Friday, November 28, 2008

Thankful For Cats

     I have two cats (or perhaps they have me).

     Thomas T. Cat was born in October, 1989, along with three cat-sisters: Janie, Charlotte and Emily.  Their mother, Missy, had showed up, grown great with child, fetched me to witness their birth, raised them, weaned them and lit out for the far country as soon as she could.

     Janie stayed with me along with her brother and had a long, full life until lung disease took her in 2004.  C & E each had litters of kittens (four per) when they were almost a year old, found temporary employment as Rodent Control Technicians at Skunk Works North Campus and were eventually successfully outplaced along with all but one of their kittens.    That one, the very tiniest and wildest, a miniature ocelot all in black but for tiny spots at throat and belly, seemed like an impossible adoption.  Nearly wild, she would pitch a huge fit when caught, thrashing, howling, clawing and biting.  She ran low to the ground like a ferret and had been nicknamed The Slinker.  I left her for last, a pretty cat but who would take her?

     When the day came that Slink was the last kit left, I put on heavy gloves, caught her  (she shrieked and bit me on the thumb!) and shut her up in a storeroom for a day with food, water and a litterbox while I worked.  I don't know what mental processes went on but at the end of the day, The Slinker had decided indoors was better than outdoors, even if she did have to make up with A People.  She remained shy for many years thereafter and fought running, half-mock, half-serious battles with Janie until Janie started to slow down as her lungs failed.  As Janie became sedentary, Slinky spent more time next to her and both of them spent more and more time at my side.

     Tommy and Slinky are dozing on my desk as I type.  It's a large desk, perhaps five feet by  a little under a yard and the hutch that once accommodated an old-fashioned CRT (atop which Janie loved to sleep) now leaves plenty of room behind the flatscreen monitor sitting on the desktop for two old cats to curl up companionably -- or, as is presently the case, space for one to sprawl while the other curls up, purring, just past the edge of my mouse pad.

     These two cats have been with me through thick and thin, through times happy and lonely,  through sharing a house with Janie-the-cat and my ex's departed Neko, through setting up my library (a/k/a cat gymnasium) again after it had been boxed up for years, through my broken knee recovery, through their own illnesses, through "porch panther" summer days on the screened porch of my old house; they are like children to me, dear little furry friends and I hope they stay around just as long as they care to.  Tommy, once a burly tomcat, has gone thin with age and moves with caution -- but will still leap from the desk to the floor as lightly as hawk.  Slinky, never more than half-grown, is greying around her muzzle and has become more affectionate with every year.  She's quite a snuggler now, who purrs and relaxes when picked up, a far cry from the little hellion who once terrorized voles and suspiciously watched people from shadowed corners though a sunlit summer.

     I'm thankful to have shared so many years with them.  I hope they are as content and happy as they appear.


Anonymous said...

They OWN ya1 An' ain't it nice...

phlegmfatale said...

I KNOW they are happy, and I hope you are granted many more years of being owned by them. The affection our pets have for us may be the single best indicator that we as a species are not a total throwaway.

Turk Turon said...

An excellent essay about some excellent felines.

breda said...

Tiny little Slink, light as a feather and Tommy with his air of nobility - it was nice to meet them. Good cats for a good person, it usually works out that way =^..^=

George said...

As a relatively recent adoptee of two litter mates ... brother and sister ... my life has improved tremendously. I should have been adopted by a third ... so that their names would make complete sense. My two are named Emmy and Lou.

While away in Victoria, BC for three weeks, I really wanted to be back home. If you only knew Hamilton, ON ... you would know that there's no comparison between the cities.

May you and your felines continue in happy and contented lives together.

PS: Another example of your awesome writing skill.

Crucis said...

A lesson in life---always acquire cats in pairs. My wife and I have a mother/daughter pair. Before that we had a brother/sister pair. Both died of kidney failure. Prior to that, we inherited a 15 year old tomcat, a long-haired, bushy toed Minx who lived with us for another five years.

I've known some folks who don't like pets nor animals. I find that I don't have much use for them. They're deficient.

phlegmfatale said...

I agree with Crucis-- love me, love my dogs. I think there's nothing like a little furball to open your heart to the wonders of life. I think if they could talk, we'd like them less, because we'd be molding them in our own image. It's best this way in that we have to accept them and love them for their very mystery.

Turk Turon said...

Old Grouch has become our Gunnie Cat Aggregator, here:

Captcha: sporkety
i.e., a food best enjoyed...uh, well, eaten with a "spork", such as Taco Bell refried beans.

The Freeholder said...

I simply do not understand non-cat people. I can not imagine life without my Gang of Five.

Tam said...

"I don't know what mental processes went on but at the end of the day, The Slinker had decided indoors was better than outdoors..."

Any Slinky knows that In is better than Out and Up is better than Down. Both In and Up, preferably on a bed with the sun shining through the window, is the very best of all. Cat logic. :)