ride the next morning, I didn’t stay out too late.
At midnight I was home. I thought I would go up to the roof to see the fireworks.

Just as I was going up the stairs, here comes Shmuki furtively descending. He gave me a long look, continued to the front door, and scooted out. I never saw him again.