The black panther of Podil pounced into my life a few weeks back. I've always been fond of animals and would class myself as more of a dog lover, but this cat purred it's way into my heart one cold Monday morning.
I had seen her leap to and fro from the office window before, and she always seemed a bundle of energy and joy. She had visited our small office before apparently, in her continual quest for milk and any treat on offer really.
This Monday morning in question was freezing cold and dragging myself to work had been nothing short of painful. Hours of monotony lay ahead with the prospect of coffee and biscuits being the only shining light on the horizon.
Monday mornings for me, like most, have always been miserable...but here she lay under the desk in our cosy wee staff room. She had already managed to persuasively 'meow' herself a bowl of milk, as well as forcing my boss into visiting the supermarket in search of some cat food.
This cat was different. Independent like most, but with no hint of aggression. Possibly a street cat, but possibly a serial user with numerous places of abode. This feline had in just a few minutes managed to bring rays of sunshine to both me and several of my colleagues.
I've always happily acknowledged our affinity with animals and these few yawn riddled moments strengthened that sentiment. The black panther of Podil became a regular feature in our office. My boss crumbled on a daily basis, finding her pussy cat eyes too much to bear....she kindly trudged back and forth from the supermarket to buy our new friend her now expected dose of milk and cat food.
The focus at work drifted towards our panther with work being sometimes put on the back foot. The health and well-being of our guest being everyone's priority. Whenever food was provided she kindly and gratefully gobbled it all down with the occasional 'meow' here and the occasional 'purr' there.
A more clued up and ' in the know' colleague observed one morning, that there was the distinct possibility that the black panther of Podil would in the coming months multiply. We would have a litter of black panthers as our guest was pregnant!
This joyous news opened up many debates between staff members and customers alike.
Who would look after the kittens? Did she in fact have a home? Should we take her to a shelter?
It's incredible what brings people together. Even the most silent and reserved of us clamoured around to offer advice and opinion. The more practical and realistic suggesting a shelter as the best solution. The more sentimental and emotional ones offering a new place in their family to one or more of these future kittens.
The black panther of Podil was of small build, very sleek and with jet black fur. She had bulging and very colourful eyes with the only blemish amongst all this black fur being a small white patch on her chest.
Her morning routine would be to scratch at the door and once admitted, she would bundle her way inside. Upon entering the staff room, she would continue her never ending quest for milk and snacks, and who could blame her? Feeding a belly full of kittens is both thirsty and hungry work I'm sure!
The black panther of Podil would sneakily manage to hide at night sometimes, somewhere in the office out of the blistering cold. Often surprising the first member of staff the next morning with her presence. This would usually be followed by her back arching prompt of 'please stroke me before giving me some grub.'
I haven't seen the black panther of Podil in several days now and she is sadly missed. The grey drudge that lingers over our office on Monday mornings has once again returned. I often find myself peering from the window or balcony of our office, hoping to sneak a peak once again of everyone's new best friend.
I hope she's OK and has 'meowed' her way into someone else's heart. I hope the kittens are warm and safe if they've arrived already. I hope most of all to see the black panther of Podil just one last time so I know she's OK.