They say it's bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. How does that affect you if you learn that as a kid? Well, I guess it could really screw up your race relations, or leave you with a pile of therapists' bills. The latter is a common consequence of being inculcated with just about any superstition.
For the record, I've paid all of my therapists' bills. That is not to be confused with paying your dues, if for no other reason that if you think you've paid your dues, you haven't. At least you know whether or not you've paid your therapists' bills. Trust me: I know from whence I speak!
Now I've really digressed. To get back to the subject of this post...which was? Oh, right, a black cat crossing your path. Well, one didn't cross my path today. However, this one crossed in front of me when I was riding on Randall's Island:
She's feral, so she doesn't stand still for very long. However, she did pause from her prowlings when I stopped. She tiptoed to within a few feet of me, gazed into my eyes and, perhaps realizing that I hadn't brought anything for her to eat, took off.
There's been some material written about how to deal with stray dogs when you're on your bike. But I have yet to see anything that deals with the subject of stray cats encountered when cycling.
I recall now the time I was pedaling up a narrow mountain road near Briancon, France. The surface and the sides looked sunbaked, even though the day was overcast. I'd just made one of those turns from which rocks tumble off the edge of the road when I heard--meowing? Here?, I wondered. There were no other animals and no vegetables, or so it seemed. Well, at least I knew that my soon-to-be new friend (who seemed to be a Chartreuse cat) didn't get skinny from smoking cigarettes and drinking black coffee.
I didn't have any cat food with me. However, I did have some butter cookies in my handlebar bag. I broke up a few and they seemed to end up in her mouth almost as soon as they passed through my hands.
From there, I cycled into Italy. Ironically, on the way back, I rode down the same road and the same cat crossed my path.
As hard as her life must have been, at least she had a wonderful view. So did the cat who came my way today: