So he wanders the rooms, perimeters in particular, meowing quietly and plaintively. M suggested the meows sounded like a feline 'ping' (see, we really are nerds here), and he was checking to see if anyone else is around. Of course, this is all armchair psychology, on a cat no less, but he grew up with other cats around, and his brother at my parents is quite friendly with one of the cats (the other is a crotchety old hag), so it seems a valid guess.
So now the question is where to get one.
We've decided an adult would probably be better, so we could tell up front whether it was batshit crazy or not, but that a kitten isn't nearly the responsibility of a puppy, so wouldn't be a problem. Also, a female would be more likely to be a good companion than another male, though Mickey is really pretty laid back.
Somewhere, however, I developed the notion that you should never need to pay for a cat (or, in particular, go though any particular trouble, search, or application process). I suppose it's because they're so much more successfully feral than dogs are, but wait a few months, and it seems someone, somewhere, has a friendly stray they found and want to get rid of. There are always more cats than people willing to take an extra.
But I'm starting to second guess that, particularly given our predilection towards an adult. It's kitten season, so there are several litters to choose from. Right this instant I can think of four. Is giving a home to a returned kitten who's mother is still not spayed -though not being intentionally bred- ethical even if she's free? Does taking one of the feral kittens the neighbor girl found in their spot at the fairgrounds doom a perfectly nice cat in a shelter? Or since there are finite homes, would one of them have gone either way?
I'm fairly decided on that matter with dogs. It's never made sense to me the rescues that go to extravagant expense to save unhealthy, or temperamentally unfit dogs while healthier ones are still being euthanized. It seems a zero-sum game. If you take a less fit dog out of pity, or nobility or what have you, all that means is that a better one will be killed. But somehow, cats seem more fluid, as though that the rule may not apply. I don't know.
In the meantime, Mickey is lonely.