A few years ago, a construction crew knocked down the apartment building directly behind mine. The land was cleared of debris. Massive whirring machines came in and dug a large pit where the building used to stand. I anticipated that soon, the pit would be swarming with construction people in yellow hats, laying the foundation for a new building. But the construction people never came. Instead, I was left with a lovely balcony view of a large, empty dirt pit.
One day, just above the far end of the pit, I saw something gray move through the overgrown grass. It was a cat. For the next few weeks, I'd see him lounging in the sun, batting leaves around, and crawling under the one piece of the torn-down building that was left behind. This was Pit Cat.
Pit Cat found his place -- his home -- in the rubble of another home that was demolished. And he was happy. He didn't need much. It's Southern California, so he didn't have to worry about bad weather. He must have had access to food too, since he seemed pretty healthy. At least as far as I could tell from the distance of my apartment.
I got in the habit of looking out the window for Pit Cat as I'd pour my morning coffee. Occasionally I'd spot him playing in the pit, then be amazed as he somehow managed to bounce his way back out. After all, the pit was pretty deep.
After a rainstorm, I didn't see Pit Cat for a few days. So I decided to check on him to make sure he was okay. I hopped the fence to the empty lot, then traversed the edge above the pit. There was Pit Cat, tucked behind a piece of wood. As soon as he saw me, he freaked out and dove under some bushes. He was terrified, but at least I knew he was okay.
I never returned to the pit, fearful of spoiling Pit Cat's tranquility. But I can still watch him from a distance. I'm sure one day, they'll construct a new building over that empty dirt pit. Until then, that's Pit Cat territory.