I thought I ‘d share a little animal story today that sort of proves that what you leave behind, you’ll find ahead. In the woods. Saying meow.
A few years ago, Imad and I decided to rent a cabin for the weekend to escape the city. This meant that we had to leave our cat Miska behind, which she wasn’t too happy about. Miska has a very particular look for a cat: Her body is long and lean, with a bit of a belly, elegant grey and white coloring, pink paws and nose, and green eyes that begged us to take her in our backpack as we left Toronto for our long car ride into the Canadian wilderness. However, we did not cave to all the catty cuteness, bid her farewell, closed the door behind us, and went to pick up our rental car.
The cabin was located far north, in a secluded area far from towns or villages. Finding the cottage took a while since there were no road signs or proper maps of the area. There was no electricity or running water either, other than the nearby Magnetawan River, which was as wide as a lake and ran right behind the cabin. Outside our temporary home, we discovered a fire pit and some logs, and decided to make a fire soon after we had arrived. It was nightfall as we were sitting by the fire, surrounded by the forest, when suddenly from the darkness and smoke a small creature appeared: It was a cat, a complete Miska doppelgänger with grey and white hair, white markings on his face, pink paws, nose, same body shape and size and green eyes as Miska. We had driven for hours, leaving one cat behind only to be greeted by this exact duplicate of a feline at our destination.
We were far from civilization, in an area where I would have more likely expected to see a bear or a moose, than a cat, and even if by some miracle there should be a cat, I would have expected it to be less social and more of a forest type, as we were literally in the middle of nowhere. This one, on the other hand, was social and an exact copy of our Miska. After a while by the fire, the cat disappeared but emerged again as we were going inside for the night. It followed us inside, as though it had been our cat all along. We named him Nykä (pronounced ‘New Ca(t)’ – how imaginative, I know). Because the cabin wasn’t ours, we encouraged him to go outside but since it began to rain, Nykä felt it was much better to spend the night indoors and stayed with us. I was completely baffled by this doppelgänger of a cat and could hardly believe it when Nykä climbed into the bed and, like our Miska, slept at the foot of the bed comfortably for the entire night. In the morning he asked for some breakfast, and went out for his business, only to return soon again. For the entire long weekend, Nykä lived with us as an exact copy of our cat, and I naturally started to plot about taking him with us back to Toronto. There were things to consider though: Nykä could have been abandoned, in which case taking him would the right thing to do. But, if he did belong to somebody, it would be awful of us to take him. Also, I wasn’t sure if he would have been so fond of changing his freedom to living in a small apartment. So before leaving, we asked the man who came to pick up the cabin keys about the cat. Apparently, Nykä had not been seen by anyone but us, despite many visitors (i.e. he didn’t live close to the cabin). After the man assured us that he would find out whose cat Nykä was and that he would be okay, we decided to return to Toronto, catless, leaving the little doppelgänger behind.
When got back home and saw the familiar grey tail greet us, I had to wonder if Miska had more of these lookalike spies to keep an eye on us while we were gone. Or, perhaps there indeed is a galactic wormhole through which only cats can travel – from cities to wilderness and back. Miska refuses to answer my questions and to this day the mystery of the doppelgänger cat remains unsolved.