Tag Archives: Cat

My First…(What Are You Thinking? It’s Not What You Think…)

 

Smudge

I had always considered myself a dog person. My co-worker Angie was hell-bent on my adopting a cat. We debated for the afternoon, with no consensus. I was on the fence. Another heartbeat in my apartment would be nice, but a cat? You don’t know what you don’t know. I didn’t know cats.

I arrived at my apartment complex after the sun had set. I made my way to the mailbox station and I heard the distinct sound of a cat’s meow. It sounded sad. It sounded nearby. I looked out into the shadows and I saw two pencil thin white lines moving. They were the front paws of the thinnest cat I had ever seen. She meowed again and stopped. We looked at each other. I instinctively reached out to her. She came to me and meowed again. She wasn’t sad as much as hungry. She was beautiful, white with black spots and a spot on her nose.

I ran up to my apartment and brought down a can of tuna. I put it in the bushes for this poor, pathetic animal. I went home. The next day, I told Angie about my encounter with the stray. “THAT’S YOUR CAT!” screamed Angie. I stopped mid-sentence. “You’ve got to be kidding. She’s a wild cat who’s starving. She’s not My Cat” I said, defensively. “No, you don’t understand, cats don’t come to people easily when they are feral. They shy away from people. This cat has picked you out as her person. We have to get her tonight.” Now Angie is a force of nature and what she says will happen, happens. So I found myself looking for this elusive cat that night with Angie who was experienced at catching strays.

There she was. Unlike the night before, she ran away, Angie and I frantically trying to keep up with her. We split apart, each going a separate way around the apartment building. Angie yelled at me, “I’ve got her!” She turned the corner with the little white cat squirming in her arms and her fur was flying in clumps. “Why is her fur flying off her?” I asked. “It’s what cats do when they are really scared” she replied, struggling to hold her.

We took her up to my apartment, I felt unsure about a wild cat running loose in the small space, who knows what diseases she could have. We put her in the bathroom and closed the door. I made plans with Angie to take her to the vet the next day and get her checked out. Angie said “It’s wonderful to be owned by a cat, you’ll see!” I sat in the living room, amazed at what we had accomplished and feeling anxious about the entire unknown wild cat in my house situation.

About an hour later, the bathroom door opened and out came the scrawny white cat who then ran onto my lap and she lay down. I was so surprised, I didn’t move. Was this the same cat I had chased downstairs? She was purring loudly as she lay quietly on my lap. How had she opened the door? The mystery would always remain. Transformed into the picture of domestic bliss; we stayed on the couch for hours. I forgot my caution regarding potential disease, she was purring, she was sleeping, she was on my lap. I knew then Angie was right, I had been chosen to be owned by this particular cat. I named her Smudge and realized at that moment that I was a cat person after all.

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Breathing Lessons

When your heart is shattered into a million aching pieces, what do you do? You seek out love’s healing power. When the first two cats I ever owned died within six months of each other after being with me for just eight years, I was consumed by the pain. The loss was simply more than I could stand. I went into survival mode, and what I was compelled to do, seemingly driven by an unseen force, was replace my cats immediately with a kitten. No waiting period, I needed to love something then and there.

Ignoring my previous objections to shelters, (they killed animals as well as saved them. I didn’t think I could stand the reality of all those hopeful eyes begging me for a reprieve) I went to the Halifax Animal Shelter in Daytona. There, I steeled myself, swallowed my grief and went to the cat room. There I was assisted by a volunteer who brought me all the kittens that I thought had potential. There were dozens. This driving force that had brought me to this sterile room of need imparted to me the knowledge that I would know instinctually when I had found The One.

Sitting in the cat room with me was a man who was holding one kitten for the duration of time where I held over a dozen. Another man and his daughter came in and were looking as well. I was watching the first man, envious of his seeming attachment to the beautiful kitten in his hands. He was speaking to it in a low voice, indistinguishable with the other conversations going on in the room. There was something about that particular kitten, so calm and peaceful particularly when juxtaposed to the squirming, rambunctious roommates I had been holding.

I strained to hear what the man was saying to the kitten; “Now you have to let them see your personality, let them see how special you are. You want them to notice you. They will take you home if you do”. The two men struck up a conversation, and I listened in, watching this alluring kitten with predatory interest. The first man was giving the kitten up and was there to help her get adopted. The kitten exchanged hands and I panicked. No, No No, I think she is The One. Please don’t like her, Please don’t take her, I prayed desperately.

The kitten exchanged hands again, the second man saying how nice she was, the first man looking crestfallen. I spoke up, “Please may I hold her?” She exchanged hands again. She settled into my arms. And she gave me a kiss. The man explained that she was here with her brothers who were Hemingway’s with the six toes. She had five and pretty black stripes, but what cinched the deal was her kiss and her settling into my arms after being held for so long. I told the man I wanted her, that she would have a good home and her name would not be Fossy Ears, as she was presently named. No, her name would be Bella and she would be loved completely because she was The One. The urgency of the force that drove me to that shelter was quelled, and I felt peace in the midst of my grief. Bella was love incarnate and she healed me from that first kiss. I can breathe again.

 

 

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