Had a very weird experience walking Kiska earlier tonight. Just past the park I usually take her to, she was up on the lawn of a house sniffing at things, when I saw a small, long-haired ginger cat looking at us. Out of habit, I called to the cat, although I didn't really expect him to come near with Kiska there. But he did, though a little hesitantly, and came up and rubbed against my hand, though glancing warily at Kiska and making a few little warning "wrr-rrr-rrr" type sounds under his breath.
Kiska noticed the cat and came over closer, because Kiska is made of optimism where cats are concerned, and expects all strange cats to want to be her friend, despite the fact that in the five years I've had her, this has almost never been the case. I expected the cat to run away, but no -- he glared up and her, and then walked across the little wall he was standing on, directly in front of Kiska, who was only inches away. I had just started to compliment him on being fearless, when he suddenly turned around took a whack at her with his paw. She yelped and jumped back, then, giving him a wide berth, jumped down the sidewalk and stayed on the far side of me, glancing nervously at the cat, who by now I guess she was pretty certain was not her friend.
The cat, looking very pleased with himself, strolled back along the wall and rubbed up against me again -- and then jumped off the wall and went charging straight for Kiska. He got in one good swiped before she yelped and ran out into the street, and I got in between them and pushed him back.
Since this was now well beyond admirable fearlessness in a cat and into sheer thuggishness, I tried saying emphatically "NO! BAD kitty!" while keeping Kiska behind me and urging her to get moving, which at this point took very little urging. So we started off, only to look back and see that the cat was following us, with a look of determination in his eyes. The fact that Kiska outweighed him by about ten times didn't seem to deter him at all (nor did it reassure Kiska any -- she was definitely trying to put some distance between her and this cat).
I stopped and told him to go back, which being a cat he ignored completely. His body language didn't look aggressive, and he seemed to be looking at me more than at Kiska, so I thought maybe he'd just swiped at her because she was on his territory before, and he was now following us just because he was affection-starved or something. So I reached out to him, somewhat against my better judgment, and he came up and rubbed adorably on my hand looking all sweet and cute again -- and then, as soon as he had me off guard, darted past me and tried to attack Kiska again!
I intercepted him, just barely, and yelled "BAD kitty! GO HOME!", pointing back to the house where we'd found him, but he just kept trying to duck around me to get at Kiska again. So I nudge him back with one foot, and then took off with Kiska, not running, but walking very fast. Looked back: he was following us again.
When we crossed the street diagonally to our block, he stayed on the corner, and began mewing piteously, as thought to say "Wait! Wait! Why are you leaving? Look at me! I am cute and adorable! How could you possibly abandon me like this? Don't you realize that I have not been petted or given attention EVER?"
Not about to be fooled at this point, I left him there, and when I eventually couldn't hear the mewing any more, glanced back just to be sure -- and the damn cat had crossed the street and was heading after us again. So for the remaining long block down to our building Kiska and I played Dodge The Ginger Avenger, with me running interference when necessary -- and the cat nearly always trying to get friendly with me in between bouts of trying to assassinate my dog.
At one point we passed another pedestrian, and the cat seemed to get distracted, looking up at the new person with the same "Love me! Love me NOW!" sort of look that he had tried on me, but apparently got nowhere. I glanced back hopefully and saw no sign of the cat, and thought momentarily that we had escaped -- only to suddenly have him dart out from behind a hedge and go after Kiska again.
We picked up the pace and soon seemed to have lost him again, and finally made it home with no sign of the cat -- until suddenly he appeared from behind a parked car and tried to chase Kiska right into the building.
I got Kiska inside and closed the door, trying to figure out what to do about the cat, who promptly strolled over onto the patio of the Italian restaurant I live above. My apartment is right on the corner of a busy street, and psycho or not, I didn't want the cat to get run over. But on the other hand, given his apparent volatility, I wasn't sure I wanted to try and carry him back to his home -- Kiska may be up to date on her vaccinations, but I'm not! Not to mention that I didn't know if the house where we first saw him even was his home. He didn't have a collar on, though he clearly wasn't a stray -- long-haired cats get matted very quickly if they're not groomed regularly, and his coat was perfectly silky and tangle-free.
Eventually, I lost sight of him and went inside to soothe Kiska's frazzled nerves, leaving Ninja Kitty to find his own way home, though I felt kind of bad about it. I suppose it's weird to be concerned with the well-being of a canicidal and possibly insane stalker cat who seems to have devoted himself to the downfall of my dog, but I do hope he gets home OK.
But I think I may be a little warier of befriending strange cats in the future, because some are clearly stranger than others.