First, I love cats. I pride myself in not being yet another horse freak who even has horses printed on his/her underwear.
My first cat that was given to me was a thirteenth birthday present from my dad. Here is his picture…
To you give some idea of my dad, all the animals on the farm respect him. The dogs’ fawning is almost unbearable, and the cats know where the line is drawn. My dad has mastered the art of combining common sense, patience, corporal punishment, self control, love, and justice into an effective training technique that has won the respect of children and animal alike.
We already had one cat, Tom, whose photo I now post…
He had a twin, Jerry, who later was run over by a passing motorist during the night. They were the epitome of cuteness; always playing together and cuddling with one another. If anybody wants to know the cutest breed of kitten out there, get a Main Coon.
We had come home from an out of state trip to see relatives. We were happy to home and see dad again, busy telling him all about our trip, when he told us to go into the bathroom. Bemused and curious, we obeyed. As soon as we opened the door two clumsy little fur-balls, with ears perked in interest at the new sounds and people, teetered over to us.
Now, the reason my stoic and firm dad got two, instead of the initial one, was because, when he saw the two playing together in their cage, he new they must not be separated. It would be to sad to part these little brothers already so attached to each other. That’s how close they were.
I remember that moment with odd clarity. The two kitten faces with eyes wide in curiosity, the way they both walked over to the door with apparent interest in what were the three noisy, little people that were standing and looking down at them. Much different were we then our most likely quiet dad…Much more excitement.
We adored this little creature like cats were becoming extinct. During the day they would follow us down to the creek—Jerry actually fell in one time, whilst crossing a limb overhanging the water---And at night they would follow mom when she carried a basket of dirty laundry to the laundry area, or would sit and play in the kitchen while she did the dishes.
They were buddies, palls, best friends and dearest comrades in the truest sense of all those admirable attributes. Seriously, they were so honest-to-God cute it was pathetic.
That’s why it hit all of us so hard when Jerry died. Even my dad was somber for the next few days.
Then enters Samson.
Sammy kitty was the orangiest, fluffiest thing you ever saw.
Dad had told us for a long while that one cat was enough for the household. That we should just forget about it. Well, seeing as he was so adamant about it, we believed him.
On the day of my thirteenth birthday party, dad had gone out to get some ingredients for my cake, and I was busily, and happily, doing tie-dye and playing spoons with my friends, totally ignorant as to the whereabouts of my father. When he got home, he called for me, so I left my friends to the game and stood in front of him. My mom was smiling. He handed me a can of cat food. I took it and thanked him, genuinely pleased for the wet cat food for the cat so that he too could celebrate with me. But I was also a little puzzled; it was out of character for my dad to go out the way to by wet cat food.
“That’s not cat food.”
I screwed my brow, read the label again and noticed that it was….kitten food.
I looked up again, not daring to hope, when he laughed at my expression and told me to look in the car. I did. Inside a big cardboard box was the tiniest kitten. He was only five weeks old at the time, scrawny and fluffy. When I asked my dad what was his first thought about Sam when he first saw him, he replied,
“I sure hope it lives,”
But I loved that kitten to death. He hadn’t been litter trained yet, and he had a very hairy rump, so that things were always getting clumped and stuck and ratted. I had to give him a bath every day until he was big enough not to make a mess of himself. I’d dry him off with a blow dryer, he was always such a sorry little critter when his hair was all wet. He was all hair, see, so when he got it wet he looked absolutely miserable. He was a mischievous kitten. He had his freak out hour at night when he would run around the house being crazy. He would run into a room, attack someone’s ankle, and then run out again before anybody could do anything about it. He loved plastic eggs, he’d carry half of one everywhere with him. And he fetched Leggos. I’d through a jumbo leggo and he’d scamper after it and bring it back. It was very cute.
He grew up to be almost as big as Tom, (Tom was a Main Coon, they’re called gentle giants.) a thing which not one of us anticipated. He was very cuddly and liked to nap on your lap, and he had a weird, wheezing purr, like his motor needed to be oiled. Tom hated Sam for the first couple of weeks, but warmed up to having a buddy around. They played together all the time.
But one, hot August day last year he had gotten bit by an animal. He had hid under the van, his usually sleeping place, and let the wound get infected. He was dehydrated and had a fever when we I first discovered his wound. I knew something had to be wrong when he didn’t out from under the car when we turned it on.
Two days later he died at the veterinary clinic. They told us they would let us know of all the costs before they did anything. When we got the eleven hundred dollar bill we were shocked. They hadn’t told us how much the oxygen had cost, or the pain killers, or the medication. And my cat had to be put to sleep on top of all that. It happened the hard way. Once I had come to see Sam. He was over weight from being dehydrated, smelled bad from his infection and was hardly aware of us. They had him in this mounted, plastic box where they were giving him oxygen. He was lying on his side, breathing erratically, obviously in pain and worse then when we had brought him in. I think even my dad was close to crying. The nurse had already handed me a tissue.
They put him to sleep the very next day.
A week before my birthday, my birthday present died. I was crushed. I still am.
Now enters my girls.
This really is surprising, because this time dad got two kittens again. Now we had three cats. He told me to go to the bathroom, and when I did, two, shy girls looked up at me from under the stool. Knit n’ Purl. Again, this birthday present was totally unexpected, and it helped ease the absence of my Sammy baby.
Knit is the hunter, strongly built. She was only eight months old when she dragged a rat up to the front window, jumping on the bench and letting us see what she had killed. She’s the handsome one, bold colors and a nice dark patch over her left eye that everyone adores.
Purl is a lady. She doesn’t kill things. She is more delicately built and has huge saucer eyes, symmetrical face, and an endearing pink little nose. She is dainty, eats sparingly, letting the others push her around. But, oddly enough, she took a liking to Tom.
Tom is a beast, Purl a butterfly. But it is always Purl who wants to fight with him, play with him. She’s my little cutie pie in every sense of the word.
Girls are different then boys. They aren’t so ruff and tumble, they aren’t as tough. Their mock fights usually consist of them batting each other with their paws rather then attacking each other head on. They are sweet and cuddly. Knit sleeps next to my legs at night, while Purl curls up at my neck. If anybody is stuck living in an empty apartment, get a cat.
Both of my girls almost died. Purl ate something bad, got thinner than she already was, and threw up all over the place. That was a very close call, but she made it through.
Knit was bitten by an animal. She had three punctures in her left thigh that were weeping some dark cloudy liquid.
Now I have three cats.
When I was about six, dad gave us our first cat for Christmas…Rox. Rox was a thin cat, but a good hunter. He was always salivating badly. I learned later that was a sign of cat flue, he had it for years. We didn’t have enough money at the time to take him to the vet, though. A few years after we got Rox, we took in a stray that we later called Zachariah. He was a fluffy thing, liked to purr and cuddle. But he had a terrible habit of peeing on mom’s things. That got both cats stuck outside for good
While moving from one house to another, we had packed the cats in boxes and put them in the back of the truck. When we arrived at the house we discovered that Zack had torn a hole in the bottom of the house in the heat of his desperation to be free, and then had jumped out of the truck. That’s the last we heard of him.
Rox. I feel bad thinking about him. I had a habit of putting off feeding him. I’d get his food to him daily for a week, but then I’d miss three days. I was irresponsible and cruel, I knew better, but I had been doing it for years.
Then one day, after not feeding him for three days, he didn’t come back. He was old and sick, but, still, I’ve never lived that down. I get my food to my animals on time every time now, because now I see Rox when I forget to feed my cats.
I loved my first cats dearly. I admit I was often ungentle with them, but I loved them. I’d play with them endlessly, my first little kitties. I still miss them. When you lose someone close to you, anyone, and then they’re gone, the part that misses them never quite leaves you.
Welllll….It’s almost summer, and in Oregon that’s a big deal. It means you won’t get caked in mud walking over to your car. Everything will smell nicer, the trees will bloom and grow leaves. The blackberry will blossom so the bees will have something to eat.
“Wow. Four pages on her cat, and she could only manage on page on faith. Tsk, tsk.”
Yeah, I know…But as my blog says…this is my world. Faith is black and white, very clear to me.
To whoever read this far, this is the end, see ya’! (And thank you for coming this far!)
The rat that knit is holding up to the window is actually a gopher!